“Northern Rockies Medical Center (NRMC) looks forward to working with the community to build a strong EMS over time,” said Cherie Taylor, Chief Executive officer of NRMC. The Glacier County Commissioners approved entering into a three-year agreement to lease the EMS facility and ambulances to NRMC at their Sept. 17 meeting. The lease takes effect on Oct. 1, 2020.
“It will take us some time to build the EMS back up,” said Taylor. She is asking the community to be patient and limit their “expectations” while NRMC works to “get it all in place.”
Under terms of the lease, Glacier County will retain the approximately $35,000 in mill levy money during the first year of the lease to cover the county’s expenses for operating EMS from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2020.
In the second and third years of the lease, the money will be transferred to NRMC to help offset operational expenses.
NRMC will reimburse the county for insurance costs for the building and EMS during the first year and then will obtain its own insurance coverage for the following two years.
Taylor noted NRMC’s Human Resources department has already been working through the interview and hiring process and some county employees will be “coming to NRMC.”
“It has been a journey to get to this point,” said Glacier County Chief Financial Officer Chancy Kittson. He pointed out both the attorney for NRMC and Glacier County Attorney Terryl Matt have “vetted the lease and it is a win-win” with the community retaining its EMS and the county “minimizing its costs.”
According to terms of the lease, NRMC will only be providing EMS coverage in the Cut Bank area. Glacier County will still maintain control of the Babb EMS station. Commission Chairman Michael DesRosier said the county has not yet worked out details on how to manage the Babb EMS.
Taylor told the commissioners NRMC currently is conducting an EMS fundraising campaign because looking at the financials, hospital officials know “we will still be short to breakeven” taking over the service.
Anyone wishing to support the EMS under NRMC can send donations to: Rockies Healthcare Foundation, Attn: EMS, P.O. Box 10, Cut Bank, MT 59427.
Taylor reminded the commissioners she will be back in the coming weeks for the approval of the five-year NRMC building lease with Glacier County. The lease will be retroactive to Oct. 1, 2020. She said she will keep the commissioners updated on the possible affiliation of NRMC with Kalispell Regional Health Care, who will “need to have a very strong EMS.”
Taylor said NRMC is currently doing its “due diligence” and doesn’t anticipate a decision being reached on the possible affiliation until next spring or summer.