Health Advisory Commission

The Montana 67 th Legislature passed House Bill 632 which allows for funds provided by the Department of Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act to be used on public health and human services programs. HB632 created a Health Advisory Commission to recommend how funds allocated to the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) are to be used. Commission members are:

Sen. Bob Keenan (R-Bigfork)

Sen. Carl Glimm (R-Kila)

Sen. Mary McNally (D-Billings)

Rep. Matt Regier (R-Kalispell)

Rep. Terry Moore (R-Billings)

Rep. Frank Garner (R-Kalispell)

Rep. Mary Caferro (D-Helena)

Adam Meier, Director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services

Anita Milanovich, General Counsel to Governor Gianforte

Charlie Brereton, Health Care Policy Advisor to Governor Gianforte

Commission meeting information and future meeting dates will appear on this website. DPHHS is tasked with staffing the Commission.

Please check this website often for updates on programs, open applications, and deadlines. DPHHS will seek public comment and solicit program ideas for programs that have discretionary funding. Programs open for comment will have a link posted in their description. Please submit general inquiries or comments not related to the following programs using the ARPA Public Comment form

There are federal funds received pursuant to the American Rescue Act Plan that are appropriated to DPHHS for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, and continuing through the biennium beginning July 1, 2021. Appropriate authority is currently allowed to the following items:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - $11,000,000

For SNAP, the appropriation is to be used for the 15% benefit extension, for administration, and for workforce training through existing programs in the department of labor and industry or through contracted private sector vendors.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program - $200,000

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program will receive funds to administer the program to provide food packages to income eligible persons at least 60 years of age. Montana has not yet received information about the amount of funding it will receive for this program.

Family Violence Prevention - $900,000

This funding is intended to increase public awareness and prevention of family violence, domestic violence, as well as to provide immediate shelter and supportive services for victims of violence. The grant is restricted to providing education, support, and technical assistance to domestic violence service providers; serve as an information clearinghouse, primary point of contact, and resource center on domestic violence for Montana; and support the development of polices, protocols, and procedures to enhance domestic violence intervention and prevention in Montana. Currently, FVPSA funding goes directly to Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and domestic violence shelters across Montana.

Child Abuse Prevention - $1,111,000

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)

Funding will support prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution, and treatment activities to improve the child protection services system. The public may suggest ideas for training for areas listed in the scope of this program. CAPTA Comment Form

Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) Children's Trust Fund

The Montana Children's Trust Fund oversees the federal Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention funding. This funding is intended to support community-based programs and activities to prevent child abuse and neglect and to strengthen families. The Children's Trust Fund Board will identify uses for this additional funding and may administer grants to support community initiatives and projects. Community or state-based providers may submit ideas to the Children's Trust Fund to consider for funding. CBCAP Comment Form

Vaccine Distribution and Supply - $22,500,000

This funding will support the administration of COVID-19 vaccine to eligible people. State and local public health departments, community health centers and other public vaccination providers are directly supported. Other entities indirectly supporting this activity may also be funded. This may include participating enrolled providers that offer vaccination services within their scope of practice and who also adhere to COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

Testing and Contact Tracing - $143,400,000

This funding is anticipated to be awarded via grant awards targeting general public health needs. Portions of each grant will allow funding to support testing and contact tracing performed by public health agencies and relevant partners.

Funds will be used to detect, diagnose, trace, and monitor COVID-19 infections. Specifically, to implement strategies for testing, contact tracing, surveillance, and mitigation of COVID-19. Grants to public health departments for COVID-19 related activities to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, support activities related to COVID-19 tests, including supplies necessary for administering tests such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and expand state and local testing and contact tracing capabilities.

In addition, funding will enhance information technology, data modernization, and reporting and support health department efforts to establish, expand, and sustain a public health workforce. The public may submit comments or funding ideas. Testing and Contact Tracing Comment Form

Child Care Block Grants - $112,500,000

For Child Care block grants provided for in section 2201 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Public Law 117, the department shall prioritize the use of funds to child care deserts for one-time equipment and necessary infrastructure, property improvements, worksite child care, licensing, and employee training and professional development.

Child Care Expanded Block Grant Services

Funding is intended to expand block grant activities for child care in Montana to expand and support child care infrastructure throughout the state, including support for emergency and essential workers child care needs. Funding should support prioritizing child care deserts, equipment and infrastructure, property improvements, onsite child care, licensing, and employee training and professional development. The department is planning activities to gain public input including advisory council recommendations, surveys of providers and parents, town halls and discussions with stakeholder groups. The Child Care Expanded Block Grant services is compiling public input on the use of these child care funds intended to expand and support child care infrastructure throughout the states. Please provide input on the use of the funding. Child Care Expanded Block Grant Services Comment Form

Child Care Stabilization Grants

Funding is intended to stabilize the existing child care sector during and after the public health emergency. Funding can support the early childhood workforce and subgrants to providers for personnel, rent, utilities, maintenance, PPE, training, professional development related to health and safety practices, purchases or updates of equipment and supplies, goods and services necessary to maintain or resume services. Funding can also support mental health and health consultation and technical assistance. Child care providers who have been licensed, regulated, or registered under CCDF regulations as of 3/11/21, whether open or closed during the pandemic may be eligible for subgrants. This may include Family, Friend, and Neighbor providers as well. 

State Veterans' Home - $1,700,000

This funding is intended to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 at the State Veterans Homes.

Public Health Workforce - $23,000,000

This funding is anticipated to be awarded via grant awards targeting general public health needs. Portions of each grant will allow funding to support workforce needs or public health agencies and relevant partners at the state and local level.

Funding would support wages and benefits, related to the recruiting, hiring, and training of individuals to serve as case investigators, contact tracers, social support specialists, community health workers, public health nurses, disease intervention specialists, epidemiologists, program managers, laboratory personnel, informaticians, communication and policy experts, and any other positions as may be required to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID–19 in state. local and NGO settings. The public may submit comments or proposals for this funding. Public Health Workforce Comment Form

SAMHSA/Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder - $10,500,000

For SAMHSA, it is the intent of the legislature that the executive consider use of the SAMHSA funds above for the purposes of the HEART fund and for suicide prevention, including the use of the Utah model for suicide prevention that includes social media outreach, and for potential use in the department of corrections.

Substance Use Block Grant
  • Funds are intended for prevention, crisis care, treatment and recovery for individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD). They will assist with developing a National Alliance for Recovery Residences (NARR) Affiliate in Montana to support recovery housing expenses. The funds will also expand access to Peer-led Recovery Supported Communities by funding four drop-in centers in areas that currently have limited resources and demonstrated need for behavioral health services. The funds will also be used to develop substance abuse specific crisis care. 
  • Montana will also receive over $5 million to expand substance use primary prevention. Montana is required to use at least 20% of the Substance Abuse Block Grant for prevention; this plan will allow Montana to exceed the requirements and be consistent with the Governor's HEART initiative. This will include funding for communities to develop their own initiatives as well as for schools implementing PAX Good Behavior Game or similar school-based/family-oriented evidence-based strategies that promote enhanced social-emotional behaviors and self-regulation.

The public may offer suggestions for funding within the requirements of the program for prevention, treatment, recovery support, and infrastructure related to the substance abuse block grant. Substance Abuse Block Grant comment form

Mental Health Block Grant
  • $900,000 will be used to increase access to and coordination among the existing Montana suicide prevention Help Lines, as well as incorporate chat and text capabilities. The funding will also assist with the implementation of Montana's 9-8-8 line, which will go live in summer of 2022.
  • Montana will receive $750,000 to serve individuals with severe and disabling mental illness. The funds will be used in part to provide three additional PATH sites in the areas of the state where gaps currently exist (northeast, central, southwest). The additional PATH sites will ensure all areas of Montana are covered with resources to help connect housing and assistance with employment and SSI/SSDI benefits.
  • Montana will receive $500,000 to serve youth at risk of developing adult mental illness or with severe emotional disturbance. There is a required 10% set-aside for first episode psychosis. These funds are intended to expand access to services by establishing additional sites and to fund community workers to connect individuals to behavioral health services.
  • Montana will receive $500,000 to service prison and jail populations with mental illness. These funds are intended to provide prison and jail re-entry and enhanced discharge from inpatient settings to reduce risks of COVID-19 transmission during the transition to a community-based setting. The funding will include care coordination services to ensure continuity of care for patients.
  • Montana will receive $200,000 to provide mental health first responder training and resilience training to firefighters and emergency medical services professionals across the state.
  • Montana will receive $300,000 to develop and fund mental health promotion activities in communities across the state.
  • The public may offer suggestions for funding within the requirements of the program for all programs under the mental health block grant funding. Mental Health Block Grant Comment form

LIHEAP/Water Assistance - $31,775,000

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP)

This funding is intended to provide temporary assistance for income eligible Montanans to pay a portion of energy costs or to provide emergency assistance in the case of imminent threat to health and safety of the household, such as furnace repair or replacement. This program also provides weatherization assistance to install energy cost saving measures. Funds can also be used for program administration. These activities are designated in the currently approved in the current Montana LIHEAP State Plan. 

Low Income Home Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

This funding will establish a new program to assist low-income households who pay a high proportion of household income for drinking water and wastewater services by providing funds to public water systems or treatment works to reduce arrears of eligible households and to assist with ongoing monthly payments for these services to eligible households.

Serving Older Americans and Families - $1,000,000

This funding will be provided to the Area Agencies on Aging to support older Americans and families. The Older American's Act will guide the use of funds and a portion will be dedicated to COVID-19 vaccine outreach, education, communication and transportation and/or prevention and mitigation.

Emergency Food and Shelter Program - $930,000

Funding supports expanding the age of eligibility for food reimbursement in emergency homeless shelters from age 19 to age 25. Meals for young adults up to age 25 in homeless shelters will qualify for reimbursed meals through this funding. Montana is awaiting further federal guidance on the amount this program will receive.

Pandemic Emergency Assistance - $2,726,000

Funding must be used for non-recurrent short-term benefits to families in the form of cash, vouchers, subsidies, or similar form of payment to deal with a specific crisis situation or episode of need. This category may include expenditures such as emergency assistance or a lump sum offered to families in lieu of ongoing assistance. The state will also receive a portion of these funds to administer the program. The public may offer suggestions of how to use this funding within the definition of non-recurrent short-term benefits. Pandemic Emergency Assistance Comment Form

WIC - $1,130,000

Funding is intended to increase benefits for fruits and vegetables up to the amount of $35 per month for women and children participating in WIC through September 2021. States may use also funding to pay for associated costs to administer the benefit change. Participating WIC clients will receive the additional benefits directly on their EBT cards.

IDEA Infants and Toddlers - $1,223,000

Funding is intended to support families with children, birth to three years old, who have developmental delays or disabilities. It is expected that funding will support the state administration and the existing contractors to deliver services to eligible children and families. Services may include direct services to families and children, child find, evaluation and assessment. The state is awaiting final guidance from the federal agency. Stakeholder involvement is a requirement of this funding stream. Part C gathers information from the Family Support Advisory Council, contractors, parent groups, and tribal partners. Please offer your comments or ideas for this program area. IDEA Infants and Toddlers Comment Form

Additional federal funds allocated to DPHHS include:

Nursing Home and Hospital-based Swing Bed Payments - up to $15,000,000
  • For nursing home and hospital-based swing bed payments, DPHHS will allocate $15 million to nursing home facilities and facilities with hospital-based swing beds by the later of May 31, 2021, or 15 days after the receipt of federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The allocation will be made based on the number of Medicaid patient days each facility had from January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. It is the intent of the legislature that no additional supplemental funds be allocated to nursing homes and facilities with hospital-based swing beds.
Provider Rate Study
  • For the provider rate study, the department of public health and human services will study the impact of COVID-19 on providers and make recommendations to adjust rates, if necessary, to reflect impacts to providers in an effort to maintain services.