Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

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What is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoV)
 are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Ways to protect yourself
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Helpful PDFs
What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
How to stop the spread of germs
What the public should do

Free asymptomatic testing available in your area

We are pleased to announce that a new physician will be joining the primary care team. Dr. Dallas Clark will begin seeing patients at the main campus location in Red Lodge starting October 9th.

Originally from Washington, Clark says she’s excited to be here: “It is a huge privilege to join a high quality healthcare facility with great providers and staff, and to serve the folks of Carbon County and the surrounding areas,” she says.

Dr. Clark recently completed her residency in family medicine in Missoula. Previously, she earned her MD from the University of Washington School of Medicine. She has particular interest in women’s health as well as pediatric, prenatal, preventive, and procedural care.

“This makes Beartooth Billings Clinic a great fit,” she says.

Kelley Evans, Beartooth Billings Clinic CEO, agrees. “We are so pleased to have Dr. Clark join our staff of talented primary care providers,” she says. “We know she will be an asset to the team and a credit to our patients’ health.”

Dr. Clark will be seeing patients during Beartooth Billings Clinic’s extended hours of 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as SameDay walk-in care. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Dallas Clark, please call 406-446-2345.

The Beartooth Children’s Center, a department of Beartooth Billings Clinic, announces the Center will be rated as a STAR 3 facility per Best Beginnings STARS to Quality Program, a continuous quality improvement program for early childhood education in Montana.  

According to Ann Winning, Children’s Center Supervisor, “The staff has been working diligently toward this goal over the past year in order to complete the additional training required for this next STAR level. I’m very proud of them all for raising the level of education offered at Beartooth Children’s Center.” 

The Best Beginnings STARS to Quality program is a voluntary quality rating system through Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) for licensed early learning facilities including:  

  • A 5-STAR rating system that evaluates and promotes  

-Education, qualifications, and training 

-High-quality supportive environments 

-Leadership and program management 

-Staff/caregiver-to-child ratio and group size 

-Family/community partnerships 

  • Monetary program incentives 
  • Staff support and incentives 
  • Resources, assistance, and support 
  • Evidence-based program assessments 

With the STAR 3 level, the Center will receive an increase in quarterly incentives to continue improving the center as well as providing staff with additional trainings.  
For further information, visit 

According to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2018 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report, Carbon County is ranked the fourth healthiest county overall Montana, out of 47 reporting counties.  The Health Rankings measure the social, economic, physical, clinical and other factors that affect a population’s health and influence both length and quality of life outcomes.  Carbon County has been ranked in the report’s top five for six of the last eight years of the study, which is completed annually in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. 

The study looks at data in both health outcomes and health factors. Health outcomes measure how long people live and how healthy they feel. Length of life is measured by premature death (years of potential life lost before age 75); quality of life is measured by self-reported health status (% of people reporting poor or fair health and the number of physically and mentally unhealthy days within the last 30 days) and the % of low birth weight newborns.   

Carbon County ranked 16th in Montana in the health factors, which includes health behaviors (tobacco use, diet & exercise, alcohol & drug use, sexual activity), clinical care (access to care, quality of care), social and economic factors (education, employment, income, family & social support, community safety), and the physical environment (air & water quality, housing & transit). Visit to view the full report. 

According to the report, communities that received higher rankings shared the following characteristics and areas of focus: 

– Invest in education from early childhood through adulthood to boost employment and career prospects. 

-Increase or supplement income and support asset development in low income households  

-Ensure that everyone has adequate, affordable health care coverage and receives culturally competent services and care 

-Foster social connections within communities and cultivate empowered and civically engaged youth  

Roberta Cady, RN, Carbon County Public Health Nurse, explained “Community health takes all of us working together in so many areas.  As the old adage states, ‘It takes a village’.  This high County Health Ranking is a result of multiple partnerships throughout the county working toward a common goal of healthy, safe living for our residents.  The report findings also present an opportunity to asses needed change to policies and systems to work toward a common goal of improved health and safety for all. I would like to congratulate our many partners in Carbon County who wash their hands, cover their cough, get their flu shot and immunize their children.”  

Some of the Public Health partnerships for better health include: 

Carbon County Fair Board – hand washing stations 

Montana State Parks – Dry Boating campaign  

Beartooth Market – disinfecting wipes for grocery carts 

Carbon County DUI Task Force, Sheriff’s Office and Red Lodge Police Department – Buckle Up campaign assistance 

Carbon County Schools – school vaccinations 

Senior Citizens Centers – flu shot clinics 

County Commissioners – diligence in supporting Public Health 

Beartooth Billings Clinic – Trauma Services Department 

Carbon County News – publishing public health news releases 

Bridger Swimming Pool – Water Safety campaign 

Red Lodge Drug – flu shot clinics 

Bone Daddy’s – Safe Sex/STD Prevention campaign 

Board of Health – support and cooperation 


Kane Scholarship Winners Announced

Beartooth Billings Clinic Foundation announced the 2018 Dr. James and Juanita Kane Scholarship winners at their recent board meeting. 

The scholarship, presented annually by the Beartooth Billings Clinic Foundation, is made possible by the Kane family and other generous donors as a legacy to Dr. Kane, a general practice physician who served the Carbon County area faithfully for over 50 years.  Created in 2008, the scholarship fund assists with continuing education expenses of local graduating high school students seeking a career in rural healthcare, in addition to funding one Beartooth Billings Clinic staff member who seeks to improve and apply their skills in Carbon County.   

2018 Dr. James and Juanita Kane Scholarship winners include Cooper Mann, Red Lodge ($2,000); Tayler Wright, Joliet ($1,500); Cara White, Bridger ($1,500); McKendra O’Dore, Joliet ($1,000) and Beartooth staff member Shannon Crable ($2,000). 

“We’re honored to continue Dr. Kane and Juanita’s legacy of supporting higher education in rural healthcare. This year’s high school candidates showed exceptional qualities, not only in their dedication to their studies, but in their volunteerism, character and strong work ethic. We look forward to seeing these upcoming rural healthcare workers providing service to our communities in the near future,” notes Rob Ringer, Foundation Scholarship Committee Chair. 

Since its inception, the Kane Scholarship has awarded over $60,000 to Carbon County, Montana students. 

Beartooth Billings Clinic (Beartooth) announces the addition of Avera eCARE® Emergency services in Carbon County. Beartooth provides emergency services to thousands of patients in the community each year. Open 24/7, the ED is equipped to handle any patient that comes through the door. However, access to a second set of eyes and ears can be beneficial in critical cases.  The new eCARE Emergency service will provide that extra support to Beartooth’s clinicians when needed. 

At the push of a button, local physicians and emergency room staff have immediate, virtual access to a team of physicians and nurses who specialize in emergency medicine. 

eCARE Emergency supports patient care in several ways: 

  • Access to board-certified emergency physicians 24 hours a day 
  • Connects rural communities to highly trained specialists 
  • Activation of emergency transport teams as early as possible 
  • Additional support during multiple emergencies 
  • Fewer transfers so patients can stay close to home 
  • Collaborative approach allows local caregivers to focus exclusively on patient care 

“eCARE Emergency gives us the ability to extend and enhance the level of health care in our community,” said Kelley Evans, Beartooth’s CEO. “It gives us access to the same type of specialists available in Billings, enabling us to deliver better care, right here in our community, and keep patients here whenever possible.” 

Avera eCARE offers one of the largest telehealth networks in the United States, supporting more than 380 health centers, clinics, long-term care centers and correctional facilities within a fourteen -state region.  

Please visit our services page, or call 406.446.2345 to learn more about health care services at Beartooth Billings Clinic in Red Lodge. To learn more about Avera eCARE, go to

Navigating today’s healthcare services is often challenging for medical patients and their families. In order to assist patients with these sometimes very difficult transitions, Beartooth Billings Clinic recently hired Erica Polson, RN to serve as the Patient Care Navigator. 

Erica assists patients who are hospitalized locally move to the next safest level of care, whether that is home, assisted living or nursing home. She also assists Carbon County patients hospitalized in other facilities, such as Billings Clinic or St. Vincent, move to a Beartooth hospital bed closer to home, should they require additional therapy before returning to their own home. In addition to helping hospitalized patients, Polson will also play a key role in Chronic Disease Case Management in the clinic. Residents living with conditions such as diabetes, COPD and asthma will now have help navigating the complex healthcare system so they may receive the most appropriate care. 

“I help plan a patient’s “journey” to and from the hospital, beginning with pre surgical tests, all the way through to helping patients and families choose what’s best for recovery and rehabilitation so that patient can get back to life’s daily routines.  In many cases, patients are overwhelmed by the injury, surgery or illness which, in and of itself, can make appointment scheduling, testing and knowing where to go quite confusing.  I can help map a route for healthcare that is best suited to the patient’s and family’s needs,” commented Polson.
The Patient Care Navigator position is funded through a Pacific Source Community Health Excellence Grant awarded to Beartooth Billings Clinic Foundation.  According to the Foundation’s Executive Director, Sara Urbanik, “Our addition of a Patient Care Navigator position to help patients manage their care, and as part of a multidisciplinary care team, will have a positive impact on patient care and outcomes in our communities, regardless of the patient’s insurance status.”

Polson serves patients in all of Carbon County, Montana as well as the Powell, Lovell and Cody, Wyoming region.  She’s available 8a-5p Mon-Fri to help coordinate the most suitable care setting.  Polson can be reached at Beartooth Billings Clinic, (406) 446-2345.

Two departments of Beartooth Billings Clinic recently received awards from Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) at the 2017 Immunization Regional Workshop held in Billings. 

Carbon County Public Health and the Physician Clinic departments each received the AFIX Improvement Award. This award is presented to Montana’s top five most improved clinics in each category based on size, over a three year period for the childhood immunization series. Entities must have at least a 60% up-to-date (UTD) immunization coverage rate to receive the Improvement Award. 

DPHHS’s “AFIX”, an acronym for Assessment, Feedback, Incentives and Exchange, is a continuous quality improvement process designed specifically for immunizations.  The purpose is to assist clinics with improving their immunization coverage levels by highlighting clinics successes and opportunities for improvement.

Each department also received a “Kudos” award for working on a reminder/recall system for pediatric patients.  In addition, Carbon County Public Health received the AFIX Certificate of Achievement – Healthy People 2020, for an immunization rate of 80% UTD coverage or higher for the childhood immunization series. 

Medical Director at Beartooth Billings Clinic and Carbon County Public Health Officer, Dr. William George, commented “I would like to extend my congratulations to both entities for their diligence and perseverance in ensuring that the children of Carbon County are immunized to avoid life threatening diseases.  Working together as a team can help us accomplish these life impacting goals.”  

“It is through efforts like Beartooth Billings Clinic that we are working toward achieving the goal of ensuring Montana’s children are immunized by two years of age against these vaccine-preventable diseases,” commented Greg Holzman, MD, MPH, State Medical Officer.

The Beartooth Billings Clinic Karas Award, presented annually, is named in honor of the late Dr. Benjamin Karas, a beloved physician who for many years showed his dedication, care and compassion to the Red Lodge and surrounding communities through his service. This award seeks to honor those who exemplify the spirit of selflessly serving our community by sharing their time, energy and talents to help others.  The motto of the award is simple: “Service is an attitude that is the lifeblood of any organization. Everything flows from it and is nourished by it.”

The #BuckleUpBlue4Lauryn campaign resulted from a tragic accident in Fairfield, Montana, that claimed the life of 15 year old Lauryn Goldhahn in August of 2016. Lauryn was riding as a passenger in a friend’s vehicle that lost control and slammed into a power pole. Lauryn, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and did not survive her injuries. At the time of the accident, Lauryn was a member of the Fairfield High School volleyball team that was preparing to play the Red Lodge High School team in a pre-season tournament. The Red Lodge team and their coach, Darcy Stracke, came up with a plan to honor Lauryn. They would hand out blue ribbons to their opponents before matches in hopes the ribbons would be tied to steering wheels to remind drivers and passengers  to buckle up. The blue color was chosen because it was Fairfield High School’s school color as well as Lauryn’s favorite color. Beginning with the Fairfield game, the Red Lodge  team handed out ribbons at each volleyball game throughout the season. Lauryn’s family adopted the idea and sent out tens of thousands of these ribbons to schools, businesses, individuals and highway patrol officers throughout Montana and the rest of the country; in fact just about all of the 50 states. The idea caught on and there have been many indications that this idea has helped save lives. News media have widely reported on Lauryn’s story and the campaign. Lauryn’s family has received many letters, messages and photos from people around the country whom this campaign has touched, thanking them for these efforts, the inspiration and the real results it has provided.

The mission of Beartooth Billings Clinic is “to save lives and promote healthy living”. This innovative and compassionate idea created by Coach Stracke and her team embodies the spirit of what Beartooth Billings Clinic and the Karas Award are all about. 

Congratulations to the Carbon County High School Seniors receiving the 2016 Dr. James & Juanita Kane Scholarship. Aspen Allen, Lori Knight and Gunnar Nelson, all of Red Lodge High School, and Alicia Crane, a Certified Nurse Assistant at Beartooth, were awarded scholarships.  Rob Ringer, Chair of the Foundation Scholarship Committee, presented the awards at the Annual Meeting of the Memorial Hospital Association, the membership association that owns and operates Beartooth Billings Clinic in Red Lodge.

Beartooth Billings Clinic Foundation’s Dr. James and Juanita Kane Scholarship is presented annually to local graduating Carbon County seniors who wish to pursue studies in healthcare, as well as to one Beartooth Billings Clinic employee who desires to further their education in the field.  This fund, established by Dr. Kane and his family– and now supported by many other generous donors– encourages area students to obtain skills in the medical profession with the goal that they will return to the Carbon County area to serve the community upon completion of their post-secondary education.

 The scholarship program, and the opportunities it creates, is intended to honor Dr. James Kane for his nearly 60 year commitment to providing quality rural healthcare in Carbon County.  Dr. Kane was a general practice physician who began practicing medicine in the area in 1952.  Dr.  Kane’s dedication to his patients and his community is exemplary.