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Montana Nurses File Charges Against Kalispell Regional Healthcare

Officials say it could take more than a year to add new "community engagement" requirements to the state’s Medicaid expansion.
Montana Nurses Association alleges Kalispell Regional Healthcare violated federal worker rights laws.

The Montana Nurses Association filed charges against Kalispell Regional Healthcare Wednesday for allegedly violating federal worker rights laws.

According to a press release from the nurses' group, Kalispell Regional interfered with employee rights to form a nurses union, in breach of the National Labor Relations Act.

Vicky Byrd, the executive director of the Montana Nurses Association, said, "it appears KRH is trying to sound a warning shot to nurses that they’ll be laid off and not be rehired if they support becoming union."

Kalispell Regional could not be reached for comment before this story aired.

The Kalispell healthcare system is reeling from a $24 million whistleblower case it settled earlier this year with U.S. Department of Justice.

In September, the Kalispell healthcare system settled over allegations that it violated an anti-kickback statute and the Stark Law, in place to prevent a physician’s medical judgement from being compromised by certain financial incentives.*

Officials with the regional healthcare system told the Flathead Beacon earlier this year that recent Montana state budgeting troubles and cuts to Medicaid provider rates have also hurt Kalispell Regional’s bottom line.

 *CORRECTION: The original version of this story erroneously stated that the U.S. Department of Justice found that Kalispell Regional Healthcare violated an anti-kickback statute and the Stark Law. There were no findings. A settlement resolved the allegations. MTPR News regrets the error.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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