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Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

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Late last week Montana’s state health department announced that it’s severing contracts with four non-profit companies that help people with developmental disabilities. That’s due to the reduced state budget enacted by Governor Steve Bullock because of the state bringing in lower than expected revenue.

The health department says the 2,700 clients of those companies who will lose services due to the severed contracts will be taken care of by the department starting this spring.

To learn more about what the cuts mean, MTPR News Director Eric Whitney talked to the CEO of one of the four non-profits.

State budgets.
(PD)

Private contractors who take care of Montanans with developmental disabilities are losing state contracts due to Montana’s budget woes. This means many case managers across the state are losing their jobs, and small town service providers are grappling with how to provide care on a reduced budget.

Western Montana Mental Health Center headquarters in Missoula
Eric Whitney

A federal mediator is stepping in to help arbitrate a dispute between a new union of recently laid-off mental health care workers and their Missoula-based employer.

Today, the union and Western Montana Mental Health Center confirmed they will meet Tuesday.

A group of state lawmakers on Thursday lifted a block on cuts to how much Montana pays doctors and other health professionals who serve Medicaid patients.


Jacqui Crisp of Columbia Falls lifts her squirmy daughter out of the stroller to carry her during a trip to the grocery store. Crisp moved to Montana to be near family who would support her through drug treatment and the final months of pregnancy.
Rikki Devlin for the Missoulian

Pregnant women using opioids in Montana aren’t receiving adequate care, according to a joint investigation by the Missoulian and the University of Montana Journalism School. As a result, more infants in Montana are being born dependent on narcotics. That means they can experience withdrawal symptoms - anywhere from fussiness and trouble feeding to seizures or death in extreme cases.

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