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Lewistown Medical Center Receives $6 Million Grant To Build Cancer Center

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A multimillion-dollar grant will help fund a new cancer treatment center in Lewistown, filling a critical gap in health care services in central Montana.

Lewistown’s Central Montana Medical Center is a 25-bed critical access hospital with a long reach.

CEO Cody Langbehn says it’s because the facility is one of the only similar ones in the area.

“We serve all of Fergus County as well as a lot of the surrounding regions. We have a full slate of imaging including CT/MRI, we do orthopedic surgery, we deliver babies. We’re kind of it for the acute care health care needs of all central Montana.” 

CMMC, however, currently offers only limited cancer care services.

“So people from central Montana and all across this region are traveling to either Great Falls or Billings if they need a higher level of either medical oncology or if they need radiation services at all. It’s a good two hours in either direction at a minimum,” Langbehn says.

Winter conditions can stretch that drive out to at least three hours. But a $6 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust will bring those important cancer services much closer to home for central Montanans. The funding will be used to add a comprehensive cancer center to CMMC.

According to Langbehn, it will feature a full-time oncologist, a part-time radiation oncologist, a full infusion suite and new equipment. 

The Helmsley Trust’s $6 million grant will be rounded out with an additional $2 million borrowed or used from CMMC reserves. The hospital’s foundation plans to raise another $1 million through a community capital campaign.

The cancer center’s groundbreaking is slated for next spring with the goal of opening by the summer of 2023.

Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Edward O'Brien is Montana Public Radio's Associate News Director.