Doctors – Mental Health – Dentists - Pediatricians – Social Services – Senior Services – Healthcare Providers - Bozeman Hospital – Gallatin Valley – Outpatient Care
Bozeman, Montana’s Healthcare sector contributes significantly to Bozeman’s economy. The Montana Department of Labor broadly categorizes healthcare employment under the title, Health Care and Social Assistance.
In 2007 Gallatin County, Montana had 330 businesses that provided Health Care and Social Assistance services through a total of 3,355 employees, making the Healthcare and Social Assistance category the fifth largest employment category after Accommodation and Food Services, Construction, Retail Trade, and Government. In 2007, the average salary of the southwest montana region’s employees in the Health Care and Social Assistance category was $35,043/year.
Support for the growth and expansion of Bozeman’s Health Care and Social Assistance sector is viewed as good economic development policy because this suppport provides both expanded healthcare options for Bozeman’s community and a wealth of professional employment opportunities.
The Bozeman, MT healthcare sector is often viewed as an industry sector that provides economic stability even during periods of economic instability and/or even periods of recession. Though Bozeman’s healthcare sector is an essential Bozeman community service, it is a sector that is not immune to changing economic conditions.
If the Gallatin Valley’s residents experience job loss and layoffs during economic downturns, the health service sector suffers because the elective procedures residents choose, which are typically profitable, and the number of patients carrying health insurance benefits decline, and both of these bring revenue to the southwest Montana region. Philanthropic efforts and reimbursement from government-sponsored healthcare programs may also decline in economic downturns.
The combined influence of these factors makes it more difficult for healthcare providers to survive economically. Bozeman Deaconess Hospital is a financially sound healthcare corporation, however, as a non-profit hospital, Bozeman Deaconess continues to face the on-going challenge of servicing patients who don’t have the ability or struggle to pay their medical bills.
While Bozeman’s healthcare service sector has grown in concert with Bozeman’s population, the specific areas of the Gallatin Valley’s healthcare service sector that have shown the greatest growth are those in the specialty-related medical service sector. In the past, many Bozeman Deaconess hospital patients had to travel to larger communities like Billings, Spokane, Denver, or Salt Lake for specialized medical services and procedures.
As the Bozeman area has recruited more specialists, developed the capability to conduct more specialized tests, and begun providing more specialized care and treatment, many of these services have become locally offered.
In 1996 Bozeman, MT had approximately 95 practicing physicians. In 2008, there were approximately 154 practicing physicians, which is a 60% increase during this period, representing more than 50 specialties. The number of hospital beds in Bozeman has not increased as the trend for shorter hospital stays and more outpatient surgeries has allowed Bozeman’s hospital to maintain the same 86 in-patient bed capacity since 1986.