Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Fort Belknap Service Unit
The Indian Health Service provides a comprehensive health services delivery system for American Indians and Alaska Natives with opportunity for maximum tribal involvement in developing and managing programs to meet health needs. The goal is to raise the health status of the American Indian and Alaska Native people to the highest level possible.
Fort Belknap Hospital
669 Agency Main Street
Harlem, Montana 59526
Main: (406) 353-3100
Fax: (406) 353-3227
Eagle Child Health Station
P.O. Box 610
Hays, Montana 59527
Main: (406) 673-3777
Fax: (406) 673-3835
Services Offered - Administrated by Indian Health Service
Outpatient Ambulatory Care – Fort Belknap Critical Care Hospital
8:00am - 11:30am & 12:30pm - 4:00pm on Mon. Tues. Thurs. Fri.
12:30pm - 7:00pm on Wed.
Appointments Phone: 406-353-3137
Outpatient Ambulatory Care – Eagle Child Health Center
8:00am – 4:00pm on Mon. Tues. Thurs. Fri
12:30pm – 4:00pm on Wed.
Appointments Phone: 406- 673-3777
Inpatient Care 3-5 days at the Fort Belknap CAH. Patients requiring further hospitalization are referred or transported to one of the regional hospitals in Billings or Great Falls, Montana.
Urgent Care at the Fort Belknap CAH
24 hour emergency care, 7 days a week
Weekend urgent care staffed by contract locum tenens
9:00am – 12:00pm & 1:00pm – 5:00pm on Mon. Tues. Thurs. Fri.
1:00pm – 5:00pm on Wed.
Refill Phone Line: 406-353-3105
Compliance Phone Hotline – 406-353-3187
- Behavioral Health – Mental Health and Social Services
- Contract Health Services
- Emergency Medical Services
- Family planning
- Hospice Team
- Men’s Health
- Physical Therapy
- Public health nutrition
- Specialty Clinics
- Transportation Services
- Ultra-sound and mammography
- Well Child Health
- Women’s Health
Services Offered - Administrated by Tribal Health Department
The Fort Belknap Tribal Health Department, under P.L. 93-638, Self-Determination Law, administers programs under contract from Indian Health Service. The goal of P.L. 93-638 is to have Tribes become more involved and self-sufficient by participating in the administration and responsibility of providing care to the Native people. The Tribal Health Department administers:
- Chemical Dependency Treatment Program
- Community Health Representative Program
- Diabetes Program
- Family Planning Program
- FAS/FAE Program
- Health Education Program
- Personal Care Attendants
- Public Health Nursing Program
- Sanitation/Environmental Program
- Women, Infant and Children Nutrition Program – WIC
Fort Belknap Service Unit operates a 6-bed critical access hospital (CAH) located at the Fort Belknap Agency, Harlem, Montana, and a satellite health clinic located in Hays, approximately 35 miles away. The 6-bed CAH provides the majority of the health care for all Gros Ventres, Assiniboines, and eligible Native American patients on and near the Fort Belknap Reservation. The 6-bed hospital replaced an old 12-bed hospital as a Medical Assistance Facility. A Medical Assistance Facility Pilot Program was developed and designed to support rural areas by creating standards that small hospitals could meet for CMS payments. In March 1998, the Fort Belknap Health Center was the first Indian Health Service critical access hospital in the nation. The successful pilot program went into a nation-wide program called critical access hospitals in August 1998.
The Fort Belknap CAH outpatient visits average 39,000 per year. The new clinic in Hays, the Eagle Child Health Center, can adequately serve 13,000 per year. The medical staff includes 4 family practice physicians, 2 nurse practitioners, 1 physician assistant, and has implemented the Electronic Health Record in the outpatient clinic. The service unit also has a full-time staffed emergency medical services program. The staff is complemented by contract locum tenens for weekend emergency room coverage. The medical staff is supported and works with an equally dedicated staff of nurses, lab and x-ray personnel, pharmacists, dentists, administrative staff, housekeepers, supply specialists, physical therapist, and contract practitioners to provide the best possible care to Native patients. The staff work as a team to make a difference.
The Fort Belknap Service Unit accepts 4th year medical students and 3rd year medical residents for clerkships and rotations. The clerkships and rotations provide a way for our physicians to teach future practitioners and also to market our mission to hire excellent, dedicated health care providers for Indian Health Service.
The staff of the Fort Belknap Service Unit work with the Fort Belknap Tribes to complement each others health services. Because of the close working relationship, the Tribes have given Indian Health Service providers hunting and fishing privileges on the reservation. They pay the same price as enrolled Tribal members for licenses to hunt deer, antelope, elk, buffalo, and game birds. There are pow wows throughout the year, county fairs and rodeos in the summer, and high school basketball games that have large community support. Besides the many activities and sights to take part in and see near the service unit, a short 3 hours drive will take you to Glacier National Park and a 6 hour drive can take you to Yellowstone National Park. “Big City” amenities and entertainment can be found with a drive to Billings or Great Falls, two of the largest cities in Montana.
The Fort Belknap Service Unit is accredited by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The Fort Belknap Service Unit is located on the Fort Belknap Reservation in north central Montana. The reservation is approximately 675,336 acres or 1,200 square miles in Blaine and Phillips counties. In addition, there are 29,731 acres of tribal land outside the Reservation boundaries. The north to south boundary extends 40 miles in length. The width is approximately 26 miles. Most of the northern portion of the reservation consists of the glacial plains and alluvial bottomlands. The southern portion of the reservation drains into the Milk River and consists of rolling grasslands, river “breaks”, and two principle mountain ranges – the Bearspaw and the Little Rocky Mountains. These mountains reach an elevation of approximately 6,000 feet. The Reservation is home to the Gros Ventre (Ah Ah Nee Nin) and Assiniboine (Nakoda) Nations. The Gros Ventre call themselves the White Clay People or Ah Ah Nee Nin. The Assiniboine (from the Chippewa, meaning one who cooks by use of stone) is a detachment from the Sioux Tribe. Enrolled members living on or near the Fort Belknap Reservation is 5,771. Enrolled members living off the Fort Belknap Reservation is 1,532. There are four major communities at Fort Belknap: the Fort Belknap Agency in the northwest corner of the reservation; Hays, Lodgepole, and Milk River Valley. Harlem, which lies outside the reservation boundaries north of the Fort Belknap Agency, also has a large Indian population.
Visitors to the Fort Belknap Reservation can take guided tours of the Snake Butte Area, the Tribal buffalo herd, and ancient teepee rings. Or they are welcome to tour on their own and visit the old round hall at Lodge Pole which is a Montana Historical Landmark, the Mission Canyon, Chief Joseph Battleground Monument, St. Paul’s Mission Church, the Natural Bridge State Monument, the C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge or the Fort Belknap Gift Shop featuring handcrafted Native American arts and crafts. The Fort Belknap Community College operates and supports a commercial-free radio station. Since 1996 they have been broadcasting powwow music, contemporary tunes, weekend basketball games, updates on national Native American issues, and community issues including health fairs and clinic services offered by Indian Health Service.
Government housing is within walking distance of the Agency critical access hospital. There are 1, 2, 3, and 4 bedroom houses which are situated near the clinic compound as well as 6 plexed units. There are plans to build an additional 25 government housing units. Civil service personnel are responsible for rent and utilities. Some employees elect to rent or buy homes in the nearby communities of Harlem, Chinook, or Havre.
US Highway 2 runs east to west across Montana and all communities along the highway are collectively called “The Hi Line.” Route 66 runs north and south through the reservation. Most people use privately owned vehicles to travel on the reservation and to surrounding towns and cities. Airports can be found in Harlem, Chinook, and Havre. Great Falls and Billings offer international airports with commercial flights. Amtrak runs east to west across the Hi Line and can be boarded in the nearby towns of Havre and Malta.
Fort Belknap Community Website
Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is homeland to the Gros Ventre and the Assiniboine Tribes. Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is located forty miles south of the Canadian border and twenty miles north of the Missouri River, which is the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Fort Belknap Indian Reservation is the forth largest Indian reservation in Montana.
Visit the Fort Belknap Community Website