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state budget

Mental health services.
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Organizations that provide care for people with mental health problems in Montana say they’ve reached an agreement with the state health department to redesign a big portion of the system they work in. 

Tom Livers, has been named as Montana's new state budget director.
MontanaDEQ

Governor Steve Bullock named a new state budget director Thursday. Bullock is tapping the current head of the Department of Environmental Quality for the job as the state’s top accountant.

Health officials have now confirmed 92 whooping cough cases in the Missoula area.
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Pieces of the state budget that fell apart over the last year and a half are starting to get put back together. Last week, Governor Steve Bullock released a plan that outlined $45 million in budget restorations now that the state has collected more revenue than was forecast last year.

Most of the restorations are going to the state health department, which took the biggest budget cuts in January and reduced services for the poor, elderly and disabled.

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio


More than $45 million of the state budget will be restored under a plan by Governor Steve Bullock. It will unwind budget cuts enacted over the last year that have devastated parts of Montana's health care community.

Many of Montana’s poorest and most vulnerable people — and the health care providers who serve them — are anxiously awaiting news from Governor Steve Bullock this week. Bullock is expected to release his plan to restore some funding to health programs for the state’s poor and disabled that have been devastated by budget cuts over the last year.

MTPR Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney is here now to talk about the upcoming announcement.

More details on Governor Steve Bullock’s plan to restore parts of the state budget are expected this week.

On Tuesday, the state health department says it will issue a new rule that will restore a nearly 3 percent cut to how much it pays doctors, clinics and other health care providers who see Medicaid patients, retroactive to July 1 of this year. That’s two months ahead of when the department initially said providers could expect that rate restoration.

Corin Cates-Carney

State budget director Dan Villa will leave that position in about five weeks to become the next executive director of the Montana Board of Investments.

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.

State Budget Director Dan Villa and State Health Department Director Sheila Hogan hear input on how to allocate $45 million in restored state funding at a listening session in Helena, MT August 1, 2018.
Eric Whitney / MTPR

"This has been a very difficult year," says Sheila Hogan, director of Montana's state health department.

She was talking to hundreds of people online and in a hotel ballroom in Helena who were not shy about telling her just how tough their year has been. They were people impacted by a nearly three percent cut in payments to people and organizations that help Montanans on Medicaid.

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.

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