MTPR

Marie Matthews

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.

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