MTPR

Marie Matthews

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.

On June 24, assisted living businesses and workers asked the Montana Legislature to increase payments for day-to-day services for seniors and people with disabilities.
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Businesses that care for the elderly, poor and disabled say they’re struggling to make ends meet on what the state pays for housing and assisted living services.

Much of that funding is via Medicaid, and on Thursday, assisted living businesses and workers asked the Montana Legislature to increase payments for day-to-day services for seniors and people with disabilities.

More than 40 people came to the DPHHS hearing on Medicaid cuts Feb. 1, 2018 in Helena.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

When Montana lawmakers and the governor cut $49 million from the state health department earlier this year, it disrupted care for thousands of Montana’s most vulnerable residents. Over 100 case management jobs were cut. Now, the health department is meeting with contractors about the possibility of redesigning the system.

Ongoing budget cuts mean the State of Montana has ended a contract that paid a big health insurance company $6 million a year to manage Medicaid recipients. That’s more than twice as much as it allocates to the state health department for similar work.

Department of Public Health and Human Services Medicaid and Health Services Branch Manager Marie Matthews testified, along with other agency leaders, before lawmakers Friday, January 19, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney

In order to balance the state budget last year, Governor Steve Bullock and lawmakers signed off on $49 million in cuts to the state health department. The department’s response includes eliminating two-and-half-million worth of contracts to non-profits that serve people with developmental disabilities.

Montana’s state health department is getting ready to take over day-to-day help for 3,000 people with developmental disabilities this spring, after severing contracts with four private contractors.

The department says it had no choice after state lawmakers and the governor cut $49 million out of its budget in November.

Hundreds showed up to testify in Helena against cuts to Medicaid, July 27, 2017.
Eric Whitney

"These are no doubt difficult times."

That’s Sheila Hogan, the head of Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services Thursday. She was kicking off a hearing on a planned cut to how much the department will pay doctors, hospitals and other health workers who take care of people on Medicaid.

As lawmakers continue crafting the state’s budget, officials with Montana’s health department say the state’s Medicaid programs need more funds to keep up with caseloads. 

Montana DPHHS

The special state committee set up to oversee Medicaid expansion in Montana got its first progress report since expansion began January 1.

"This is just incredible success we’re having," Marie Matthews with the state health department told the committee. "This program has already saved the state general fund about $3 million," she said.

Enrollment in Montana’s expanded Medicaid program is exceeding expectations, and so far has refunded $3 million to the state’s general fund.

That’s according to officials with the state health department who briefed a special expansion oversight committee today.