Montana Public Radio

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

A gloved hand swabs a person's arm, prepping it for a shot.
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Montana lawmakers are considering bills to expand who is eligible for vaccine-mandate exemptions in workplaces and schools.

An updated count of vaccine uptake in Montana's vulnerable settings shows about 70% of residents in long-term care and assisted-living facilities have opted to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Older Montanans have been especially hard-hit by the virus.

State health officials are dropping lawsuits against five Flathead County businesses. Under former Gov. Steve Bullock the state alleged the bars, restaurants and convenience stores flouted state COVID-19 directives. The reversal comes at the direction of Gov. Greg Gianforte.

A Teton County Public Health nurse gives EMS worker Sherwin Smith his COVID-19 vaccine in Choteau on Jan. 8, 2021.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

COVID-19 vaccination efforts in counties across the state are shifting from health care workers to  community members. Limited supply has been a problem, but some counties say it's the unpredictability of that supply that’s the real barrier to carrying out plans to vaccinate the public.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte Monday said directors nominated to lead 12 state agencies will receive an average salary increase of 20 percent over their predecessors. Funding for the pay increases will come from their respective departments.

“Montana’s pay for agency directors has been among the worst in our region and country," Gianforte said in a press release. "We’re looking for folks who can make our state agencies more responsive to the people they serve and more responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars."

Adam Meier, Montana's newly-appointed DPHHS director (Jan. 2021)
State of Montana Newsroom

Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced on Wednesday his pick for state health department director.

Gianforte tapped Adam Meier to lead the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, which manages Child Protective Services, the state Medicaid program and various other programs for low-income Montanans.

Montana lawmakers have set the first rough outline for state health department spending at about a billion dollars less than the agency’s current budget. A party line vote Friday set the initial base spending for budget negotiations. 

A gloved hand swabs a person's arm, prepping it for a shot.
iStock

Jess Sheldahl: For YPR News, I'm Jess Sheldahl. Details about who will next receive the covid-19 vaccine in Montana and when are emerging, nearly 17,000 health care personnel in the state have received the first dose of the vaccine so far. Here to share what we know and still don't know about the rollout are Montana Public Radio's Aaron Bolton and Yellowstone Public Radio News’ is Nicky Ouellet Nicky Ouellet.

 

  

A syringe in a container labeled COVID-19 vaccine.
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Montana on Wednesday released an updated COVID-19 vaccine plan that incorporates new federal guidance on how shots will be distributed to critical groups into next summer.


Nurse in a mask sitting, looking tired.
iStock

More Montana public health workers are quitting their jobs as they face mounting stress, and in some cases, threats, because of their work during the pandemic. The loss of experience could complicate the work of health departments now and in the future.

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