MTPR

Montana Healthcare Foundation

Job Service officies statewide, like this one in Kalispell, are offering special help to new Medicaid recipients
Eric Whitney

Medicaid expansion barely passed Montana's Legislature last year. One of the reasons it was able to get enough Republican votes is because it included a component to encourage Medicaid recipients to get jobs, or better-paying jobs, so they could get off of Medicaid and buy their own health insurance.

Tuesday afternoon, a legislative oversight committee is taking a look at how that work component is going.

(PD)

Half a dozen health care systems in Montana are sharing more than $700,000 in grants to make mental or behavioral health care easier to get.

The Montana Healthcare Foundation says it's making the grants to support better healthcare for people who have a combination of medical problems and mental illness and/or addiction. It plans to award more than $3 million to the initiative over the next two years.

Recruiters representing over 70 employers from across the region visited the University of Montana this week.
Alyssa Grant (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

Hospitals and clinics across Montana have long had a hard time recruiting doctors and nurses to serve the state’s needs. That can be true of other healthcare professions, too, like therapists, pharmacists and technicians. A new analysis this year says demand for healthcare workers in Montana is going to grow by 40 percent in the next 10 years.

Christopher Ebdon (CC-BY-NC-2)

In a big, rural state like Montana, medical care is often far away. And because most hospitals here are small, people who experience serious trauma or need specialty care often have to fly to get it. The cost of that service is really expensive, and sometimes it isn't covered by health insurance.

In 2013, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Montana, then a not-for-profit corporation, was sold to Health Care Services Corp, a Chicago-based insurance company. Under state law, the sale assets were transferred to a charitable trust, the Montana Healthcare Foundation, to be managed for the public benefit. To date, the MHCF has roughly $80 million in assets.

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