MTPR

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

The Sunburst office in Eureka
sunburstfoundation.org

The state health department is figuring out how to restore funding to health care providers who take Medicaid, but it may be too late for people in Libby and Eureka who need help with mental health.

"I don’t think we’ll be able to keep those offices open," Megan Bailey, a therapist with Sunburst Mental Health told a legislative committee Monday.

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.

Headframe of the Original Mine in Butte, MT.
Nora Saks

The Environmental Protection Agency is about to launch its second study of public health concerns related to Butte’s Superfund sites. But When locals found out the scope of the plan at a public meeting Tuesday, some were disappointed.

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.

Uptown Butte, MT.
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

A new Superfund health study is getting underway in Butte, and this week there’s a chance for the public to learn more about it and weigh in.

David Dorian, an environmental health specialist with ATSDR, discusses a new exposure investigation at a public meeting at Anaconda High School. July 11, 2018.
Nora Saks

A federal public health agency is starting a new investigation to find out if contaminants left behind from a century of copper smelting in Anaconda still pose a risk to human health.

The study was announced Wednesday at Anaconda High School in front of a crowd of about 40 residents, and will be trying to answer the question, "Are exposures to arsenic and lead at levels currently that could adversely affect people’s health?"

Sheila Hogan is director of Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services.
State of Montana

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The head of the state health department says child protection workers in Billings are facing "crisis level caseloads" leading the Division of Child and Family Services to decide to close its Livingston office and move that office's caseworker jobs to Billings.

Anaconda smelter stack as seen in 2007.
(PD)

This week, federal, state and local public health officials will be in Anaconda to update residents on their plan for studying health concerns related to the Anaconda Smelter Superfund site.

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