SOCIAL WORK MONTH – SPOTLIGHT ON HCBS

There are many reasons to be proud to work at Community Medical Center. Whether you’ve spent your entire career here or if you’re just completing orientation, you are part of a CMC team that is widely recognized for excellence in patient care. The ability to keep pace with innovation in healthcare is the challenge for hospitals and clinics everywhere. While CMC embraces the newest technology and practices, perhaps its most ‘innovative’ service has been around for over 35 years.

In 1983, Community Medical Center created Home & Community Based Services (HCBS) as the first Medicaid Waiver Case Management program in Montana. The mission then remains the same today, to assist western Montanans with physical disabilities to have choices and opportunities to fully participate in the community. The HCBS case management team has spent over three decades assuring that individuals with disabilities are able to access supports and services to enable to them to live as independently as possible. As an alternative to institutional care, Medicaid Waiver allows a more cost effective and inclusive option for our friends and neighbors with disabilities. When CMC took a chance on this fledging program in 1983, they established themselves as a leader and innovator for persons with disabilities. When the State of Montana created a Waiver for Severe Disabling Mental Illness (SDMI), CMC was awarded that contract as well. It further cemented the legacy of reaching beyond the brick and mortar of the hospital and into patient homes.

Although HCBS has long been a part of the CMC team, most of those years have been spent in offices away from the CMC campus. However, in January 2018, the program came full circle back to its roots. The team of Social Work and RN Case Managers has relocated to the main floor of Building 3. We hope our close proximity will enable us to develop even closer relationships with the many people who have supported our program over the years. We also hope to become a resource to those who may not be familiar with our team.

Fittingly, we have settled into our new offices in time to celebrate National Social Work Month in March. The theme for March 2018 is Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions. The National Association of Social Workers has challenged us to raise awareness, encourage change and empower the most vulnerable. As Social Work case managers, we are afforded the privilege of visiting people in their homes. We get to know their strengths and challenges in a way that is not possible in a more clinical setting. We are also witness to the reality of budget cuts, caregiver shortages, housing costs and the many other issues that make independent living difficult. We proudly embrace the call to be Leaders, Advocates and Champions to help people with disabilities meet their goals.

A lot has changed in the past 35 years. However, HCBS remains committed to fulfilling the mission we were charged with in 1983, to bring Community Medical Center to the community. To have medical care extend to homes, workplaces and community events and to continue the CMC tradition of being ‘innovators’.