Valley Journal
Valley Journal

This Week’s e-Edition

Current Events

Latest Headlines

What's New?

Send us your news items.

NOTE: All submissions are subject to our Submission Guidelines.

Announcement Forms

Use these forms to send us announcements.

Birth Announcement

Disability advocates sue DPHHS for blocking public records release

Hey savvy news reader! Thanks for choosing local. You are now reading
1 of 3 free articles.

Subscribe now to stay in the know!

Already a subscriber? Login now

News from Upper Seven Law

HELENA —  Disability Rights Montana filed suit today against Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) after the agency denied a public records request for materials related to the hiring of Mike Randol as the Medicaid and Health Services Executive Director.

Montana’s constitutional Right to Know, guarantees broad public access to documents held by state agencies. 

The requested documents contain information about DPHHS’s hiring priorities and about Randol’s qualifications and experience. Randol previously oversaw Medicaid programs in Iowa and Kansas, both of which moved to privatization during his tenure. Privatization—or “managed care”—shifts Medicaid administration to private, for-profit entities. Montana used a managed care system in the 1990s, but reassumed Medicaid administration when managed care proved far worse for patients and providers. 

“DPHHS provides essential services to hundreds of thousands of Montana’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged residents,” said Bernie Franks-Ongoy, Executive Director of Disability Rights Montana. “State leadership determines the quality and administration of healthcare, community integration, and community-based treatment.” 

“Montanans have a constitutional right to state transparency,” said attorney Niki Zupanic. “DPPHS’s denial of records for a high-level employee is a significant departure from constitutional norms. The State cannot govern in secret.” 

DPHHS’s withholding of public records follows other records request denials by the Executive Branch, and has led to other lawsuits, including O’Neill v. Gianforte, which was filed last year.  That case remains pending.

Sponsored by: