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Legislators propose to cut 2 tribal health jobs from department of public health and human services


The Department of Public Health and Human Services in Helena.

Lawmakers proposed cuts for two tribal health positions within the Department of Public Health and Human Services, saying the proposal would lead to a discussion on the importance of the positions in appropriations.

Legislators in the Section B subcommittee in their Feb. 19 meeting proposed to cut the tribal relations manager and director of American Indian health positions within the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS).

The tribal relations manager acts as a liaison between the state and tribes in navigating DPHHS logistics.

The director of American Indian health was created in 2015 after a 2013 state health assessment revealed that white men live 19 years longer than Native American men and white women live 20 years longer than Native American women in Montana. After meeting with tribal leaders about the disparate health outcomes in their communities, Gov. Steve Bullock created the position by executive order. 

Sen. Bob Keenan, R-Bigfork

Sen. Bob Keenan, R-Bigfork, said he supported the cuts because he wanted to further discuss the importance of the two positions.

“There are a number of tribal liaisons in the Governor’s Office and DPHHS and I think the discussion we’ve had, we’d like to get a handle on them … a consolidation of those positions and what activities they represent,” he said. “I’m going to support this so it opens up a discussion on where we stand.”





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