Montana Public Radio

Health care

Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

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Nurse in a mask sitting, looking tired.

More Montana public health workers are quitting their jobs as they face mounting stress, and in some cases, threats, because of their work during the pandemic. The loss of experience could complicate the work of health departments now and in the future.

U.S. Army Huey helicopter spraying Agent Orange over agricultural land during the Vietnam War
Huey Defoliation National Archives - Public domain

Congress Friday overwhelmingly passed the nation’s immense annual defense policy bill, which President Donald Trump has threatened to veto.

This year’s version of the defense bill expands health benefits for veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Courtesy Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare has agreed to pay $4.2 million in a settlement with patients affected by a 2019 data breach of medical records. The settlement could assist up to roughly 130,000 people who had their personal information stolen.

An ambulance in front of Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

Starting Jan. 1, Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) will begin operating under the name Logan Health. The hospital system has been expanding beyond the Flathead Valley, acquiring medical facilities in the Shelby area and has plans to take over other facilities near the Rocky Mountain Front.

Gov. Steve Bullock is joined by Rep. Mary Caferro, a Democrat from Helena, and Rep. Ed Buttrey, a Republican from Great Falls, and other lawmakers for the signing of HB 658, May 9, 2019. The bill reauthorizes the state's Medicaid expansion program.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The addition of work or “community engagement” requirements to Montana’s Medicaid expansion program has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

That announcement came Friday from the state health department.

As demand for federally subsidized health care significantly rises in Montana for the first time in several years, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to strike down the law that enabled expanded coverage. Health insurance experts liken a complete overturn of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to a “perfect storm” that would cause “complete chaos.”

Chelsia Rice co owns Montana Book Company in downtown Helena.

Sign reading 'temporarily closed dut to coronavirus pandemic'.

Gov. Steve Bullock and health officials today asked Montanans to stay home as COVID-19 numbers flare across the state. The plea comes as the disease rises to the fourth leading cause of death in Montana and ahead of a holiday season that health experts expect will make matters worse.

A coronavirus testing swab in a test tube.

When the Blackfeet Nation closed its borders in the hopes of keeping COVID-19 out, the tribe suffered economically. But the virus still found its way in, sometimes with fatal effects. Kylie Mohr reports on why Blackfeet residents are worried as cases spike for the first time in months.

A gloved hand swabs a person's arm, prepping it for a shot.

Flu season is just around the corner. That's worrisome to Montana health care officials, particularly in the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic. They say Montanans need to be proactive to avoid contracting the flu.

Health care worker holding a clipboard.

As COVID-19 cases across the state surge, the number of available hospital beds for COVID and other patients is quickly becoming a concern. But a shortage of health care workers to staff and watch over patients in those beds is already a problem in some areas of the state.