MTPR

Montana Healthcare Foundation

John Goodnow is the CEO of Benefis Health System, Montana's second-largest, in Great Falls
Eric Whitney

The CEO of one of Montana's largest hospitals says Republicans are helping to create the instability that’s causing insurance companies to leave the federal health care exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.

John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis Health System in Great Falls, said Republican talk about reducing subsidies that help people buy coverage is a, quote, "slick trick" to ensure the exchanges will fail.

Lawmakers will study prisoner solitary confinement and meth and opioid abuse during the legislative interim as they begin to shape new policy proposals for the 2019 session.
Eric Norris (CC-BY-2)

Lawmakers will study prisoner solitary confinement and meth and opioid abuse during the legislative interim as they begin to shape new policy proposals for the 2019 session.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox was considered a possible contender in the 2018 senate race, after Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke accepted the position of Interior Secretary.
Courtesy Montana DOJ

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced a new strategy to combat substance abuse in the state on the Capitol steps Wednesday afternoon.

Backed by law enforcement, lawmakers, and healthcare officials, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced an initiative his office is calling "AID," short for addressing the impact of drugs:

 Montana’s Spending on substance use disorder treatment by funding source, fiscal year 2016
Montana Healthcare Foundation

There’s long been an imbalance in the number of Montanans who need help beating alcoholism and drug abuse and the amount of treatment programs available.

Lately, those consequences are showing up in the state’s foster care system. The number of children needing care due to drug use problems in their parents has doubled since 2010, and the number of babies born drug-affected has tripled since then.

Those numbers are from a new report by the Montana Healthcare Foundation, which also says the state now has a golden opportunity to dramatically increase the availability of drug and alcohol treatment services.

A new report says Montana stands to lose more than $284 million in healthcare funding if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.
Courtesy

A new report says Montana stands to lose more than $284 million in healthcare funding if Congress repeals the Medicaid expansion that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.

Montana Insurers Propose Rate Increases From 2 - 23 Percent
(PD)

There's a new effort underway in the state to better connect hospitals, doctors' offices and other health care providers. Like, through the internet. That's not really happening much now, and it's frustrating to doctors like Michael Vlases with Bozeman Health:

(PD)

Half a dozen health care systems in Montana are sharing more than $700,000 in grants to make mental or behavioral health care easier to get.

The Montana Healthcare Foundation says it's making the grants to support better healthcare for people who have a combination of medical problems and mental illness and/or addiction. It plans to award more than $3 million to the initiative over the next two years.

Recruiters representing over 70 employers from across the region visited the University of Montana this week.
Alyssa Grant (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

Hospitals and clinics across Montana have long had a hard time recruiting doctors and nurses to serve the state’s needs. That can be true of other healthcare professions, too, like therapists, pharmacists and technicians. A new analysis this year says demand for healthcare workers in Montana is going to grow by 40 percent in the next 10 years.

Christopher Ebdon (CC-BY-NC-2)

In a big, rural state like Montana, medical care is often far away. And because most hospitals here are small, people who experience serious trauma or need specialty care often have to fly to get it. The cost of that service is really expensive, and sometimes it isn't covered by health insurance.

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.

Community Medical Center, Missoula, MT
Josh Burnham

A Missoula Community Medical Center board member says the only issue left to resolve in the sale of the hospital is whether $10 million from the sale can go to the University of Montana Foundation. But Attorney General Tim Fox appears to be taking a broader view.

Attorney General Tim Fox’s office said Tuesday a group of candidates have been nominated for the board of a new healthcare foundation created following the sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana to an out-of-state company.

The Montana Attorney General’s Office deposited a new $40 million check this week—money from the sale of Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Montana to an out of state company.

Another $100 million or more may eventually be on the way as Blue Cross sells off its assets.