CUT BANK, Mont. (NMB) – The Glacier County Commissioners temporarily laid off 55 employees Tuesday, March 24 and are unable to transport Indian Health Services (IHS) to other facilities due to IHS inability to pay for past county services.
County Commissioner Michael DesRosier says both COVID-19 and past IHS debt caused the current temporary layoffs and the temporary limitation of services.
“We have short staff right now due to lay-offs that are primarily due to budget constraints that are falling in line with the closure of the office. There is a limitation of services during this pandemic.”
Desrosier says they have documented $1.8 million in outstanding debt that IHS has failed to pay, which has required them to stop all transport services on behalf of IHS.
“We used to do a lot of transports for IHS and we can’t do transports to other area hospitals for the IHS facility, because of the outstanding debt and the inability to collect that debt. So, our ambulance service has pretty much been shut down too.”
Desrosier says there are no permanent layoffs happening at this time and the lay off period for employees is either two weeks or 30 days.
The Glacier County Commissioners hope to have a full staff and be back up and running by the end of April.