Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

Ways to Connect

Tester: VA 'Choice Card' Program Needs Work

May 21, 2015
Sen. Jon Tester (D) Montana
Courtesy photo

Senator Jon Tester says the Veterans Administration’s new Choice Card program got off to a  “shaky” start. The Choice Card is a new program that lets veterans use private medical care if their nearest VA facility is too busy or too far away.

In 2013, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Montana, then a not-for-profit corporation, was sold to Health Care Services Corp, a Chicago-based insurance company. Under state law, the sale assets were transferred to a charitable trust, the Montana Healthcare Foundation, to be managed for the public benefit. To date, the MHCF has roughly $80 million in assets.

Teaching Caregivers To Care For Themselves

May 15, 2015

An estimated 22 million Americans act as caregivers for someone with a chronic medical condition.  Typically, it’s a son or daughter taking care of an aging parent. It can be rewarding, but often it’s also stressful and draining, especially for caretakers who neglect to take care of themselves.

For the second time in two years, a Missoula hospital is entering a joint venture with a hospital in Billings. Last year, Billings Clinic and a for-profit partner bought Missoula Community Medical center. The new joint venture announced this week isn’t a merger, but it does have Missoula’s other hospital, St Patrick, joining with St. Vincent hospital in Billings.

Montana is making progress toward transitioning some elderly and disabled people out of nursing homes into less restrictive settings. Delegates at the Governor’s Conference on Aging got an update on the nationwide program.