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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

A bill to boost oversight of the State Hospital advances to the House

A sign pointing to the entrances of the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs, MT.
Courtesy Montana State Hospital
Montana State Hospital
A sign pointing to the entrances of the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs, MT.

A bill that would increase independent oversight of the Montana State Hospital passed the Senate on Tuesday.

The bill would automatically send reports of abuse, neglect, death and other incidents at the state hospital to Disability Rights Montana within five days.

The state hospital lost federal oversight and funding last year following patient deaths. Disability Rights Montana Executive Director Bernie Franks-Ongoy says that loss makes her organization’s role in protecting state hospital patients even more important.

“Previous to this, we had to know about the incident and then make a request for the records,” she said.

She adds that this bill would make sure Disability Rights Montana knows about all incidents of neglect and abuse at the facility. The bill will now move to the House for consideration.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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