MTPR

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Hundreds showed up to testify in Helena against cuts to Medicaid, July 27, 2017.
Eric Whitney

"These are no doubt difficult times."

That’s Sheila Hogan, the head of Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services Thursday. She was kicking off a hearing on a planned cut to how much the department will pay doctors, hospitals and other health workers who take care of people on Medicaid.

William Buck, who owns Shepherd's Way assisted living facility in Lewistown says planned cuts to Medicaid would be "devastating."
Eric Whitney

Hundreds of people packed an auditorium in Helena Thursday to protest planned cuts to Medicaid.

"This 3.47 percent cut is devastating," says William Buck, who owns Shepherd's Way assisted living facility in Lewistown.

Lawmakers overseeing the state budget, today started working to fill in a financial gap in state health department programs for senior citizens and people with disabilities. But, it’s unclear where some of that money is coming from.

Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson and Rob Saldin discuss the Quist and Gianforte nominations, the proposed health and human services cuts, and their impacts, as well as the ongoing controversy over whether counties can use mail-ballots only in the May special election.

Crystal Methampetamine, or "meth."
File photo (PD)

Montana lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, along with state agency workers and members of the public convened in Helena Saturday with one big problem to discuss.

"Without question, everyone in here, in this room, every citizen in this state, every resident of my community is affected by methamphetamine."

As lawmakers continue crafting the state’s budget, officials with Montana’s health department say the state’s Medicaid programs need more funds to keep up with caseloads. 

Montana Capitol, Helena.
Mike Albans

As Montana lawmakers look to find ways to trim state spending amid a budget shortfall, officials who oversee the state’s foster care system say they need more money to keep up with their rising workload.

Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services expects the number of kids in foster care to continue growing in coming years, to the point where they’re asking lawmakers to add more than $16 million to their $76 million budget.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

As the state faces a budget shortfall, lawmakers in Helena are asking departments across the state to trim their spending. But the judicial branch says its caseloads are increasing, and it needs more funds.

Between 2014 and 2015 the number of cases of child abuse and neglect in district courts rose by 700, according to testimony from court representatives.

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
PD

As Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services faces a proposed $93 million dollars in budget cuts in the wake of  state revenue shortfalls, the department’s new director says she hopes to maintain efforts to combat Montana’s high suicide rate.

Epidemiologist Karl Milhon says it's never too late to get a flu shot.
James Gathany (PD)

Montana health officials have their fingers crossed that the worst of flu season is behind us.

Montana Capitol, Helena
Mike Albans

Today, a so-called Bill of Rights for kids in foster care and the parents that take care of them got its first hearing in the state legislature. Although guidelines outlining those rights already exist now, they’re just administrative policy and not a part of state law.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
Mike Albans

State lawmakers consider big budget cuts this session, including $93 million in cuts for the Department of Health and Human Services. The Montana Legislature begins preparations for the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and two familiar names are circulating for the special election to fill Ryan Zinke’s congressional seat — Gianforte and Baucus.

Join Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Rob Saldin now for this episode of  "Capitol Talk."

Gov. Steve Bullock. File photo.
Corin Cates-Carney

A month after his reelection, Governor Steve Bullock today announced new people will be running nearly half of his appointed cabinet director positions in his second term.

Bullock announced the exit of six cabinet members during a press conference in the state Capitol today. So far, he’s made picks to fill half the vacancies.

Montana Lawmakers Consider 6 Percent Tax On Medical Marijuana
Courtesy Drug Policy Alliance

Medical marijuana advocates won a victory in court today. A Helena judge gave dispensaries the OK to start serving more than three patients immediately, in recognition of a ballot initiative that passed November 8.

Flu activity in Montana since last October
Montana DPHHS

Five cases of flu have been confirmed in Missoula and Lewis and Clark Counties. These are the first flu cases of the season in Montana.

Sen. Kristin Hansen (R) SD-14.
Montana Legislature

State lawmakers are criticizing the state health department’s plan for how to address the high suicide rate among Montana’s young Native Americans.

Enrollment in Montana’s expanded Medicaid program is exceeding expectations, and so far has refunded $3 million to the state’s general fund.

That’s according to officials with the state health department who briefed a special expansion oversight committee today.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

Tuesday health care officials and lawmakers are meeting in the capitol for a progress report on Medicaid expansion in Montana. Montana’s expansion, also known as the HELP Act, was signed into law just under a year ago.

Pills
(PD)

A group of pain patients testifying before state lawmakers Friday says Montana has become a hostile place for people who suffer from chronic pain.

Data Show Mild Flu Season In Montana So Far

Feb 10, 2016
Epidemiologist Karl Milhon says it's never too late to get a flu shot.
James Gathany (PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana health officials say flu-related hospitalizations are down 95 percent from the same period last year.

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
PD

The deadline set for the Protect Montana Kids Commission to draft recommendations to deal with the state’s struggling child abuse and neglect services may have to be pushed back.

Sunday Is The Deadline For Obamacare Enrollment

Jan 26, 2016

  Sunday is the deadline to enroll for health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act for this year. Some Montanans might find out during this year’s enrollment they are now eligible for coverage under the state’s expanded Medicaid.

Josh Burnham

If you got a couple dozen of the most powerful and influential health care leaders in Montana together in a room, they'd tell you that, overall, spending on health care here could be a lot more efficient.

That's actually exactly what happened Tuesday in Helena.

Hearing room.
William Marcus

Members of a legislative committee overseeing Montana’s Child and Family Services Division heard several storylines Monday for the reasons why the Division is struggling with child abuse and neglect casework.

A main topic of the hearing was an audit report released last fall that found several problems with how the department is investigating cases, using casework data and documenting information.

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus

Today, the state agency that oversees child abuse and neglect services challenged parts of an audit of their work released last fall.

In front of a legislative panel today, Child and Family Service Division Administrator Sarah Corbally acknowledged truth in most of the audit. It raised problems with inconsistent documentation, limited oversight, and a lack of management information.

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
PD

Officials say the number of child abuse and neglect cases in Montana is overwhelming state agencies in charge of handling them. A legislative committee that oversees the Division of Child and Family Services is meeting in Helena on Monday.

Over 2,600 Montana children are in foster care; determined by a court to be "in imminent risk."  That's up 60 percent since 2008.  What's going on? Guest Sarah Corbally, administrator of Child & Family Services at the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services shares her thoughts.

Celery
(PD)

Health officials at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services say celery may be the source of contamination that sickened six Montanans with E. coli. Montana DPHHS sent out the following press release this afternoon:

E. Coli Cases In Montana Linked To Costco Chicken Salad

Nov 24, 2015
Costco Chicken Salad May Be Linked To E. Coli In Montana
Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Health officials say chicken salad from Costco may be linked to several recent cases of food poisoning in four states, including Montana.

Josh Burnham

State health officials say they’re surprised at the number of Montanans who are signing up for expanded Medicaid. Jessica Rhoades with the Department of Public Health and Human Services says more than 5,500 people have signed up in a little more than a week since enrollment began.

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