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Healthcare news from Montana Public Radio.

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Montana lt. governor and gubernatorial candidate Mike Cooney.

Montana’s Democratic candidate for governor announced a plan Wednesday that he says will increase access to health care and lower prescription drug prices.

The plan reiterates Lt. Gov Mike Cooney’s support for Montana’s Medicaid expansion program, which was reauthorized with bipartisan support during the 2019 legislative session. The plan also outlines several legislative actions Cooney would push aimed at decreasing the cost of prescriptions.

GOP Senate Ad Misrepresents Montana Governor’s Stance

Aug 18, 2020

An attack ad, which was released in mid-July, states that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democratic candidate for the Senate, supports a government-run health care program that would wreak havoc on the state’s health care infrastructure.

Montana To Receive COVID-19 Drug Treatment

Jul 24, 2020

Next week, Montana hospitals are expected to receive hundreds more doses of an antiviral drug being used to treat COVID-19 patients. YPR News’ Kevin Trevellyan reports.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is sending 24 cases of remdesivir to Montana, enough for roughly 150 standard treatment courses.

Dr. Joshua Christensen, an infectious disease physician at Providence St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, is relieved at the incoming shipment, but warns the drug isn’t a silver bullet.

A man wearing a COVID-19 mask.

At least two public health workers across the state have resigned due to disagreements with elected officials and the public over restrictions aimed at keeping the coronavirus pandemic in check. Lori Drumm is a family practitioner at the Deer Lodge Medical clinic and for about another week, Powell County’s public health officer. MTPR’s Aaron Bolton spoke with Drumm about her resignation.

Veterans suffering from three health conditions related to Agent Orange exposure are closer to receiving expanded benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Campaign Beat: Fundraising, Schools And The Politics Of Masks

Jul 17, 2020

Gov. Bullock's mask mandate becomes a political football with one conservative commentator predicting "mass civil disobedience.” Office of Public Instruction Superintendent Elsie Arntzen gets into a public feud with the governor over school reopenings. And new fundraising numbers and polls show Montana's top races up for grabs.

Listen now on Campaign Beat, with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Ambulances at the Glacier County EMS facility.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

For months, Glacier County officials have feared long-standing financial issues would soon shutter the county’s ambulance service. Now the county hopes to hand off operations to the Northern Rockies Medical Center.


Montana is now home to a public health institute. The Montana Public Health Institute is one of about 40 such institutes across the country.  The nonprofit will work to bolster the state’s public health system by bringing policy analysis and funding to county and tribal health departments.

Gov. Steve Bullock (center) with Crow Nation Chairman AJ Not Afraid (R) and officials from the Indian Health Services at a community testing event in Crow Agency May 27, 2020.
Nicky Ouellet / Yellowstone Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock issued a mandate effective immediately ordering most Montanans to wear masks while inside public spaces and at large outdoor gatherings when social distancing isn’t possible. The call to mask up comes as the state exceeded 1,000 active cases of COVID-19.

Gallatin County officials had planned to discuss mandating face coverings on July 14 but postponed the meeting after people seeking to give public comment refused to maintain physical distancing.

Health officials said the space for the in person- public meeting could accommodate around 100 people sitting in chairs spaced six feet apart, a measure intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and follow the state’s reopening guidelines.