Health and human services at the legislative halftime
Health and human services topics spread to nearly every corner of the state Capitol during the first half of the 68th Legislature. Lawmakers have advanced and sidelined bills influencing the future of Medicaid, abortion, and child welfare. Here’s where things stand at the Legislature’s midpoint.
Latest health Reporting
Montana seeks to insulate nursing homes from future financial crises
Lawmakers are trying to reduce the risk of more nursing home closures through measures that would raise and set standards for the Medicaid reimbursement rates that nursing homes depend on for their operations.
Billings, Kalispell hospitals explore potential merger
Officials said they had signed a “non-binding letter of intent” to explore the unification of the two systems. If everything goes according to plan, a definitive agreement would be in hand by this spring and the merger could be approved by the Federal Trade Commission this summer.
Montana considers allowing physician assistants to practice independently
As Montana grapples with a health care provider shortage, state lawmakers are trying to find ways to increase access to care. One proposal up for debate is to give physician assistants more independence to practice unsupervised. Republican Rep. Jodee Etchart is sponsoring House Bill 313, which would let physician assistants practice without a supervision agreement.
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MORE HEALTH COVERAGE
Pulsar # por Español
El laboratorio fue construido por la profesora asistente Dra. Sally Moyce, y incluye un equipo interdisciplinario de investigadores trabajando por luchar contra las disparidades de salud en la comunidad latina de Gallatin County, una población que ha crecido muchísimo en los últimos años.
Push # for Spanish
The lab was created by assistant professor Dr. Sally Moyce and includes an interdisciplinary group of researchers working to address health disparities in the Latino community in Gallatin County, a population that has increased dramatically in recent years.
Montana’s tax-exempt hospitals oppose increased oversight by state officials
As Montana officials seek to make nonprofit hospitals prove the benefits they provide the community justify their tax exemptions, industry leaders propose their own changes — which state officials say would further limit the state’s authority.
Montana pharmacists may get more power to prescribe
Supporters of Senate Bill 112 say the measure could help fill health care gaps in rural areas in particular, while opponents worry it would give pharmacists physician-like authority without the same education.
Montana proposes restricting Medicaid-funded abortions
Montana officials are looking to tighten rules around medically necessary abortions for those who use Medicaid as their health insurance. Reproductive health advocates and Democratic lawmakers have said the move is part of a broader agenda to whittle away access to the procedure.
License to heal
Proposals before state lawmakers aim to make it easier for professionals with out-of-state licenses to work in Montana, but they likely won’t be enough to fill the demand for mental health providers.
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