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Montana Joins Leading States in Pursuit of Quality, Lower Cost Health Care

Lindeen's Patient-Centered Medical Homes project attracts national attention

March 7, 2012

HELENA, Mont. – Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen today announced Montana's selection as one of three states to join the National Academy for State Health Policy's (NASHP) groundbreaking team of states working toward innovative, local solutions to reduce health care costs while improving quality and access.

"The decline of primary care providers in Montana is a major issue to address as we adjust to the changing future of health care," said Lindeen. "NASHP selected Montana based on all that has been accomplished with our stakeholder collaboration. Montana insurers have been meeting with providers and consumer advocates about primary care transformation and the role insurers can play."

Hosted by the National Academy for State Health Policy, a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of state health policymakers, the State Practice Transformation Learning Community is a team of states sharing research, best practices, and experiences with projects that increase health care quality while cutting costs. Montana was selected to join the group because of Lindeen's work to lay the groundwork for a patient-centered health care system that focuses on prevention of costly diseases and efficient, coordinated care.

Montana state team members who will travel to North Carolina include primary care physicians from Helena and Billings, a representative from Montana Primary Care Association, a representative from the Montana Area Health Education Center Office of Rural Health, and a representative from the Commissioner's office. North Carolina's experiences will help Montana's advisory council build on its existing effort with new ideas and research from other states.

Montana will join new members of NASHP's State Practice Transformation Learning Community in a kickoff webinar Friday, March 9th. In January, Lindeen's office submitted an application to join the group on behalf of her Patient-Centered Medical Home Advisory Council. In April, members of Montana's council will travel to North Carolina to examine first-hand the state's efforts to transform rural primary care.

Montana state team members who will travel to North Carolina include primary care physicians from Helena and Billings, a representative from Montana Primary Care Association, a representative from the Montana Area Health Education Center Office of Rural Health, and a representative from the Commissioner's office. North Carolina's experiences will help Montana's advisory council build on its existing effort with new ideas and research from other states.

"Access to health care presents a real challenge in rural states like Montana," said Lindeen. "North Carolina faces similar challenges in trying to improve access to primary care in its rural communities. I look forward to working with North Carolina and other leading states in the pursuit of local solutions for the problem of rising health care costs. This is a great learning opportunity for Montana's advisory council as we continue our work to lower costs and improve the quality of health care for our state."

For more information, contact the Commissioner's office at (800) 332-6148 or visit the Commissioner's website at csi.mt.gov.