CPMC re-introduces services

As Montana moved to phase 1 of reopening the state, Cabinet Peaks Medical Center (CPMC) began working on plans to reintroduce medical services to the community in a way that ensures the safety of their patients and employees.

“We are diligently following guidelines from the CDC, as well as our local, state, and federal leaders and health officials during this pandemic. The reintroduction of our services to the community is no exception,” said Kate Stephens, Public Information Officer at CPMC.

“In the next few weeks, Cabinet Peaks Medical Center will continue ramping up non-emergency surgeries, procedures, and patient appointments throughout the facility in most departments. The entry process will look different for each patient depending on what department you are visiting, and patients will receive instruction from their health care provider before they arrive.”

All patients can expect to be screened before entering the building. This screening process will include a series of questions and a temperature check. Additionally, all people entering a healthcare facility must be masked.

“If you have your own mask, we do ask that you bring one with you,” added Stephens. “We are doing our best to supply masks to everyone who enters the facility, but a nationwide shortage of masks is making this provision difficult for us at this time.”

The waiting rooms at CPMC look a little different now as well; they have been rearranged to accommodate social distancing guidelines. The medical center has also revamped some of its conference rooms to use as waiting rooms in order to handle an increase in patient flow, while still adhering to guidelines. Extra measures have also been put in place to ensure that chairs are disinfected between each use and high touch areas are cleaned frequently.

“The safety of our patients and our employees is of utmost important to us, and we are doing everything we can, and taking every measure possible to ensure that we are keeping everyone safe,” said a CPMC representative.

“While we are excited to be opening our service lines back up, we would like to remind the public that at this time, we are still not allowed to have visitors in our facility. As you may remember, we have a few exceptions to that rule including the parents or guardians of a minor patient, one partner or coach with a laboring patient, and special considerations for end of life patients.”

River Rock Café also remains closed to the public at this time, as does the CPMC Auxiliary Gift Shop.

Cabinet Peaks Medical Center’s Emergency Department remains open 24/7 to serve the urgent and emergency needs of the community.

Submitted by Kate Stephens


CARD Clinic reopens

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD Clinic) has been closed to hands-on patient care since mid March. Because of the extremely high prevalence of asbestos-related lung disease in Libby and the surrounding county, as evidenced by its EPA Environmental Public Health Emergency designation, this step was taken to protect the area’s uniquely vulnerable population.

CARD’s Medical Director, Dr. Brad Black, who also happens to be the Lincoln County Health Officer, has been leading the charge to keep members of the local community safe. He spearheaded using CARD personnel to staff a drive-through COVID-19 testing station in the CARD Clinic’s parking lot while the clinic was closed to patient traffic.

With coordination through the Lincoln County Health Department and other local clinics, this allowed early identification of disease within the population and provided a mechanism to limit possible exposure at other local healthcare facilities.

Ongoing, the county plans to continue to test 1,000 people per month as part of a public health surveillance initiative. Mechanisms are in place to identify and track contacts of positives, ensure quarantine when needed, and provide social support for those who may need assistance with basic needs during quarantine.

CARD will reopen for limited patient care and screening appointments as of Monday, May 11. Screening participants  from outlying areas are welcome to schedule appointments, but most of these will be managed under an already-established Long Distance Screening program so that risks to the local population are minimized.

Cleaning, social distancing, mask use, and patient flow protocols have been put in place within the clinic to decrease the risk even further.

The Center for Asbestos Related Disease, a recognized center of excellence, is ready to continue its mission of screening, treatment, and research while taking a stand to protect its patients and community in the age of COVID-19.  To learn more visit www.libbyasbestos. org


Firefighting jobs open  at  nearby

National Forests

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is now recruiting to fill  1,000 fire jobs nationwide, including 500 permanent and 500 temporary jobs.

Across the USFS Northern Region which includes Montana, North Idaho, and parts of the Dakotas, 60 permanent and 60 temporary jobs are available for other neighboring national forests.

Temporary positions typically require very little or no firefighting experience, with multiple opportunities for advancement.

Permanent positions like the engine operator and senior firefighter positions currently advertised require some wildland fire fighting experience and qualifications.

The positions are expected to start mid-summer and vary from four to six-month temporary seasons to ten month-per-year permanent appointments.

Firefighters are required to meet physical fitness requirements and should appreciate working outdoors in sometimes harsh conditions. Fire crews can work long hours and be away from home for extended time-periods on regional or national firefighting assignments.

. People can apply for the open positions on the USAJobs website
Submitted by USFS


FEC asks customers struggling due to shutdown to stay connected

Flathead Electric Cooperative (FEC) is encouraging members who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are having trouble paying their electric bills to stay connected with the Co-op.

The first thing members need to do is call the Co-op. Given the opportunity, staff can generally work out flexible pay arrangements. Another option Co-op members have is to apply for energy assistance, which is funded by state and federal government agencies as well as private donors. There is additional funding available right now for those who are financially impacted by COVID-19. Whatever the member’s situation, at the first sign of trouble, the most important thing they can do is contact the Co-op.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the Co-op isn’t currently disconnecting, but eventually, outstanding electric bills will have to be paid and disconnects will be reinstated. That said, disconnecting anyone’s electricity is the last thing the Co-op wants to do. They want to work with their members to keep the power on.

Flathead Electric is urging members to continue to pay their electric bills, or at least as much as they can to avoid having a large account balance when the disconnect suspension is lifted.

The bottom line is that Flathead Electric is a member-owned, not-for-profit utility that cannot ask those who do pay their electric bills to subsidize those who don’t. FEC must pay for its expenses including the power consumed in their service area, so members continuing to pay their electric bills is the only way to ensure that the Co-op’s expenses continue to be covered.

While covering expenses is critically important in the continued financial strength of the Co-op, FEC is also a business that operates on cooperative principles, one of which is concern for community, and that has never been more important than it is now.

Flathead Electric Co-op is available to talk with members about payment options, available financial assistance, and the Co-op’s vast array of energy efficiency programs.

To contact the Co-op, call 751-4483 or visit

Submitted by Wendy Ostrem Price