October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and a new study looks at which cities are best for people with disabilities. While two Montana studies didn't rank high overall, they did rank high in one aspect of the study, which could come as a surprise to some.

The study from Wallet Hub breaks out the data into Economy and Healthcare, meaning if you receive disability income the Economy ranking might be the most relevant to you whereas if you're looking for quality medical care, the Healthcare rankings might be more relevant.

Montana ranked high in the Healthcare categories.

Healthcare categories included aspects like:

  • cost of doctor visit
  • average per-person health-insurance premium
  • family medicine physicians per capita
  • occupational therapists per capita
  • home health aides and personal care aides
  • doctors ranking
  • nurses ranking
  • hospitals per capita
  • quality of public hospital system
  • share of uninsured population

The Rankings

Billings ranked 21 overall when considering the Economy, Quality of Life, and Health Care factors. Missoula ranked 68 overall when considering the Economy, Quality of Life, and Health Care factors.

Both cities ranked poorly in Quality of Life: Missoula 121, Billings 163.

It wasn't much better for Economy: Billings 61, Missoula 170.

But for Healthcare, Billings took the 1 ranking, and Missoula took the 2 ranking.

A Personal Note

I recognize that several of Montana's healthcare institutions have been nationally recognized for their quality of care. However, I was surprised when I came across the results of this study. Both Billings and Missoula beat Minneapolis (It was number 3.)? Boston? Seattle? I think I was also surprised because my dad, who is disabled, moved out of Montana a few years ago because the healthcare options were better elsewhere. Maybe our family is an isolated case, but I wonder, does the data really reflect the lived experience of Montanas with disabilities who receive healthcare here?

LOOK: The 25 least expensive states to live in

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