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Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

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Officials say it could take more than a year to add new "community engagement" requirements to the state’s Medicaid expansion.
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Officials say it could take more than a year to add new "community engagement" requirements to the state’s Medicaid expansion.

Montana is awaiting federal approval for its plan to require some low-income adults to work for health coverage.

The Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services says e-cigarette products should "never be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products."
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Two more cases of lung injuries associated with vaping products were confirmed in Montana Thursday. That brings the state’s total to 7 cases, including one death.

The state health department says both new cases involve people from Cascade County with a history of vaping. One of the individuals is in their teens and the other is in their 20s. An investigation continues into what specific products were used.

People on Medicaid who work rural seasonal jobs in Montana are wondering about the future of their access to health coverage. Montana recently passed a law that, if it gains federal approval and goes into effect as planned in January, would require many Medicaid recipients to prove they work a set number of hours each month.

ATSDR Medical officer Capt. Arthur Wendel (L) and health assessor David Dorian explain the nuances of the agency's exposure investigation at a public meeting at Anaconda High School. Oct 30, 2019.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Federal investigators that study public health risks at Superfund sites had good news for Anacondans this week. At a meeting on Wednesday, they reported that the amount of lead and arsenic in residents' bodies are about the same as the rest of the country.

Raph Graybill, chief legal counsel for the governor's office defends the administration's temporary vape ban in Ravalli County District Court Nov. 1, 2019
Edward O'Brien / Montana Public Radio

A lawsuit to block a temporary ban on flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products in Montana is now in the hands of a judge in Hamilton.

Ravalli County District Judge Jennifer Lint Friday said the lawsuit challenging implementation of the Bullock administration’s emergency rules to block the sale of flavored vaping products is officially now at the top of her to-do list.

Average Monthly Premiums for Second-Lowest Cost Silver Plan in Montana 2016-2019.
Data from: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, https://go.cms.gov/2Jp5SkE

Next year, premiums for individual health insurance plans in Montana will go down for the first time since the Affordable Care Act took effect. Open enrollment starts Friday.

The roughly 50,000 Montanans who receive health coverage in the Affordable Care Act marketplace could see their premium bills drop by hundreds or thousands of dollars next year.

The Washoe Smelter Stack in Anaconda.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

Federal public health investigators that study risks at Superfund sites are coming back to Anaconda this week to discuss the results of a study examining locals’ exposure to lead and arsenic. Health officials are expected to report those exposure levels are normal.

Federal officials have counted 1,604 lung injury cases and 34 deaths through Oct. 24.
iStock

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana health officials have announced two more cases of lung injury associated with vaping, and say they're investigating other possible cases.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services said Monday a Cascade County teen was hospitalized this summer and again in October while a Lake County resident in their 30s was hospitalized this month. Both are recovering.

According to Montana’s child protective services division, there are about 3,800 children in the state’s foster care system. State officials say a new federal program could reduce that number by, in part, treating behavioral health issues within families.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) announced Tuesday that an email data breach this summer may have exposed the personal and private healthcare information of nearly 130,000 of its patients.
(PD)

Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) announced Tuesday that an email data breach this summer may have exposed the personal and private healthcare information of nearly 130,000 of its patients.

Information exchanged in emails with KRH staff such as names, addresses and some social security numbers as well as personal medical information could have been accessed as early as May 24.

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