There are new faces at the helm of the One Health family of community health centers. Dr Ashley Quanbeck was recently appointed CEO of the Seven Clinic System, and last month Heather Etheridge took on the role of Director of the Lewistown One Health Clinic. The two new directors share a common goal of providing comprehensive human health care in their communities.
Etheridge, who completed her Masters in Public Health last June, is a recent arrival in Lewistown. Originally, she is originally from Virginia, but moved here from Wyoming where she and her family lived when she accepted the administrator position.
âI came to visit before I took the job and just loved being here,â she said. âThere are big spaces, beautiful sunsets and the people are amazing. It warms my heart.”
Now she will be able to add value to the Lewistown lifestyle on her own.
âI’m teaching the community to see where I can make changes to improve it,â she said. âI like to be the voice of patients, of their care. It is not because it is a small town that the need is not there. I love being a community health advocate, trying to get resources for our patients. This can include food, shelter or prescription assistanceâ¦ whatever is needed to make their health care sustainable. “
Etheridge has a lot to do as the clinic will move to the old Chokecherry building on Main Street. This building offers significantly more space than the current clinic location, and Etheridge will be involved in planning the expansion.
âIt’s exciting. We will have the opportunity to provide as much care as possible in one facility,” Etheridge said. “Our long-term goal is to expand services to include dental care, a pharmacy, maybe be adding a new doctor. We will do it in stages, but we hope to be installed and operational by the summer of 2022. “
Etheridge said the only concern she had with the new location was parking, and she will make sure this is addressed before the Main Street office opens.
Meanwhile, the rest of her family are still in Wyoming, where her daughters are finishing their school year. In June, the two youngest girls, one in college and one in high school, will make the trip, along with her husband. Etheridge said their two older daughters, both in their 20s, chose to stay in the east and her husband, who is retired from the military, would seek employment once he arrived in central Montana.
Quanbeck, who works at the One Health Clinic in Hardin, has spent a decade practicing medicine in this community.
âI have worked in a number of systems and I know how important it is to have a functional team,â she said. âMedicine is no longer a country doctor who goes from house to house. I’ve worked in systems that weren’t working well, and I’m excited to see how we do what we do from the perspective of someone who’s been in the trenches caring for patients.
In his new role as Executive Director of One Health Clinics, Quanbeck oversees the Hardin, Miles City, Glendive, Ashland, Lewistown, Harlem and Colstrip clinics. She goes to several clinics, offering medical support to those who are short of doctors.
âLewistown has three doctors, so my role there is more administrative support,â she explained.
Quanbeck said consolidating seven community health centers into one organization has achieved economies of scale, so clinics can provide better benefits to staff members and can share electronic records management systems. , IT and human resources.
“We recognize that the needs of patients in Lewistown are different from those in Hardin or Miles City,” she said, “and it’s okay to do things differently.”
However, some concepts remain the same in all clinics. Federally licensed community health centers must adhere to certain federal guidelines, including having at least 51% of their board members being patients of the health center.
âWe are working towards the achievement of comprehensive human care, by providing medical, dental and mental health care, or addiction care. We pay attention to what the person needs that are not traditional health care, for example transportation to the pharmacy or maybe they don’t have the budget for the type of food they need. she should eat. The Lewistown team does a great job of taking care of patients in a balanced way, âsaid Quanbeck.
Quanbeck grew up in Missoula, attended medical school in North Dakota, completed a residency in Billings, and enjoys being in rural medicine. Her husband is a breeder and paramedic, and the couple have two boys, one in kindergarten and one in second grade.