DPHHS director and health officials discuss Medicaid importance in MT

Posted at 3:40 PM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 23:49:29-05

GREAT FALLS – Friday morning, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Director Sheila Hogan and several Great Falls health officials sat down to talk about the importance of Medicaid expansion in the state.

The event followed Governor Steve Bullock’s final State of the State address, where one of his top priorities included continuing Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid expansion is a $600 million-a-year program that provides health coverage to 95,000 Montana adults.

Bullock spent several minutes talking about the economic and social benefits of Medicaid.

At the roundtable discussion, DPPS Director Sheila Hogan shared information about the agency’s new website dashboard that offers information about the health benefits and local impacts of Medicaid expansion.

The dashboard offers a county-by-county breakdown of how local residents in each county are accessing various health services through Medicaid. Some examples include: primary health care visits, cancer screenings and diabetes diagnosis.

In Cascade County about 9 percent of the population is enrolled in Medicaid expansion.

Since the program first launched, Cascade County residents have accessed over 7,600 preventive services, including nearly over 2,500 mental health outpatient services, 900 breast cancer screenings and 600 colon cancer screenings.

You can see other counties numbers here.

Hogan also had the opportunity to hear from local health officials and the benefits they have seen from Medicaid expansion.

Dr. Geyer, whose specialty is in infectious diseases, talked about seeing a huge decline in amputations of feet as a result of diabetes due to Medicaid. People are able to now get diagnosed faster with the help of Medicaid.

Hogan mentioned the legislative session and that she hopes nothing with Medicaid expansion changes.

“Let’s just continue this program that has proven to be very, very successful.”

Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News