Written by Herald-News
Northeast Montana Health Services EMTs visited Fort Peck Tribes Head Start Thursday, Oct. 29. The children got inside an ambulance. Head Start teacher Mayme Tattoo-Wise (at left) with Elizabeth Craft and Aaron Gustafson on her lap listens to NEMHS EMS director John Carlbom. Sophia Crawford is on the right. (Photo by John Plestina)
Written by John Plestina
One of three transients who authorities say drove to Glasgow in a stolen a pickup to visit a friend in the Valley County Detention Center was freed after pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor in 15th District Court Wednesday, Oct. 28.
Brett Joseph Sandy, 25, of Orange, Calif., and Las Vegas, Nev., withdrew a previously entered not guilty plea to a charge of felony theft and pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.
District Judge David Cybulski sentenced Sandy to 60 days in the Roosevelt County Jail with credit for 78 days he had served since June 26, garnering immediate freedom. Sandy was also ordered to pay a $500 fine and $125 in surcharges by Dec. 31.
According to the charging documents, Sandy admitted to officers that he stole the truck.
Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Sandy in Wolf Point Aug. 11, with Amanda Broyles, 41, of Lexington, Mo., and Shannon Tammel, 40, of St. Louis, Mo., with a pickup that had been reported stolen. All three pleaded not guilty to all charges during their arraignments Sept. 16.
According to information obtained from the RCSO and charging documents, Tammel claimed to be the girlfriend of Julian “Ty” Baughman of Florida, a Roosevelt County inmate being held at the Valley County Detention Center.
Baughman was found in possession of two vehicles in Culbertson that were reported stolen in the Williston, N.D., area. He is one of two men accused of taking RCSO deputies on a high-speed chase in a stolen truck through Culbertson in July that ended with deputies shooting out the tires to stop the pickup in a field.
Broyles is charged with felony theft and misdemeanor counts of displaying a license plate assigned to another vehicle, operating a motor vehicle while the privilege to do so is suspended or revoked [by North Dakota] and obstructing a peace officer. Broyles is alleged to have given a false name. Tammel is charged with felony theft.
The charging documents also state that the pickup, reported stolen in North Dakota, had spray paint covering the actual paint in an apparent attempt to disguise the vehicle.
Sandy had been held on $25,000 bail, the same amount that both women are held on. Both are lodged in the Valley County Detention Center.
Written by Herald-News
Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica J. Lindeen issued a consumer advisory Thursday, Oct. 29, alerting Montanans to issues with private air ambulance services and encouraging Montanans to investigate the services thoroughly before signing a contract.
Lindeen’s office has received numerous complaints from Montanans who were transported by a private air ambulance service and later billed a substantial amount after their insurance company did not cover the cost of the ambulance ride.
Many Montana hospitals have their own air ambulance service. These services are in a health insurance company’s network and are covered by insurance. However, many stand-alone air ambulance services are not part of an insurance company network and those fees are not covered by insurance. As a consequence, Montanans who are transported by private air ambulance services receive a “balance bill” for the amount insurance will not cover.
These bills have exceeded $55,000 and insurance is not contractually obligated to pay them.
Some private air ambulance carriers have begun marketing membership programs directly to Montanans. These “memberships” will cover the cost of the amount insurance will not pay.
However, there are many factors Montanans should take into account when considering private air ambulance membership:
• Many air ambulance providers, like most other health care providers, already participate in health insurance provider networks. These air ambulance providers accept a pre-negotiated in-network rate for services provided. Patients who are transported by an in-network air ambulance provider cannot be balance billed, even if they don’t have an air ambulance membership.
•Air ambulance providers have limited geographic coverage areas. This means that, depending upon a patient’s location when he or she is transported, the membership provider may not provide the transportation. As a result, the air ambulance provider who performed the flight may still balance bill for it, even though the patient has a membership.
•Patients generally cannot control whether a membership provider performs their airlift. Often, the patient is unconscious or otherwise unable to inform emergency personnel they have an air ambulance membership. Therefore, purchasing a membership does not guarantee the membership provider will provide the flight, even if the provider is available.
Air ambulance provider billing practices, including membership programs, are currently under investigation by the Economic Affairs Interim Committee of the Montana Legislature.
Lindeen’s office is actively participating in the committee’s efforts. If you have further questions, contact the Policy Holder Services Division at the Montana State Auditor’s Office at 800-332-6148.
Written by John Plestina
The two former employees of Wolf Point Community Organization that were accused of embezzling funds from WPCO in 2014 avoided jail time with deferred impositions of sentences in recent sentencing hearing in Fort Peck Tribal Court.
Henri Headdress and Linda Reddoor were arraigned separately and pleaded not guilty to felony theft charges Friday, June 27, 2014. Both withdrew their not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty in May.
The Fort Peck Journal reported Dec. 24, 2013, that an investigation had been opened concerning youth activity funds allocated to WPCO and that a former tribal youth activities supervisor discovered what, she said, was unaccountability in how WPCO youth monies had been spent, including that some funds might not have been used for stated purposes.
Exact details and how much money was alleged to have been at issue have not been disclosed.
A gag order has been in place in the case.
The maximum penalty if convicted in tribal court is incarceration for one year.
The Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice investigated.
Written by John Plestina
Roosevelt County treasurer Betty Romo put to rest taxpayer concerns that a new county-wide education line item on tax bills is not a new levy.
Some people questioned the line item when they received new tax bills last week. Most taxpayers received substantial increases.
Montana law requires that tax bills be mailed by Oct. 31, allowing 30 days for the first half of the new tax bill to become due.
Romo said the $37.52 county-wide education line item is not new.
It is $22.41 for elementary retirement and $15.11 for high school teacher retirement. It was lumped in with the state school levy last year.
The line item also includes transportation, but there was enough cash carry over that additional funds were not levied for transportation this year.
“I like it better because when I go through my tax statement, it makes it a lot easier,” Romo said.
She said the county superintendent of schools collects the budgets from the six school districts in Roosevelt County and determines how much is required for transportation and elementary and high school retirement contributions for teachers and staff.
“As the money comes in, we disburse it to the school districts, so basically it goes to the schools,” Romo said.