Montana Public Radio

Rich Rasmussen

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade

Last week, several Montana hospitals were graded on patient outcomes and safety measures by the nonprofit group Leapfrog. Most hospitals scored well, but other Leapfrog grades show room for improvement.

Marilyn Bartlett might be the closest thing health policy has to a folk hero. A certified public accountant who barely tops five feet, Bartlett bears zero resemblance to Paul Bunyan. But she did take an ax to Montana’s hospital prices in 2016, stopping the state’s employee health plan from bleeding money.

“Marilyn is not a physically imposing person,” said Montana Board of Investments Executive Director Dan Villa, who worked closely with Bartlett in state government. “She is a blend of your favorite aunt, an accounting savant and a little bit of July Fourth fireworks.”

Montana’s Mask Mandate In Doubt With Incoming Governor

Dec 21, 2020
State Capitol, Helena
Jacob Baynham / Community News Service, UM School of Journalism

HELENA, Mont. — Incoming Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signaled he won’t continue a statewide mask mandate in place since July, though he said he plans to wear a mask himself and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s rural critical access hospitals are struggling as COVID-19 patients fill beds and strain staffing resources. Larger hospitals are at times unable to take patients.

Hospital monitor.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Hospital Association says it fully supports the Bullock administration’s phased-in approach to rebooting the state’s economy. The hospitals represented by the association are now outlining their plans to resume elective surgical procedures.

The novel coronavirus.
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention

There are currently no reported cases of the new coronavirus in Montana. This, however, may only be temporary. State public health officials say they’re preparing for the worst.