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Montana Vows Changes To Avoid Delayed Contracts; Some Providers Await Back Pay

The head of Montana’s health department said the agency is catching up on a months-long backlog of contracts with organizations that connect people to medical care that left organizations without pay, halted some services, and triggered job cuts.

By Katheryn Houghton | KFF Health News

The head of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services said the agency has nearly cleared its backlog of incomplete contracts that risked people’s access to health services.

Even so, some organizations say the state still owes them tens of thousands of dollars for services already provided.

Director Charlie Brereton told state lawmakers during a Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee meeting on Jan. 18 that the agency had nearly finished finalizing overdue contracts with organizations that provide public health services.

“We’ve been working around the clock throughout the fall and the winter to address the issue and hope that it never happens again,” Brereton said.

Brereton’s comments to lawmakers came after several state health contractors, including county health depart...