Submitted By Lincoln County Connections MT
The LCC Resource Van will reach every corner of Lincoln County, attending events, visiting communities, and participating in farmers’ markets. The LCC Resource Van will bring partners to travel across Lincoln County for family engagement events, early childhood activities, and the very popular – Kid’s Corner. The van will be packed with information and resources, including WIC services, lactation support, applications, maternal and newborn health education, immunizations, car seats, and safe sleep materials. The van will also bring books, toys, and activities for children.
Thank you to the partners that have been involved in many conversations, surveys, and meetings to continue to develop the vision. These partners include, but are not limited to, Spring Up and Unite for Youth, Cabinet Peaks Medical Center, Northwest Community Health Center, Kootenai Valley Head Start, Libby Job Service, Youth Court Services, Flathead Valley Community College, Friends of Scotchman Peaks, Lincoln County Victim/Witness Program, The Nurturing Center, Trego Community Hall and Trego Kids Learn and Play, Western Montana Mental Health Center and many more.
Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) Statement for Recent Trial
Submitted By Tracy McNew, LPN, MPA, Executive Director of CARD
CARD is accepting new patients and continuing services as usual, including our free asbestos health screening programs. CARD is also moving forward with the Big Sky Bash concert event that will be held on Aug. 5 featuring the multi-platinum country artist, Joe Nichols.
In 2019, BNSF Railway filed a False Claims Act lawsuit against CARD. On June 27, 2023, a Missoula federal court jury decided that CARD had submitted false claims to the Social Security Administration for Medicare coverage for 337 individuals.
However, CARD feels that evidentiary rulings by the judge prevented CARD from presenting a full defense. For example, Max Baucus, former U.S. Senator of Montana and a primary author of the Affordable Care Act’s Libby provision – which was the law in question in this case – was prevented from testifying on CARD’s behalf because the judge ruled that his testimony would be unfair to BNSF. The judgment against CARD is over $5 Million and would result in CARD’s bankruptcy, but CARD has filed an appeal to have the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals review the trial judge’s decisions.
CARD stands by its practices and mission to serve the Libby community and others impacted by asbestos exposure. Although the jury found false claims, CARD was following transparent procedures that have been in place since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 and those procedures had never before been questioned. In addition, the federal agency that funds CARD’s screening program testified that the agency agreed with CARD’s interpretation of the law and that CARD had submitted no false claims.
Although there was no explanation provided with the verdict that false claims were submitted for 337 individuals, it appears that the claims were related to patients receiving Medicare and/or Pilot Program benefits based on an abnormal radiology read by reviewing radiologists without a clinical diagnosis of asbestos related disease by CARD.
At this time, regardless of the verdict, it appears that the government has no intention of changing anyone’s Medicare or Pilot Program benefits. We encourage you to reach out to CARD if you have any questions about your specific situation.
Libby High School Educational Trust Awarded Two Scholarships
Submitted by Jim Sullivan
The Libby High School Educational Trust has awarded two scholarships to Libby High School graduates. Rylee Boltz, daughter of Halley Parker, received $1000 from the Libby High School Educational Trust. She will be attending Grand Canyon University and is striving toward a degree in criminal justice. Trever Collins son of Chad and Paula Collins, received $1000 from the Libby High School Educational Trust. He will be attending Montana State University in Bozeman and plans to study civil engineering with the hopes of going on to getting a masters degree. The Libby High School Educational Trust was established in 1988 to provide scholarships for worthy students that are graduates of Libby High School and who may be in need of financial assistance to obtain additional education. Applications are available at Libby High School.
Donations to the Trust are always welcomed and encouraged. Since the start of the scholarship over $64,000 in scholarships has been awarded. Only the interest earned is used to provide scholarships so the Trust will continue to benefit future Libby High School students. Trustees of the Fund are Nancy Chalgren, Jim Sullivan, Niles Nelson, Linda Buti, and Juli Cooper. Anyone wanting more information or wishing to donate to the Trust may contact any of the Trustees.
Submitted By Lincoln County
Emergency Management Agency
Multiple wildfires have been detected near the area of the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site. Multiple agency crew’s have responded to several wildfires in the area of Tub Gulch and Rainy Creek Rd. inside the OU3 site. The fire is two acres large at this time. “Aggressive response is underway, there is risk of the fire spreading.” Said LCEMA staff. Please find updates at the Forest Service website at WildWeb (wildwebe.net).
Koocanusa Dock Update
By Ashley South
The Great American Outdoors Act Funding allowed the United States Forest Service, Libby District to upgrade and replaced the older dock at the Koocanusa Resort and Marina public boat launch. The installation took many crew members and is now complete and ready for use.