Business news

Cabinet Peaks
improvement in patient care

Cabinet Peaks Medical Center was recently awarded the Montana Rural Healthcare Performance Improvement Network’s Quality Improvement Award for their work on transitions of care from the emergency room.  The award was announced during the general session at the MHA Annual Convention, held virtually this year.

The Montana Rural Healthcare Performance Improvement Network (PIN) is a voluntary membership of 48 critical access hospitals throughout the state.  Through this Network, member hospitals are able to benchmark their performance with their peers on a variety of financial, utilization, and direct patient care measures that encourage safe, effective, patient-centered care delivery in even the most remote communities of the state.  PIN quality of care measures are based on national benchmarks, but are tailored to reflect the realities of the state’s rural populations.

Cabinet Peaks Medical Center has demonstrated a commitment to its community and the region it serves through its involvement with the MT Rural Healthcare PIN.  Throughout the last year, PIN members focused on four core improvement areas: patient satisfaction and engagement, transitions of care from the emergency room, emergency room stay times, assessment and provisions of influenza immunizations for inpatients, and influenza immunizations for healthcare workers.  Award winners are required to demonstrate measurable improvement in one of the previously mentioned quality of care focus areas over the previous year and show consistent participation in the PIN’s data programs.  Applicants are also required to demonstrate an active and leading role in supporting PIN quality improvement efforts by participating in PIN events and sharing with peers throughout the state.

“The Montana Performance Improvement Network has recognized several Critical Access Hospitals for their commitment to quality.  We are once again grateful to be counted as one of those facilities and work alongside one another to improve health care throughout rural Montana, “ stated Laura Larson-Crismore, Quality Manager at CPMC.

The mission of the MT Rural Healthcare PIN is to develop and provide collaborative support systems which will enable small rural hospitals to have the ability to deliver quality care and achieve customer satisfaction.   PIN activities are supported by the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (FLEX) Program, which provides funding to spur quality and performance improvement activities, stabilize rural hospital finance and integrate emergency medical services (EMS) into existing healthcare systems.  The program encourages the development of cooperative systems of care in rural areas to increase efficiencies.

Larson-Crismore concluded, “We have been awarded the PIN Quality Award 11 out of the past 12 years.  This really speaks volumes about our organization and our staff’s commitment to providing quality healthcare.  We have a very dedicated team at CPMC and are blessed to have their continued support to achieve this honor.”

Submitted by Kate Stephens


Stars and Strips Fly High at

Happy’s Inn; Continued from Page 1

The popular stop for campers, fishermen, hikers, hunters, and social hub for locals and guests to grab a bite and a drink has continued to thrive. Car Bingo kept spirits high as Covid restrictions came into play this past Spring as residents creatively sought ways to engage and have fun from a safe distance.  Outdoor craft fairs, karaoke and trunk-or-treating saw the consecutive months through.

On tap for the coming Winter season are the 2020 Ugly Sweater Competition, Annual Chili Cook-Off, Ice-Fishing Derby’s and more. Provided current guidelines allow, Karaoke will again commence on Saturday, November 28 (to then be held on the final weekend of each month).

Those who wish to stay more attuned to the Happy’s Inn social calendar of events and ongoing community fun may do so by visiting

In the meantime, countless passers-by are sure to now enjoy the trip between Libby and Kalispell a little more as the Thompson Chain of Lakes and its outstanding landscapes are now proudly augmented with the ever-waving Stars and Stripes of the United States of America at Happy’s Inn, 72576 Hwy 2, Libby

By Stacy Bender, The Montanain

COVID-19 testing at the Card Clinic

CARD Clinic is Lincoln County’s Central COVID-19 Testing site.  A molecular test which detects genetic material of the virus, called the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) method, is used.  Test samples are collected by swabbing the back of your throat, a relatively painless procedure.  Samples are then sent to Montana’s state lab in Helena for processing.  Lab results can take from 3 to 7 days to be received, and occasionally even longer.

Recently, a control group was tested using a “rapid” (15 minute) version of the COVID-19 test as well as the PCR test.  The rapid tests use a different method of detecting COVID-19 infection by identifying specific proteins, known as antigens, that are found on the surface of the virus.  These antigen tests are much cheaper and faster, but they are not as sensitive at detecting COVID-19, and quantities have been very limited to date.  A small number of the rapid tests were received by Lincoln County, and health officials made the decision to test their sensitivity by using them along with the gold standard PCR test for people coming through the central testing site at CARD this week.  Once PCR results are received, the results from both tests will be compared. This information will help health officials to understand the degree of reliability of rapid testing and how best to use these tests.  While quantities are limited, it is likely that rapid tests will be reserved for use by public health personnel for more timely management of contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine procedures.  It is hoped that with more rapid contact tracing, spread of the virus will be reduced.

Drive through testing at CARD is by appointment only. Please call (406) 300-8943 if you need to be tested. If you do not reach someone who can schedule you, please leave a message and someone will contact you as soon as possible. The testing drive through is accessed from Montana Avenue between E Second and E Third Streets. Northwest Community Health Center is also testing by appointment Monday through Friday. Please contact 283-6900 for more information.

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, CARD’s test results that typically take three days when the state lab is not overwhelmed, can take more than a week to be reported back to us. Unfortunately, timing of results is out of our control and we ask for your patience and understanding. Our testing coordinator is working six days per week and giving results as soon as they are received. If your result is negative, she will contact you. Please do not contact CARD to request your results. If you have a positive result, you will be contacted by the Lincoln County Health Department with further information.

As always, please continue to wear a mask to protect others around you.  Not everyone infected with COVID-19 will have symptoms, but they can still spread the virus. In addition, if you do not feel well, please stay home. If you feel that you require medical treatment for symptoms such as shortness of breath, do not hesitate to be seen by a medical provider, and if possible, call ahead to let them know about your symptoms.

Lincoln County’s COVID information hotline can be reached at (406) 293-6295, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Submitted by Tracy McNew