Montana Public Radio

Montana Nurses Association

Nurse working in a hospital / iStock

The Montana Nurses Association and St. Peter's Health based in Helena have ratified a collective bargaining contract for more than 300 nurses in the area. 

Just stay home. That’s what the Montana Nurses Association is asking Montanans to do for the next few weeks as coronavirus cases continue to surge and strain the state’s health care system. YPR News’ Nicky Ouellet spoke with MNA Chief Executive Officer Vicky Byrd over Zoom about the mitigation efforts they’re asking the public and elected officials to take now to save lives.

Nicky Ouellet: Vicky, thanks so much for taking time to chat with me today.

Vicky Byrd: Thanks for having me.

The Montana Nurses Association implored state lawmakers in a letter to heed public health guidance as they plan for the 2021 legislative session. It’s unclear how or if lawmakers will change their traditional gatherings amid the pandemic. 


Public health officials say personal protective equipment like face coverings and masks are going to play an important role in slowing the spread of the coronavirus as Montana makes its first steps toward reopening.

Homemade masks made by volunteers and businesses across the state have lessened the strain on supply chains for the N95 respirator masks health care workers need.

Health care worker holding a clipboard.
iStock

The Montana Nurses Association says it’s time for bold measures to defend against the growing COVID-19 crisis. The organization’s CEO, Vicky Byrd, penned an open letter to Gov. Steve Bullock Friday asking him to order Montanans to stay home. The group also wants the state to close all non-essential businesses until further notice.

Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Courtesy Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare says the Montana Nurses Association released “blatantly false information” when it announced Wednesday it was filing charges against Kalispell Regional for allegedly violating federal worker rights laws.

Officials say it could take more than a year to add new "community engagement" requirements to the state’s Medicaid expansion.
iStock

The Montana Nurses Association filed charges against Kalispell Regional Healthcare Wednesday for allegedly violating federal worker rights laws.

According to a press release from the nurses' group, Kalispell Regional interfered with employee rights to form a nurses union, in breach of the National Labor Relations Act.

Laura Terrill, with Planned Parenthood of Montana, and John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis Health Systems were among the panelists critical of Senate health care bill in Helena Thursday July, 6.
Eric Whitney

Leaders of Montana doctors, nurses and hospital groups today spoke out against the health care bill being proposed by Senate Republicans.

John Goodnow is the CEO of Benefis, Montana's second largest hospital system, based in Great Falls. And he's no fan of the health care bill the House passed in May. Nor does he like the Senate's proposed changes to it.

Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, MT.
Eric Whitney

Nurses, hospitals and other health care providers are holding a public forum on the proposed Senate health care bill Thursday, July 6 in Helena. It’s being put on by the Montana Nurses Association.

Nurses across Montana campaign to prevent workplace violence for healthcare workers and emergency responders.
Courtesy

For nearly two hours this morning, lawmakers in Helena listened to testimony and debated the consequences of a bill that could change the penalties for attacking a healthcare worker. The bill James O’Hara introduced to the House Judiciary committee is 28 lines long, less than a page.  

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