11:57 AM

Kalispell Regional Healthcare names new pediatric facility

Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) has officially announced the name of the new facility under construction on the east side of campus. The building will be called Montana Children’s.

“Kalispell Regional Healthcare is committed to helping Montana’s families get the care that they need here in their home state rather than having to travel,” said Curtis Lund, KRH interim CEO. “We envision this facility to be the hub of pediatric care for children across our state, which is why we chose to call it Montana Children’s.”

It is estimated that thousands of children are forced to leave the state for medical care annually. Currently, the distance from Kalispell to the nearest dedicated children’s health care facilities (Spokane, Washington; Seattle, Washington; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Denver, Colorado) is 200 to 1,000 miles, depending on the medical specialty needed. Traveling such a distance for children’s medical services creates several disadvantages:

  • Health care fragmentation and disruption of a patient’s continuum of care
  • Upheaval of family dynamics – siblings are separated from their parents and brother(s)/sister(s) or forced to miss school, parents miss work, and households are estranged from their support systems, including friends, extended family, church and social circles
  • Financial burden for families – costly out-of-state medical bills for families as well as out-of-pocket expenses for lodging and travel
  • Economic impacts to local Montana communities – loss of revenue when families leave the state

Over the past 18 months, KRH has begun to address these issues by becoming the center of a growing collection of pediatric services. With more than 30 pediatric providers, a neonatal intensive care unit, a pediatric intensive care unit and many other specialized children’s health care services, Kalispell Regional Healthcare has made a significant investment in the state’s children by bringing skilled specialists and pediatric services to the Flathead Valley. Since pediatric specialty services began at KRH in 2015, more than 5,000 Montana children have received specialty care locally, rather than traveling elsewhere.

Children require extra time, monitoring, specialized medications and specially trained health care providers who are compassionate and understand kids of all ages. While Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s pediatric clinicians practice according to these tenants, pediatric services at Kalispell Regional Healthcare currently operate within a facility designed for adults.

“Consolidating children’s services under one roof offers many advantages to patients, families and clinicians. Pediatric medicine is not simply a miniaturized version of adult care,” said Federico Seifarth, MD, medical director for Montana Children’s. “Children’s facilities are designed with children in mind. Kids deserve health care focused on their unique needs – family-centered care in healing environments.”

In addition to an 18-bed pediatric unit/pediatric intensive care unit and a 12-bed neonatal intensive care unit, Montana Children’s will include:

  • Patient rooms and family areas conducive to children and families
  • An architectural and interior design with which children can identify through color and pattern
  • Dedicated spaces for family caregivers
  • Customizable spaces to allow children to bring items from home, to make their environment familiar
  • Specialized equipment on site
  • Acuity adaptive rooms that are flexible to minimize movement/disruption to the continuum of patient care
  • Lighting that emphasizes daylight and connects the indoors and outdoors
  • Design details that engage a child’s imagination from the moment he/she arrives
  • Ample space for expanded services, including shelled space for the future addition of inpatient beds and other services as needed

With its beautiful natural scenery, clean fresh air and small family-centric community, Kalispell is an ideal location and healing environment for children’s health. Montana Children’s will be the core of Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s pediatric program, which also includes:

  • Pediatric primary care – multiple pediatricians practicing in primary care clinics in Flathead, Lake and Lincoln counties
  • Pediatric subspecialists on the medical staff, including anesthesiology, child and adolescent psychiatry, neonatology, perinatology, cardiology, critical care, endocrinology and diabetes, gastroenterology, hospitalists, neurology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, oncology and hematology, radiology and surgery. These providers have chosen to live and work in Montana alongside the patients they serve. Montana Children’s Specialists, the largest group of pediatric specialists in the state, will staff Montana Children’s and provide services at outreach and satellite locations throughout the state.
  • Inpatient pediatric acute care – pediatric unit/pediatric intensive care unit and the neonatal intensive care unit
  • Emergency care and pediatric patient transport through the A.L.E.R.T. program and emergency departments of Kalispell Regional Medical Center and North Valley Hospital
  • Ancillary support services, including pharmacists, respiratory therapists, clinical social workers, dietitians, physical therapists and speech therapists who specialize in caring for children
  • Patient and family support services, including psychosocial support, spiritual care, educational support, financial counseling, support groups and educational classes
  • Recreation and wellness programs at The Summit Medical Fitness Center
  • School-based programs for Flathead Valley students, including the development of new integrated programs
  • Montana Children’s Health Alliance – future partnerships and affiliations with independent pediatric providers and health care organizations in Montana

Jason Spring, KRH’s chief strategic officer, will provide executive leadership for Montana Children’s. Clinical oversight will be provided by Dr. Seifarth. Marcy Wasiluk, who has been managing the pediatric subspecialty service line over the past year, will manage the operations of the KRH pediatric program.

“Bringing together the pediatric staff specifically trained in the medical, emotional and developmental needs of children, specialized equipment, supporting services and a treatment environment designed for pediatrics is critical to the future care of Montana’s children,” said Spring, “The Flathead Valley and other communities in Montana need a dedicated children’s health care facility that is focused on high quality, family-centered care that invites parent participation and decision-making in the care of their children. Montana Children’s will be those things and much more.”

Montana Children’s is slated to be complete in the spring of 2019.

Learn more about pediatric services at Kalispell Regional Healthcare.