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Affordable Care Act Implementation Money Flows to 17 Montana Health Centers

Kathleen Sebelius
Photo courtesy of US Mission Geneva/Flickr

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced this week, May 9, that $1,474,935 worth of federal dollars would be pouring into Montana.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after Senator Max Baucus chastised Sebelius over his concerns that enough information wasn’t getting to the public about the exchanges.

The money will go to seventeen locations across the state. Partnership Health Center in Missoula will be getting some of that money. Director Kim Manch has details about the funds which a DPHHS press release says are intended to “help uninsured individuals gain affordable health insurance coverage.”

“For the actual outreach and enrollment we are looking at probably $128, 000 dollars,” said Manch speaking on behalf of Partnership Health. “There’s also some additional funds of about $40,000 that are going to be utilized to ensure that our community health center based funding remains solvent.”

Manch says that they must use some of the money to hire at least one full time employee and that most likely three will be hired. She says it is unclear exactly how the money will be spent at this point, but it is intended to help get those in the public who qualify for insurance through the new exchanges get into the program.

However, there is a bit of a hang up when it comes to medicaid in Montana.

“Unfortunately, since medicaid expansion did not come to Montana like we had all hoped, we will educate on the existing medicaid benefits but will not be able to enroll people in the expanded plan of course, because it is non-existent,” Manch said

That means that the new money flowing into Montana will go partly towards educating and enrolling the public into traditional medicaid programs. The Affordable Care Act’s exchanges are scheduled to be opened in October.

Partnership Health Center Director Kim Manch

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