Healthcare

Montana healthcare news.

Veterans Advocate  Joe Parsetich joined Governor Steve Bullock and other dignitaries in Great Falls Sept. 15, to launch an outreach effort encouraging veterans to look into enrolling in Montana's newly-expanded Medicaid program.
Eric Whitney

Governor Steve Bullock says he's making a special effort to reach out to Montana's veterans to encourage them to look into Medicaid health coverage. In Great Falls, leaders of healthcare, veterans and civic groups joined him in doing so Thursday, Sept. 15. 

The Montana Board of Regents is poised to approve a proposal to help nurses with an associate degree (ASN) earn their bachelor of science nurse degree (BSN).

David Trost, president and CEO of St. John’s Lutheran Ministries in Billings, says registered nurses with an ASN have the skills to be excellent nurses.

He says the additional education helps with the transformation taking place in health care.

Montana health insurance market breakdown.
Courtesy Montana Commissioner of Securities Insurance

State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen says the health insurance premiums one company is charging in Montana next year are, “unreasonable,” and that those proposed by two other companies were too low and needed to be adjusted upward.

Billings Clinic launched a pilot project to help rural primary care providers deliver mental or behavioral health care to their patients.

“Montana is at the epicenter of a mental health crisis,” says Dr. Eric Arzubi, chair of the Psychiatry Department at Billings Clinic.

He says there aren’t enough psychiatrists, so it falls upon primary care providers in rural areas to help their patients who are struggling with mental and behavioral health issues.

Governor Steve Bullock announcing a new healthcare reform initiative in Missoula Monday at Western Montana Clinic.
Eric Whitney

Montana has been invited to participate in a new phase of health care reform that some big players in the healthcare industry here say should save significant money. Governor Bullock made the announcement at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula Monday morning.

Sen. Jon Tester
U.S. Senate

Montana lawmakers are pushing forward to check the high medical costs passed on to patients by some air ambulance and insurance companies. But U.S. Senator Jon Tester says getting support from Congress is a hard sell.

William Marcus

A legislative committee today has agreed to sponsor two bills in the next legislative session related to air ambulance service in Montana.

Health insurance companies selling individual policies in Montana say they have to raise their prices next year. But the federal government says it won’t be as bad as the headlines suggest. The Obama administration says most Americans don’t have to worry about possible spikes in premium rates next year.

Eric Whitney

There's something unusual about how kidney dialysis is done in Helena.

Nationwide, more than 400,000 Americans have kidney disease so bad that they need regular dialysis – meaning they have to connect to a machine for several hours at least three times a week to clean their blood of toxins.

“They have to come at a certain time, so it's very scheduled, very regimented, and their time is not their own,” says Dr. Robert LaClair, a nephrologist, or kidney specialist at St. Peter's hospital in Helena.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ new veterans healthcare representative says she brings a unique perspective to the job.

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