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Department of Public Health & Human Services

March 1999

Legislature Directs New MHAP Course

Montana's Mental Health Access Plan in the past month
has attracted a whirlwind of legislative action aimed at
refocusing the system away from Magellan Health
Services to region-based programs.

As you read this, DPHHS employees are working full
time to develop transition plans that will assure
uninterrupted mental health services, claims processing
and payment.

"This is our priority," DPHHS Director Laurie Ekanger
said. "Consumers will be served, claims will be
processed, and payments will be made under any new
system and up until we get there."

Along with regularly informing Governor Marc Racicot,
legislative leaders and parties interested in the mental
health program, DPHHS has also taken several steps to
keep the general public informed.

A one-page summary guide is available that outlines
present work plans, and a mental health program news
bulletin has evolved; the first edition was printed March
12. Both items are available on the DPHHS website
( ) under the "Hot Issues" selection, or
call 444-9772 to have a copy mailed.

In addition, the department encourages the public to
attend two statewide teleconferences via the MetNet.
The first is March 17 from 9 to 11 a.m., and the second
April 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. These teleconferences will
enable the Mental Health Oversight Committee to share
new information as well as listen to ideas from a
statewide audience. The teleconference will be broadcast
from the DPHHS Auditorium in Helena to Glendive,
Glasgow, Culbertson (March 17 only). Butte, Dillon,
Warm Springs, Havre, Great Falls, Sidney (April 19 only).
Miles City, Kalispell, Billings, Missoula and Bozeman. For
more information, call 444-2596.

"We expect to achieve a stronger mental health system,"
Ekanger said. "We will provide accurate, timely
information and look forward to much public



National Nutrition Month
Social Work Month

March 17

Mental Health MetNet
9-11 a.m.

Statewide locations
Contact: Ken Pekoe 444-2596

March 17

Brown Bag Lunch

Noon to 1 p.m.

Cogswell C307

Sherry Spence Presenter

"Maternal and Infant Indices"

March 24

IDEA Project Data Meeting
1 to 4 p.m.
Cogswell C209B
Contact; Sib Clack 444-9527

April 2

Legislative Update via MetNet
1:30-2:30 p.m.
Statewide locations
Contact: Ken Pekoe 444-2596

April 4

Daylight-Saving Time
"Spring Fonward" one hour

April 19

Mental Health MetNet

1-3 p.m.

Statewide locations

Contact: Ken Pekoe 444-2596

April 30

Legislative MetNet Wrap Up
1:30-2:30 p.m.
Statewide locations
Contact: Ken Pekoe 444-2596

A Message From the Director: Lively Times!

Laurie Ekanger
DPHHS Director

These past few weeks have
been very lively times indeed!

Budget: As of this writing,
our Department budget in HB2
is being prepared for debate by
the full House of Representa-
tives. Overall, you can be very
proud, as I am, of the profes-
sionalism our divisions put into
presenting our budget. We
have also been blessed with a

very knowledgeable and hardworking legislative

appropriations subcommittee.

There are a few disappointing budget areas
that we are working to reinstate, chiefly:

• The Child Support Enforcement Division
budget was cut by the full House
Appropriations Committee (not the
subcommittee) by an unsustainable amount
(13 percent).

• Funding for subsidized adoption is

• Executive proposal for HIV/AIDS drugs is
still unfunded.

• Language was added that could inadvertently
cripple our ability to expand community
services for the developmentally disabled and
the mentally ill.

Mental Health: Well, every time we think we've
turned a corner with this program, we're right!
But there always seems to be some major new
challenge waiting around the turn! As late as
December, we were hearing consistent feedback
— from our independent consultants and
evaluators, providers and consumers — that this

program was beginning to stabilize. However, as
you've probably read or heard, once the
Legislature convened, lobbyists for various
stakeholders became very united in their desire
to bring about an immediate end to the
statewide contract. "Magellan" has evolved to
symbolize an evil of almost mythical proportions,
and the contract is ending.

Our goal is to make this change successful for
the many, many people throughout the state,
especially consumers, who devote their lives to
improving Montanans' mental health. We have
learned much. We will do absolutely
everything necessary to continue services
during this challenging transition. We are
confident we can do so. A story on Page 1
summarizes what's next for Montana's mental
health system.

Fifty is Nifty: On a personal note, I turned
50 on March 4 and saw a cartoon in
Newsweek that showed people on the street
surrounded by advertisements for aging
products. The cartoon observed that someone
turns 50 every 10 seconds. So I feel right at
home. In fact, I look forward to commanding
a whole new level of authority and respect
from my children. I also feel comforted
knowing that our Senior and Long Term Care
Division is actively planning for when I, and
many thousands of my contemporaries, turn
65. A new report, "The State of Aging in
Montana", paves the way for successfully
adapting Montana to an aging population.
It's on my list of top 10 publications. A
summary of the report will be printed in April;
contact Kim Dannels at 444-7783 for a copy.

'L' of a Birthday

DPHHS Director Laurie Ekanger got the last
laugh when she turned Von March 4 (she
says she hates seeing the numbers 5-0).
Employees in Helena had planned to
surprise her with a roomful of people, but
instead she provided the shock by "masking"
. . . her age.

Mike Billings

DPHHS Administrator Nominated for National Employment Award


"The results are a state job bank unlike any
currently existing in the nation," Lynn Long of
the Montana Job Service wrote in Billings'
nomination packet. The Montana Job Source
combines Internet technology with existing
State data banks "to create a comprehensive
system which allows business customers and
job seekers in Montana unique access to an
Internet system and a statewide labor
exchange system."

The Job Seeker Services component provides
the ability for job seekers to search for jobs,
enter and produce their resume, and register
for Montana Job Service Center services.
These services are available to job seekers 24-
hours a day, seven days a week. The
Employer Services component provides the
ability for employers to post jobs online as
well as search the extensive resume bank.

The Citation Award recognizes individuals and
businesses that have made an outstanding
contribution to lAPES or to employment,
unemployment, training or related programs.

The list of recipients began in 1948 when the
association honored U.S. Secretary of Labor
Frances Perkins. Two U.S. Presidents — Harry
S. Truman and John F. Kennedy — along with
numerous U.S. Senators and Representatives;
notable employers, educators and media
personalities; as well as high-ranking
government officials from both the U.S. and
abroad have also received this honor.

Mike Billings, DPHHS
Operations and Technology
Division Administrator, has
been nominated for an
Individual Citation Award for
his role as chief architect of
the Montana Virtual Human
Services Pavilion ( http://
vhsD.dphhs. state. mt. us) . The
Montana Chapter of the
International Association of Personnel in
Employment Security (lAPES) submitted his
nomination, citing the creation of the
Montana Job Source system, which is
accessible via the Job Seeker Services and
the Employer Services kiosks in the
Department of Labor room of the Pavilion.

The Pavilion was created to support
participants in Montana's welfare reform
initiative (FAIM) in their quest for self-
sufficiency. Providing services that will assist
clients in the employment process is a key
goal of the Pavilion. To that end, in
December 1997, Billings arranged a "visioning"
meeting with the Montana Job Service
Division and TRW, a nationally recognized
systems integrator that is the prime contractor
for the Virtual Human Services Pavilion
project. In July 1997, the Montana Job
Source system was implemented, the product
of a memorandum of understanding between
the Department of Labor and Industry and
the DPHHS, and a highly successful
cooperative effort between the two

Outlook e-mail
Conversion Continues
in Field Offices

DPHHS conversion to the electronic
mail package "Outlook" is
continuing as planned throughout
our state offices, according to Teri
Lundberg, chief of the OTD Network and
Communications Support Bureau.

Field offices in Billings, Kalispell, Missoula and
elsewhere have made the switch from Zip and
other areas are slated for conversion soon, she
said. The conversion is part of a comprehensive
state government move to Outlook.

Employees in Helena offices are scheduled for
conversion in May and June; employees will be
notified of training opportunities. For more
information, contact Teri at 444-1922.

Things to remember about the conversion:

• Only 50 messages can be converted from
Zip to Outlook.

• Personal distribution lists must be re-
created in Outlook.

• Internet address books must be re-created
in Outlook.

• ISO will convert calendars and shared
distribution lists.

Time Change Approaches

Mark your calendars — daylight-saving time
returns on Easter this year,
Sunday, April 4. Remember to
"spring forward" by setting
your clocks one hour ahead.


Drew Dawson, Health Systems Bureau Chief,

Health Policy and Services Division

Location: Room A-206, Cogswell Building, 1400 Broadway, Helena.

e-mail: [email protected]; telephone 444-4458

Drew Dawson, Health Systems Bureau Chief has been a busy man this winter since replacing Bob
Moon as Chief of the Health Systems Bureau. In fact, between spending time at the Legislature,
overseeing health programs that affect thousands of Montanans, learning the details of a new position
... and even tending to dental needs made Dawson nearly unreachable for this story.

The Health Systems Bureau provides a broad range of health education and services that promote
health and safety. Bureau functions include community and public health assessments; emergency
medical and trauma care system management; program oversight for cancer, heart disease, diabetes,
tobacco, and nutrition; chronic disease behavior and surveillance; health facilities planning; primary
care designation and leadership for the State Health Agenda and Healthy Communities.

'There are so many incredibly talented participants in Montana's health care delivery system," Dawson
said. "I am thoroughly enjoying getting to know them better in this job. I plan to continue efforts to
improve public health systems, establish a public health agenda and develop an epidemiology capacity
in chronic disease to improve the health and safety of all Montanans."

Prior to becoming bureau chief, Dawson had been with the EMS program since 1974, and he most
recently supervised the DPHHS Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention Section.


1999 State HealthBeat Spring Fitness Challenge Has Arrived

Last year 51 DPHHS teams representing 383
employees participated in the state HealthBeat
program — far and away the best participation from
any state agency. More than 1,250 total state
employees participated last year.

Here are the particulars for this year's program —
and enjoy!

• Opportunity 1 . Move To Improve Program

• Opportunity 2 . Food And Fitness Program

MOVE TO IMPROVE is a 10-week program that
offers a fun approach to exercise by focusing on
activity at all levels and paces — FOR ALL
PEOPLE. It works like this:

1. Assemble a team of 6-8 co-workers and contact
the Employee Benefits Bureau.

2. Assign a team Captain and sign up through the
Employee Benefit Bureau by March 19.

3. Each team member will receive an activity log
for tracking activities and a starter gift.

4. Individual team members establish activity goals
and work individually or with team members to
attain goals. For each period of sustained
activity, members receive points as defined in
the program booklet. Each member logs activity
points and reports weekly to the captain.

The captain sends full team activity logs weekly
to the Employee Benefits Bureau.
Every other week, teams receive a report of
their standing on total points and how their total
compares to other teams.
7. At the end of the 10 weeks, each member of
each Move To Improve team will receive a
"Finisher's Prize." The Move To Improve team
with the most total points will receive a
fabulous Grand Prize!

The Food And Fitness Program is for individuals
who already lead an active lifestyle but could use
an extra boost in their nutrition and who would
like a more challenge than the Move To Improve
Program. The Food And Fitness program works
similar to the Move To Improve Program, with the
exception of step 4. See complete program

Just like Move To Improve, at the end of the 10
weeks, each member of Each Food And Fitness
team will receive a "Finisher's Prize." The Food
And Fitness team with the most total points will
receive a fabulous Grand Prize!

To Sign Up: Contact the Employee Benefits Bureau
at 444-7462 or 1-800-287-8266

Deadline: March 19

QAD Office Covers Quarter of Montana from ... Hinsdale

Like many state offices, the DPHHS Quality
Assurance Division has employees in many of
Montana's larger cities — for example Billings,
Great Falls, Missoula and ... Hinsdale.

Hinsdale? Where is Hinsdale and why would
DPHHS have an office there? These are
questions that Teresa Jones, a

QAD Program Compliance r

Auditor, answers quite regularly. ! i

Jones' office since 1988 has
been her home in Hinsdale, a
town of 300 people located
between Glasgow and Malta, her
hometown. Prior to that she was \- -

located in Glasgow and made a daily
60-mile round-trip commute.

But because of the vast region she covers in
her job — nearly one-quarter of Montana —
the relocation to Hinsdale made sense. Plus,
the state is able to save on office rental
space by allowing her home to be her office.
A traditional "main street" office setting isn't
critical to her because much of her work is
on the road in an area from Hill County to
the North Dakota border and as far south as
Dawson County. Use of technology, such as
facsimile machines and e-mail, has been a
great benefit to her.

Jones' job is to audit financial, Medicaid and
food stamp cases. When a case is selected
for auditing, it is her job to verify the
accuracy of information provided in case files.
She interviews employers, bankers, and
landlords, verifying that each piece of
information in the file is correct. She also
_____—— conducts home visits to assure
,^ ; that people truly reside at their

• : reported address and that people

truly exist and aren't collecting
benefits fraudulently.

■ Jones "loves" living in Hinsdale

" ^ and finds the flatlands and

uncrowded streets very appealing. "When 1 go
shopping in Billings, I can hardly wait to get
out of the traffic and crowds and head back
home," she said. She and her husband have
a small farm, one child in high school and an
older son who works on the farm and assists
with her husband's business.

Because of her work arrangement, she says
she is frequently asked what she wears to
work. "I don't wear pajamas," Jones says. "I
work 8-to-5 and always dress professionally. I
treat this like a regular job."


Congra tula tions!

Congratulations goes out to Nancy Ruth
McCollom with Montana State Hospital in
Warm Springs who in November was
recognized for 35 years of state government
service. Linda Frailey with Montana State
Hospital in Warm Springs was recognized for
30 years of state government service.

In addition. The following DPHHS employees
received recognition for 25 years:

Carol Becken, HCSD, Big Timber
Marilyn Brush, HCSD, Billings
Gloria Cervenka, DSD, Helena
Bruce Desonia, HPSD, Helena
Lilta Flesjer, EMTC, Glendive
Patrick Foster, OTD, Helena
Roseanna Hiltz-Lampe, MSH, Warm

Kenneth Klima, MSH, Warm Springs
Roger LaVoie, HCSD, Helena
Ellen Lappin, MSH. Warm Springs

Mary K. McGinnis, HCSD, Butte
Stanley Rollins, MSH, Warm Springs
Warren Wright, CFSD, Missoula

Those honored for 20 years were:

Ingrid Berglund, MSH, Warm Springs
Irish Buck, HPSD. Helena
Deborah Christiansen, HCSD, Helena
Mike Clements, CFSD, Butte
Karen Corda, DSD, Great Falls
Julie Davis, QAD, Helena
Richard Graham, MDC, Boulder
Naomi Gwin, MSH, Warm Springs
David Hurlbert, MSH, Warm Springs
Robert Janacaro, MDC, Boulder
Laurie Magill, HR, Helena
Roger Nummerdor, MDC, Boulder
Judy Reid, HCSD, Great Falls
John Ritchie, MDC, Boulder
Jeffrey Ritow, MSH, Warm Springs
William Ryan, MDC, Boulder

Congratulations and thanks for your faithful and
devoted service!

Six Students Honored for Nutrition Month Posters

'w Congratulations to six Montana elementary students whose flair for art and good nutrition
C-.^^ have made a successful combination.

As part of National Nutrition Month in March, the Eat Right Montana nutrition coalition
coordinated a Montana poster contest for third, fourth and fifth graders. Judges received some
750 entries focused on the theme, "Take a Fresh Look at Nutrition."

Some of the more colorful entries included ancient Egyptians enjoying healthy meals in their "pyramid;"
milk and meat growing in trees; and a "strongman" made of carrot feet and an apple head.

Judges selected the following winners:

• Alexandria Stevenson, Bridger, first place for third-graders; her teacher is Cathie Kraft.
Second place went to Nick Villa of Babb; his teacher is Jo Ann Powell.

• Levi Big Eagle of Lame Deer won first place for fourth-graders; his teacher is Carol Siegle.
The second place winner was Whitney Chamberlin from Jefferson School in Helena. Sherri
Haller is her teacher.

• Kyle Biebl of Central Elementary in Sidney won the fifth-grade prize; his teacher is Janine
Danielson. Brandon Rumph of Biddle placed second; his teacher is Judy Hessong.

Governor Marc Racicot honored the students and their teachers during a ceremony on March 9 in
Helena. Students received $75 and $50 prizes for first and second place, a T-shirt featuring a silk-
screen of their design, and a certificate. Teachers received "5 A Day BINGO," an interactive
nutrition education game.

"Flavors of Montana"
Comes to Missoula

Missoula's finest chefs and restaurants are helping
celebrate National Nutrition Month by preparing and
sharing mouth-watering samples of healthy foods for
the "Flavors of Montana" chefs competition March 27

The Eat Right Montana nutrition coalition is
coordinating the event at Southgate Mall from noon
to 2:30 p.m., with free samples of the chefs'
recipes available at 1 p.m. This event
will rotate annually among
Montana communities.

Chefs will present their
creations in a competition for the
best tasting, low-fat food item.
Judges will score recipes, giving special
recognition to those high in vitamins A and C, or
containing cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli
and cauliflower.

The public can participate by voting for the People's
Choice award, and two grocery stores will provide
samples and examples of healthy and unique foods.

For more information about the event, contact Laura
Del Guerra at (406) 243-2315 or DPHHS's Crystelle
Fogle at (406) 444-2672.

Social Workers Celebrate
National Awareness Month

Montana social workers this month are
taking time to reflect upon their roles in
society and appreciate the responsibility
that goes with their jobs.

As part of Professional Social Work
Month, the Montana Chapter of National
Social Workers has encouraged
Montanans to "celebrate the social work
professional in your offices and

The group held a special recognition day
March 12 at the Capitol and a workshop
on March 13.

"Each day, social workers in corporations,
schools, mental health centers, health
care settings, nursing homes, and public
and private agencies make a real
difference in the lives of their clients,"
said Montana Executive Director Colleen
Murphy. "By helping people cope with or
prevent problems, social workers save
their employers, the community, and the

DPHHS Co-sponsoring Genetics Symposium in May

"Practical Genetics for the New
Millennium," a symposium co-hosted by
DPHHS and the Montana Genetics
Department at Shodair Hospital, is
scheduled for health care professionals
May 21-22 in the Shodair auditorium on
Colonial Drive in Helena.

The first of its kind in Montana, the
symposium is being organized in response
to provider requests and the perceived
need for a detailed, relatively
comprehensive educational program.

Conference objectives are to increase
knowledge about current human genetic
concepts among health care providers and
policymakers. Key aspects include
increasing the quality, accessibility, and
utilization of genetic services, and
increasing the exchange of information
between regional providers and

The symposium will include an impressive
group of speakers to discuss information
readily applicable to health care practices
and professional careers. Key speakers

include Neil Buist, MD, Professor Emeritus of
Pediatrics and Medical Genetics at the Oregon
Health and Sciences University, and John Opitz,
MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Human Genetics, and
Obstetrics and Gynecology at Primary Children's
Hospital in Salt Lake City.

In 1998, about 4,000 individuals received some
type of genetic service through the Medical
Genetics Program at Shodair. Some involved with
the program have estimated that four times that
number could benefit from genetic services in
one year if more information were available.
Medicaid and HMO systems frequently channel
referrals to specialists through primary care
providers. However, traditionally these providers
have little exposure to human genetics in their
training. Because of the low rate of referrals, as
well as questions from providers based on
inadequate, dated or misunderstood information,
Shodair proposed the symposium.

For more information about the symposium,
contact the Montana Gene Team at Shodair
Hospital, 1-800-447-6614.

Creative Sack Lunch Auction Raises Money, Food for Food Share

Employees in the Helena Disability Services
Division are attempting to collect food and
money for Helena Food Share by
auctioning sack lunches from noon to 1
p.m. March 17 in Room 305.

The idea, which could be used in other
offices, is for employees to bring a mystery
sack or box lunch (make it edible!),
decorated in any fashion to hide its
contents and make the lunch look
either very appealing or
unappealing. Employees will also
bring cans of food as
bargaining chips, or they may
use money.

Lunches will be numbered, and people will
then draw numbers to see which lunch is
initially theirs. Then, in numerical order,
each lunch will be auctioned, with people

using cans of food or money to make bids (one
can of food equals 50 cents). The highest bidder
must then trade their lunch to receive the lunch
they bid on, and all bids go to Helena Food
Share. Then the next lunch is auctioned and so
on. When all lunches are auctioned, the contents
of each are revealed for mealtime.

Public Health Week
is April 5-11!

Contact Your Local County Health

Office To Learn More About

Activities In Your Area. Help

Celebrate "Healthy People In

Healthy Communities."

News and information about the programs and
people in the DPHHS are presented in this
monthly newsletter. This edition was produced
by a committee of employees from various areas
of the agency. The Newsletter Committee
welcomes your suggestions and comments. Ideas
may be sent by regular mail or ZipMailed to any
committee member.

DPHHS attempts to provide reasonable
accommodations for any known disability that
may interfere with a person participating in
any service, program or activity of the


Online LibraryMontana. Dept. of Public Health and Human ServicesDPHHS News (Volume 1999 MAR) → online text (page 1 of 2)