OVERVIEW OF FALLON MEDICAL COMPLEX
Fallon Medical Complex (FMC) is a sole community health care provider for a rural population in excess of 7,200 people spread over seven counties. In addition to serving Fallon County, located in southeastern Montana, FMC also provides health care for three bordering Montana counties (Carter, Wibaux, and part of Custer) and three adjacent North Dakota counties (Slope, Golden Valley, and part of Bowman). Considered “frontier” by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, this region boasts less than two residents per square mile. The predominant industries in this area are agriculture and oil and gas extraction.
Fallon Medical Complex, located in Baker, MT consists of a system of health care entities structured under a charitable non-profit corporation. This system, or complex, of health care entities was created out of necessity. Facilities offering the next highest level of care are over 80 miles from Baker, necessitating a drive of nearly two hours in inclement weather. Two primary care physicians, one physician assistant, and one nurse practitioner practice full time in Baker. In addition, FMC’s physicians supervise physician assistants at Dahl Memorial Healthcare in Ekalaka, MT and at the Wibaux Clinic in Wibaux, MT.
OPERATING PHILOSOPHY AND SERVICES
Fallon Medical Complex is predominantly a “primary care” provider for its service area. Accordingly, it provides family practice, preventative health, routine hospital and fully digital diagnostic services, 24-hour emergency services, long-term care, dental services, home-based skilled and personal care, and physical and occupational therapy. Any escalation in a level of care requires the patient to be referred to a larger facility. Being equidistant from three major cities – Billings, MT, Bismarck, ND, and Rapid City, SD – patients transferred out of Baker are afforded a choice in their destination.
FMC’s motto, “Friends Healing Friends,” conveys the hometown touch that sets the tone for how healthcare services are delivered to patients and long-term care residents. This personal touch has created strong support for FMC, as evidenced by an independent study conducted by the Montana Area Health Education Center in Bozeman, MT. This study indicated that 96% of FMC’s service area felt that it was very important for the facility to stay open. The study also found that FMC, at 94%, had the highest level of physician satisfaction of any previously studied Montana facilities; the next highest level of satisfaction was 74%. All in all, the overall quality of care was rated “excellent or good” by 85% of the respondents.
In an effort to provide comprehensive medical care to the community, various providers from neighboring communities routinely offer services to patients at FMC. For instance, chiropractic, optometric, and hearing aid clinics are held weekly in Baker. In addition, FMC’s primary medical care is augmented by visiting physicians who specialize in Urology, Podiatry, and General Surgery.
LIFE IN BAKER
Baker, MT, located in southeastern Montana, offers a low cost of living, an excellent quality of life, and an assurance of safety and security in a friendly community dedicated to family living at its best. Its strong school system is widely known for its state championship sports teams. And, a comprehensive recreational complex adjacent to the high school provides one of the few indoor Olympic-size swimming pools in the State of Montana. For sportsmen and outdoorsmen, there is an ample fresh water recreational lake located in the center of the community along with fishing & hunting opportunities throughout the area. Of equal interest, Southeast Montana is legendary for its world class dinosaur digging sites. Baker is a morning’s drive from three large cities in three different states (Billings, Bismarck, and Rapid City), as well as a relatively short distance from Mount Rushmore, Sturgis, and the Black Hills, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and Medicine Rocks State Park.