Montana Public Radio

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

DPHHS unveils new state health initiative

Jun 20, 2013
Dan Boyce

Gov. Steve Bullock announced a new initiative Thursday to improve health outcomes in the state. The plan, called “Big Sky. New Horizons. A Healthier Montana” outlines a series of strategies to address some of the state’s biggest health and safety concerns, like smoking and motor vehicle fatalities.

“When it comes to healthcare, we will, we have and will continue to have grand policy debates about who pays and how much they should pay,” Bullock said, “but what we shouldn’t lose sight of is there’s so much we can do.”

Providers of general care for the developmentally disabled are asking the public to speak out against a plan from the state Department of Public Health and Human Services to alter an increase in Medicaid dollars for raises.

DPHHS is proposing to take two-percent of a total four-percent increase in rates for these providers and distribute that money in other ways than just an equal raise to all providers. DPHHS Director Richard Opper says this could include putting in place ‘performance measures’ to give higher raises to facilities operating more successfully.

Health officials are considering changes to the way the state operates Medicaid.

The 2013 Legislature approved rate increases to providers of Medicaid—the government health service for the poor.

Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce says stakeholders are applauding some of the changes, but suppliers of medical equipment see a big problem.

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