Judge temporarily blocks Montana Medicaid provider cuts

State capital building in Helena. (FILE photo)

A Helena judge has ordered Montana health officials to temporarily reinstate last year's Medicaid reimbursement rates to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

The temporary restraining order issued Wednesday by District Judge James Reynolds comes in a lawsuit by the Montana Health Care Association and six companies that own nursing facilities that challenges the health department's decision to cut those reimbursement rates.

In January, the state Department of Public Health and Human Services reduced the reimbursements to nursing homes and other organizations that provide services to Medicaid patients as part of spending cuts across state government.

The lawsuit accuses health officials of making the cuts without providing a reasonable explanation of why they're necessary and without adequate public input.

Reynolds set a court hearing for July 11.

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