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    The Latest: State hears ideas for funding restoration

    August 1, 2018

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on a listening session about restoration of some health department budget cuts (all times local):

    3:35 p.m.

    Health care providers and others made their case for how the state should restore about $30.5 million in funding to the health department.

    The agency plans to reverse Medicaid provider rate cuts starting on Sept. 1, which will account for about $4 million of that.

    Director Sheila Hogan and budget director Dan Villa were urged Wednesday to restore funding to services that save money by reducing spending on more acute services.

    Commenters said cuts made in the face of a projected budget deficit gutted services that allowed people with physical and mental disabilities to remain in their communities and work, and caused the state to lose some providers.

    Others argued for restoring funding for mental health and chemical dependency treatment, case management and home support services for struggling families.

    Some of the restored money will qualify for federal matching funds.

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    10 a.m.

    Gov. Steve Bullock’s budget director and health director are meeting with health and human service providers as they decide where to restore millions of dollars in funding that had been cut to fill a budget shortfall.

    The meeting with providers is happening Wednesday, a month before Bullock’s administration decides how to allocate its portion of the $45 million going back to agencies under the governor’s control because of higher-than-expected revenues.

    That money will be divided among 21 state agencies identified during last fall’s special legislative session.

    The Office of Public Instruction, which is not under the governor’s control, will receive $1.1 million. Spokesman Dylan Klapmeier says that’s a small amount compared to the nearly $31 million cut by the agency.

    That $1.1 million will go toward special education, career and technical programs and to fill vacancies.

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