MTPR

Mary Windecker

Montana Behavioral Health Alliance Executive Director Mary Windecker testifies at a state health department listening session August 1 in Helena.
Eric Whitney


Access to mental health services, something already hard to get for some Montanans, took a step backward this year because of state budgeting issues.

In the wake of the budget cuts, 10 offices closed and over 100 behavioral health care workers lost their jobs, according to one count by the Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana, which represents more than 30 providers.

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. 

More details on Governor Steve Bullock’s plan to restore parts of the state budget are expected this week.

On Tuesday, the state health department says it will issue a new rule that will restore a nearly 3 percent cut to how much it pays doctors, clinics and other health care providers who see Medicaid patients, retroactive to July 1 of this year. That’s two months ahead of when the department initially said providers could expect that rate restoration.

State Budget Director Dan Villa and State Health Department Director Sheila Hogan hear input on how to allocate $45 million in restored state funding at a listening session in Helena, MT August 1, 2018.
Eric Whitney / MTPR

"This has been a very difficult year," says Sheila Hogan, director of Montana's state health department.

She was talking to hundreds of people online and in a hotel ballroom in Helena who were not shy about telling her just how tough their year has been. They were people impacted by a nearly three percent cut in payments to people and organizations that help Montanans on Medicaid.

Courtesy photo

Community Medical Center in Missoula announced today that it has reached an agreement to sell its assets for 67-million-dollars. The 151-bed hospital is selling to a partnership between Billings Clinic and a Tennessee-based hospital management firm.

The agreement, if approved by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, would transform Community Medical from a not-for-profit corporation into a for-profit hospital.

John Barnes, a spokesman for the attorney general, explains why his office is involved.