Montana Public Radio

Jon Ebelt

Woman on a climbing wall.
(PD)

Gyms of all kinds across Montana will have the option to reopen May 15 under guidance from Gov. Steve Bullock. Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton found that some facilities don’t plan to open until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is available. Others opened at the beginning of May. Bolton shares what he learned with Nicky Ouellet.

As Montana Prepares To Reopen, State Lacks Local COVID-19 Testing Data

Apr 24, 2020
Two Bozeman Health employees help a patient learn how to self-sample at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Bozeman.
Ryan Berry / Bozeman Daily Chronicle

As Gov. Steve Bullock moves to roll back emergency measures enacted to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, he has said he’ll take a data-driven approach to reopening Montana’s economy while minimizing the risk of a second-surge outbreak.

State officials are keeping a close eye on the number of laboratory-confirmed cases. However, they aren’t tracking the number of Montanans who’ve been tested in each county, a metric national experts say is important to fully understand how the outbreak is playing out in different parts of the state.

Ranch For Kids' main facility in the small, remote town of Rexford, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

The state is still caring for an unknown number of children removed from the Ranch for Kids in Rexford last month due to allegations of chronic abuse. Health officials removed 27 children from the private facility that said it provided therapy to children with severe emotional and behavioral issues.

Ranch For Kids' main facility in the small, remote town of Rexford, MT.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

Two weeks after the state health department removed 27 children from Ranch for Kids in Rexford due to allegations of physical and psychological abuse, the private therapeutic facility has officially appealed the suspension of its license. 

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

New analysis from the state health department shows the new Medicaid work requirements set to take effect on Jan. 1 will apply to more Montanans than expected — up to three times more.

Aaron Bolton

The director of a private therapeutic treatment center for kids in northwestern Montana says he plans to appeal the state’s suspension of his license to operate.

Tuesday, state health officials removed more than two dozen kids from the Ranch for Kids in Rexford with a court order, citing “egregious, chronic, and persistent child abuse.”

Mental health services.
Flickr user Publik15 (CC-BY-SA)

 

Organizations that provide care for people with mental health problems in Montana say they’ve reached an agreement with the state health department to redesign a big portion of the system they work in. 

Montana Health Agency Accused Of Defying Order On Medicaid

Jul 24, 2018

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Health Care Association said Tuesday that state health officials are defying a court order by once again cutting the reimbursement rates paid to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities that care for Medicaid patients.

But state officials have said they are complying, and the contradiction appears to stem from confusion about whether District Judge James Reynolds' order blocking the rate cut expired on July 1.

Judge Temporarily Blocks Montana Medicaid Provider Cuts

Jun 13, 2018

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Helena judge ordered Montana health officials on Wednesday to temporarily reinstate last year's Medicaid reimbursement rates after a group of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities challenged state rate cuts.

The order issued by District Judge James Reynolds says the Department of Public Health and Human Services must not apply the reduced rates for reimbursements to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities that provide services to Medicaid patients.

Montana Department of Transportation crews clear roads north of Browning, MT on S-464, February 26, 2018.
Montana Department of Transportation

Gov. Steve Bullock says $200,000 in emergency energy assistance funding will be released to eligible families on three Montana Indian reservations hit hard this winter.

State health department spokesman Jon Ebelt says state officials have received reports of hardship among some residents of the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap and Northern Cheyenne reservations.

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