MTPR

Medicaid

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.

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

Now that improved state revenues mean that more than $45 million is being restored to state agencies, the directors for the state budget and health departments are meeting with health care providers to talk specifics.

Montana Health Providers Cheer Budget Restorations, But Say Damage Is Done

Jul 26, 2018

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana health service organizations that eliminated staff and services amid state budget cuts cheered Thursday after Gov. Steve Bullock announced that funding will be partially restored, but they say that long-term damage already has been done.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock and Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney talk with reporters in the Capitol about restoring funding for some state budget cuts, July 25, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney

Governor Steve Bullock says state agencies will soon see some of the more than $70 million in state budget cuts made during last November’s special session restored, because state revenues have bounced back.

“As we close the fiscal year we find that we’ll have the ability to put about $45 million to restore some of the cuts that occurred,” Bullock said.

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.

PD.

The committee that oversees Montana’s Medicaid expansion is expected to recommend that it continue beyond its 2019 sunset date.

A draft document released Friday suggests expansion has helped nine percent more adults who are eligible for Medicaid join the workforce in Montana. It also says six percent more of Medicaid eligible adults with disabilities are joining the workforce.

Montana lawmakers voted to expand Medicaid here in 2015 in part because the bill doing so included incentives to help those receiving the health coverage to get jobs, or better paying jobs.

A vote count released Monday morning on the proposed special session of the Montana Legislature shows the call is not possible without votes from both sides of the aisle.

Republicans are so divided on the proposed special session that it won’t happen without support from the Democratic minority.

Suicide rates rose across the U.S. from 1999 to 2016.
Centers for Disease Control

The suicide rate in Montana is more than twice the national average, that’s according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among the counties with the highest suicide rate in Montana is Butte/Silver Bow. Karen Sullivan is the Health Officer for Butte Silver Bow. MTPR's Beau Baker spoke with Sullivan about why suicide rates are so high in Montana.

Feds Investigating Kalispell Hospital Over Doctor Pay

Jun 20, 2018
(PD)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Kalispell Regional Healthcare is under federal investigation over "compensation to certain physicians" and recently told employees it has set aside $21.5 million for a potential settlement.

Hospital spokeswoman Mellody Sharpton told the Flathead Beacon she couldn't provide details on the allegations, but the hospital denies any wrongdoing.

Montana Notifying Medicaid Providers Of Temporary Rate Hike

Jun 18, 2018
Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's administration is complying with a judge's order to temporarily reinstate previous Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities but will staunchly defend the rate cut made by the state health department, the governor's budget director said Monday.

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