A group committed to keeping the Affordable Care Act in place is bringing the ‘Care Force One’ bus to the Partnership Health Center on Friday at 2:00 p.m.

Executive Director of Partnership Health Center Laurie Francis said the bus will be making its 30th stop on a nationwide tour.

“There are some current threats to the Affordable Care Act that continue to show up,” said Francis. “One is the denial of coverage to those with preexisting conditions, Apparently, the Texas Attorney General filed a suit looking at the repeal of that requirement, and the Department of Justice has refused to defend the constitutionality of the ACA, and are looking specifically at this provision that protects people with preexisting conditions.”

Francis provided some statistics on patients in Montana with preexisting conditions.

“In Montana there are 425,000 people, that’s about half of our state that have preexisting conditions that could preclude them from getting health insurance. That’s not just expanded Medicaid, but any kind of insurance. It wasn’t that long ago that we couldn’t get health insurance if we had a history of alcohol or drug abuse, pregnancy, diabetes which is about 20 percent of the population that we serve, hepatitis, epilepsy, severe obesity, kidney disease and that list goes on.”

Francis said Partnership Health Center serves a large number of patients.

“Partnership currently serves 16,000 people for a total of 66,000 visits,” she said. “We have primary care, dental care, and we have behavioral health care. We also have integrated health care, meaning you might come in to see your healthcare practitioner, and if you are experiencing depression or anxiety, we can connect you right there with a behavioral health person.”

Francis described the funding that Partnership Health Center receives to serve their patients.

“We receive no county tax dollars,” she said. “We’re a $27 million organization with 200 employees and our funding comes from a federal grant which is about 20 percent of our funding, and almost all the rest comes from private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and people who self-pay. We also have a number of small and medium sized grants that fund our innovative programming.”