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New Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes health center rises in Ronan

Posted at 9:48 AM, Mar 29, 2023

RONAN - A new clinic is in the plans for the Mission Valley.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) has received federal funding for what is described in a news release as "comprehensive health care services in Ronan." The money from the New Markets Tax Credits program.

The new $10.3 million CSKT Health Center will replace a clinic that was condemned and demolished to make way for the expansion of U.S. Highway 93. Construction is currently underway and is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2024.

“For too long, CSKT Tribal members and folks across Indian Country have had to travel long distances just to get basic health care,” said U.S. Senator Jon Tester. “This is unacceptable, and it’s why I worked to ensure CSKT can access funding for critical projects like this one through the New Markets Tax Credit Program. I’ll always work alongside Tribes in Montana to ensure they have access to the capital they need to expand access to health care, build critical infrastructure, and create good-paying jobs right here in Indian Country.”

“Investing in the health and safety of Montanans is critical, especially for our Montana Tribes. The CSKT Health Center will provide quality health care services to folks in Ronan and the surrounding communities, and it was all made possible by the New Markets Tax Credit,” said U.S. Senator Steve Daines. “Over the last 20 years, NMTC financed nearly 40 projects in Montana – an over $460 million investment directly into the Treasure State – and created more than 5,500 Montana jobs. I’ll keep working to make the NMTC permanent so more Montana communities can reap the benefits of these new and exciting projects.”

“We are honored to partner with the team that led the efforts to get the New Markets Tax Credit in place for the CSKT Ronan Health Clinic,” said CSKT chairman Tom McDonald. “This funding allowed for a reinvestment into the community, bringing back a fitness center and physical therapy, to the wealth of health services at this clinic. We expect this additional project to be completed in early 2024.”

CSKT Tribal Health estimates up to 70% of its patients are low-income individuals and families. Ronan is home to the largest number of tribal members on the Flathead Reservation and houses the greatest number of CSKT businesses and employees, making it a convenient location for the new clinic.

When the original clinic was demolished for highway construction in 2021, it was replaced by a smaller, temporary clinic that provided limited primary care only to tribal elders, the release notes.

All other tribal members had to travel to Polson and St. Ignatius for health services. Accessing health care was further complicated by a lack of public transportation and limited capacity at the two clinics.

The new 12,000-square-foot CSKT Health Center will provide full-service primary care, urgent care, a dedicated area for infectious patients, an infusion center, behavioral health services, a pharmacy, physical therapy services and a community fitness center.

The new CSKT Health Center is expected to create 17 full-time jobs.