Matt Volz

Matt Volz

State reconsiders religious exemptions for vaccinations in child care

By: - November 11, 2023

More than half the children who attend Munchkin Land Daycare near Billings, Montana, have special needs or compromised immune systems. The kids, who range in age from 4 months to 9 years, have conditions that include fetal alcohol syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and Down syndrome, according to owner Sheryl Hutzenbiler. “These families came to me knowing […]

More states to consider postpartum coverage to beyond two months

By: - December 11, 2022

Lawmakers in several conservative-led states — including Montana, Wyoming, Missouri, and Mississippi — are expected to consider proposals to provide a year of continuous health coverage to new mothers enrolled in Medicaid. Medicaid beneficiaries nationwide are guaranteed continuous postpartum coverage during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. But momentum has been building for states to […]

5 things to know about Montana’s ‘born alive’ ballot initiative

By: - October 23, 2022

Montana voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to approve a ballot initiative declaring that an embryo or fetus is a legal person with a right to medical care if it survives an abortion or delivery. The measure would impose severe penalties on health workers who don’t provide that care. Legislative Referendum 131 was approved for […]

Montana DPHHS seeks to ax board that hears public assistance appeals

By: - September 18, 2022

Montana health officials are asking state lawmakers to eliminate a board that hears appeals from people who believe they were wrongly denied public assistance benefits. Since 2016, the Board of Public Assistance has heard fewer than 20 cases a year, and very few of those are overturned, but preparing for those appeals and board meetings […]

Hospitals refused to give Ivermectin. Lockdowns and political pressure followed.

By: - December 4, 2021

HELENA, Mont. — One Montana hospital went into lockdown and called police after a woman threatened violence because her relative was denied her request to be treated with ivermectin. Officials of another Montana hospital accused public officials of threatening and harassing their health care workers for refusing to treat a politically connected COVID-19 patient with […]


The COVID cocoon: Parents may not be alright (but help may be coming)

By: - October 9, 2021

HELENA — My unvaccinated 7-year-old son began hacking and sneezing in late September as the hospitals in our home state of Montana started buckling under the latest COVID surge. I took him to get tested when his symptoms wouldn’t go away. The cotton swab went up his nostrils and Thomas bucked out of my lap […]

5 things to know about healthcare changes in Montana

By: - May 7, 2021

The 2021 Montana legislative session will be remembered as one of the state’s most consequential as a Republican-led legislature and governor’s office passed new laws restricting abortions, lowering taxes and regulating marijuana. But the debate over those and other highly publicized issues may have caused other meaningful legislation related to health care to slip off […]

Out-of-state telehealth threatens in-state providers

By: - March 15, 2021

When the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation began offering telehealth services in Montana in early February, the nation’s largest nonprofit addiction treatment provider promised quality care for far-flung residents without their even having to leave home. That promise was what Montana and more than 40 other states had in mind when they temporarily relaxed rules restricting […]

As mental health demand soars, states prepare to cut services

By: - February 13, 2021

HELENA, Mont. — When the pandemic hit, health officials in Montana’s Beaverhead County had barely begun to fill a hole left by the 2017 closure of the local public assistance office, mental health clinic, chemical dependency center and job placement office after the state’s last budget shortfall. Now, those health officials worry more cuts are […]