Montana Medical Association Foundation
Valuing the Quality of Virtual Care
The Montana Medical Association Foundation (MMAF) was founded in 2013 , as a 501(c)3, for the purpose of sustaining the future of medicine in Montana by promoting and supporting programs committed to excellence in practice, physical health, and medical education. The foundation, less than 10 years old, had an immediate impact in the health care arena and continues to expand its reach through targeted funding of continuing medical education opportunities. MMAF’s current focus is enhancing interoperability to achieve healthier communities and health equity.
Telehealth is critical in a rural states for providing access to physician care. With an aging population, Montana physicians recognize the looming demand for increased medical services. This adds pressure to an over-demanding schedule and threatens physician well-being. As of 2020, 52 of Montana’s 56 counties are classified as medically underserved and health professional shortage areas by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Using telemedicine, the MMAF joined with the state medical association representing psychiatrists to put forward a collaborative care model to increase access to mental health services to this population and others in rural areas.
Telemedicine provides an opportunity to bring relief to rural physicians who are on call continuously. We believe this is another metric to measure the value of virtual care. The foundation is future-focused and has not only invested in patient centered programs, but also physician centered ones. Examples of this include: creating and supporting CME development for programs like KnowYourDoseMT, a free course on the safe prescribing practices of opioids, a Medical Examiner training for Certified Drivers License and conferences related to CME activities on best medical practice and health policy topics. MMAF has also, partnered with multiple agencies and health care professionals to identify needs and help providers complete CME. Through these educational activities, physicians have the opportunity to complete requirements of the profession in a more accessible manner.