Eric Whitney

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

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The $24 million that the hospital in Kalispell agreed to pay in 2017 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit was the biggest recovery ever in Montana under federal False Claims Act.

Leaders at Kalispell Regional Healthcare admitted no wrongdoing in response to an investigation that doctors were referring patients to hospital-affiliated businesses in which the doctors had an ownership interest. Doing so would call into question whether those referrals were motivated by medical necessity or financial interests.

Montana’s Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and a Republican colleague from Tennessee have introduced a bill to increase scrutiny of a big private contract for the Veterans Administration. The White House has come under fire for allowing friends of the president to influence who gets it.

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Missoula Wednesday says America’s bail bond industry amounts to organized crime.

The ACLU of Montana is suing five parties in Montana and two out of state insurance companies over an April 2017 incident when armed bounty hunters kicked in the door of Eugene Mitchell’s home in Lolo, and took him away at the direction of a Missoula bail bondsman. That bondsman, the ACLU says, is backed by out of state insurance companies.

Senator Jon Tester says he’s frustrated with how the Veterans Administration is preparing to roll out legislation he wrote to reform how veterans get health care outside the VA system.

At a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday, Tester questioned VA officials about the Mission Act. He’s expressed concern about it being used as a tool to eventually privatize veterans health care.

A bill that a group of Montana high school students wrote to try to reduce gun violence in the state was killed in a Senate committee Thursday.

It was written by Helena Youth Against Gun Violence, which formed in response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting in which 17 people were killed in February of 2018.

Tim Fox has raised substantially more money than any other candidate running for a statewide office in Montana so far.

Campaign finance reports for the 2020 election filed Friday show Fox has raised nearly $204,000 since January 1. Fox, who is currently Montana’s attorney general, is running for governor.

The first ever statewide conference on homelessness is happening in Helena today and tomorrow. More than 75 organizations from across Montana are meeting.

Jim McGrath, with the Missoula Housing Authority presented a graph showing some positive trend data about the number of homeless people here since 2005.

In Butte Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency set a date for an important milestone in the Mining City’s Superfund cleanup.

Next Friday, the agency says it will give federal court 135 days notice of filing a final consent decree laying out legally binding cleanup plans.

While much of the state was enjoying a sunny St. Patrick’s Day, state lawmakers and scores of people concerned about health care spent all day Saturday inside the state Capitol debating two competing visions for the future of Medicaid expansion in Montana.

Nationwide, military veterans commit suicide at the rate of 17 a day, and despite many efforts to bring it down, the rate has remained constant for years.

On Wednesday, Montana Sen. Jon Tester has introduced a bill aimed at making an impact, by containing numerous directives for the U.S. Veterans Administration.

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