While many businesses scaled back at the height of the pandemic, one Montana man used covid-19 to open his own mobile pharmacy. He’s now bringing covid shots to Montana’s vaccine deserts while filling his wallet. But he cannot fill all the vaccination gaps.
Amid a surge in covid-19 cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant, nearly 1,500 health systems across the nation are requiring their employees to get vaccinated. In Montana and Oregon, that’s not an option.
Each year, people in pain travel to Montana and pay to sit amid radon gas, which is pitched as therapy for a long list of health issues. While low-dose radiation therapy is getting another look amid the pandemic, experts say that treatment is different than sitting in a tunnel of radioactive gas.
In an ongoing effort to control prescription drug costs, states are targeting the companies that mediate deals among drug manufacturers, health insurers and pharmacies. The pharmacy benefit managers say they negotiate lower prices for patients, yet the nitty-gritty occurs largely behind a curtain that lawmakers are trying to pull back.
More communities are creating teams of health care providers to respond to mental health crises instead of cops, a shift propelled by nationwide demonstrations against police brutality. But the shapes of those mobile crisis response teams vary because the movement is still in an experimental stage.
Of the three covid vaccines the U.S. government has authorized, only one is available to 16- and 17-year-olds: the Pfizer shot. It’s also the most complicated to manage in rural settings, with their small, dispersed populations. That forces some teens and their families to travel long distances for a dose — or go without.
Access to physician-assisted death is expanding across the U.S., but the procedure remains in Montana’s legal gray zone more than a decade after the state Supreme Court ruled physicians could use a dying patient’s consent as a defense.
Montana’s pick for health director has garnered both praise and criticism for his past in Kentucky, where he sought to add work requirements to the state’s Medicaid program and was a top health official amid a hepatitis A outbreak.
Montana is one of the latest states looking to aggressively check welfare eligibility to cut costs. Supporters of such steps say it’s about what’s fair — weeding out those who don’t qualify for assistance — while opponents say it will cut loose enrollees who actually need help.
As the newest federally recognized tribe, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana is starting from scratch to deliver health care to members. While covid-19 has been devastating, it has sped up the tribe’s ability to build a clinic. Yet, lacking a reservation, the tribe faces challenges reaching its scattered members.