Benefis Health System Makes Progress on Development of Residency Program

New accreditation granted to Montana hospital for advancing medical education  

GREAT FALLS, Montana – The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has awarded Benefis Health System Sponsorship Institution status, the critical accreditation needed to become a premier residency program and advance medical education. 

“This is monumental for Benefis and medical education in Montana,” said Paul Dolan, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer and Director of Graduate Medical Education for Benefis Health System. “The process of securing this accreditation is rigorous and challenging, and not one that we, at Benefis, took lightly. By awarding Benefis Sponsorship Institution accreditation, we can become an even greater contributor to our community and state by increasing access to medical education and ensuring we have the most qualified doctors graduating from medical school.” 

Before Benefis was granted Sponsorship Institution status, the health system participated in an application process to ensure compliance with ACGME’s institutional requirements. Benefis worked in collaboration with the proposed Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM), as this new status will benefit ICOM students once the new, state-of-the-art medical school opens its doors to future doctors, including those from Montana.  

Residency opportunities at Benefis will be open to both allopathic and osteopathic students from around the country on a competitive basis.  

“We are excited for Benefis Health System with this landmark achievement. The future teaching programs at Benefis Health System will be impactful and improve the health of the region for generations to come,” said Dr. Robert Hasty, ICOM founding dean and chief academic officer. 

Over the next few years, Benefis will prepare its programs and facility and obtain additional accreditation for supplementary courses before it starts accepting residents.  

“Becoming a teaching institution allows Benefis Health System to be a part of the solution to the physician shortage in the United States, which especially affects rural areas like Montana,” said John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis Health System. “Benefis is proud to partner with ICOM to address the needs of our state and region, and we look forward to playing an important role in the medical education of many future doctors, many of which we hope will choose to practice in our region after completing their training.”

Development of a residency program is expected to enhance physician recruitment to the area. Nationally, 48 percent of physicians practice in the state where they completed their medical education.  


About Benefis Health System:

Located in Great Falls, Montana, Benefis Health System is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to serving the health needs of nearly a quarter of the state’s population across an expansive rural and frontier region. Benefis provides a comprehensive range of health services through its outpatient clinics, hospitals, home health services, and senior care centers and is the region’s only level II trauma center. Benefis is consistently recognized for its quality by the nation’s leading healthcare ratings organizations. In 2017, Healthgrades named Benefis among the top 10 percent in the nation for treatment of stroke and pulmonary services, among recognition for five-star care in numerous other areas.  

Benefis employs more than 3,200 employees, including more than 250 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, making it the largest private employer in Northcentral Montana. Benefis is proud to have been recognized as one of the 150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker’s Hospital Review for the last four consecutive years. For more information about Benefis, visit   


Keri Garman Tang

Chief Communications Officer

(406) 455-5643