MTPR

Disabilities Services Provider To Close Following State Budget Cuts

Apr 6, 2018

Helena Industries, a non-profit which provides services for hundreds of people in with disabilities is closing, and plans to file for bankruptcy in the wake of state budget cuts to Medicaid programs.

Helena Industries provides job training, work opportunities and case management services for people in Helena, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, and Anaconda.

Nicole Edwards, a disability services case manager in the Bozeman office, says she learned yesterday that her job would end next Wednesday, April 11.

"It is going to be a rocky transition and people will fall through the cracks," said Edwards.

The Associated Press reports Helena Industries will file for bankruptcy protection April 17.

Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services is cutting Medicaid provider rates and contracts as a result of $49 million in budget cuts mandated by the state Legislature and Governor Steve Bullock to balance state finances last year.

In December, DPHHS announced it would end all contracts with the four private companies that provide case management services for people with developmental disabilities in the state. In February the agency changed course saying it would offer one of those contracts, for the entire state.

DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan told lawmakers during an oversight hearing in March that the new statewide contract would start June 1, although a provider hasn’t been announced yet.