Journalists Recap Coverage of the Ongoing Pandemic and Lead Risks in Schools’ Drinking Water
KHN and California Healthline staff made the rounds on national and local media this week to discuss their stories. Here’s a collection of their appearances.
Montana Is Sending Troubled Kids to Out-of-State Programs That Have Been Accused of Abuse
State health officials are using Medicaid funds to send children in their care to treatment programs in states with less stringent regulations, including programs accused of abuse and mistreatment.
Patients With Vulnerable Immune Systems Worry Vaccine Exemptions May Put Them in Peril
Montana’s governor pushed the state’s health workers to seek religious exemptions to a federal mandate to be vaccinated against covid, but the number who have done so is unknown.
Long Waits for Montana State Hospital Leave Psychiatric Patients in Jail
A backlog at Montana’s psychiatric hospital for those facing criminal charges has left people with serious mental illness behind bars for months without adequate treatment. In some cases, judges have freed defendants over due-process violations.
Two Years In, Covid Leaves Montana Public Health Officials Feeling ‘Watched’
Montanans engage in plenty of spirited political disagreements. But debates about covid-19, public health, and personal liberties have reached a fever pitch, tugging at tightknit towns and making some residents wonder how their communities will survive.
Dangerous Levels of Lead Were Found in the Water of About Half the Schools Tested in Montana
Officials testing water found high lead levels in more than 100 of the state’s nearly 600 school buildings. But as of mid-February, half the state’s schools had yet to provide samples.
Covid Aid to Protect Montana Prisons and Jails Sits Unused
Montana has yet to start spending nearly $2.5 million in federal aid to boost covid detection and mitigation in the state’s prison and jails.
State Constitutions Vex Conservatives’ Strategies for a Post-Roe World
Conservative lawmakers may find their anti-abortion agendas complicated by state constitutions that explicitly grant citizens the right to privacy, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court does.
Don’t Nurse That Moscow Mule — It Could Be a Health Hazard
Researchers in Montana have found that unsafe levels of copper can leach into the cocktail in less than half an hour.
Cuidado con este cóctel, puede ser peligroso para la salud
El Moscow Mule se toma en una jarra de cobre, lo que lo vuelve fascinante, y tal vez peligroso.
Montana Mice May Hold the Secret to Virus Spillover
Researchers in Montana are working to figure out how climate change and biodiversity affect viruses’ jump from animals to people.
Skirmish Between Biden and Red States Over Medicaid Leaves Enrollees in the Balance
The Biden administration is getting rid of several policies implemented by Trump-era appointees that restricted enrollment. Federal officials now say states can no longer charge premiums to low-income residents enrolled in Medicaid and have ruled out work requirements.
States Were Sharing Covid Test Kits. Then Omicron Hit.
The omicron variant upended a system in which states shared rapid covid tests with those that needed them more. Cooperation has turned into competition as states run out of supplies, limit which organizations get them, or hold on to expired kits as a last resort.
State Laws Aim to Regulate ‘Troubled Teen Industry,’ but Loopholes Remain
Without a federal law governing private, for-profit residential programs for children with behavioral problems, regulation has been left to the states. But even in states that have sought to increase oversight, deaths and controversial tactics such as seclusion still happen.
‘Heart’ of Little Shell: Newest Federally Recognized Tribe to Open First Clinic
The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana plans to open the nation’s newest Indian Health Service clinic in Great Falls on Jan. 31 — marking the first time the tribe will have its culture reflected in health care offerings.
Hospitals Recruit International Nurses to Fill Pandemic Shortages
Montana’s largest hospital recently signed employment contracts with two dozen foreign nurses. Nationwide, a backlog of 5,000 international nurses await approval to enter the U.S.
Medical Marijuana Users Brace for Shortages as Montana’s Recreational Market Opens
Sales of recreational marijuana are underway, and dispensary owners say they’re not ready to meet the demand. That may mean problems for the 55,000 Montanans who hold medical marijuana cards.
Some Groups Are Left Out of Montana Covid Test Giveaway Program
Public health officials and policymakers alike see rapid antigen tests as a strong tool to keep businesses open and parents working. But a look at Montana’s distribution of the tests shows a patchwork system with limited access for many.
Local Pharmacists Fill Rx Void as Big Brands Pull Out of Rural Areas
Stores like Walmart and Shopko opened pharmacies in small towns, either buying out the local pharmacy or driving it out of business. What happens when those chains later withdraw, leaving communities with no pharmacy?
Covid Shots for Kids Are Scarce — And Demand Is Mixed — In Rural Montana
Although covid vaccines have been available to children as young as 5 for more than a month, they’re not being offered in some rural Montana counties, and parents don’t know where to find them in others.