Disability Rights Montana sued the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) after the agency denied a public records request for materials related to the hiring of Mike Randol as the Medicaid and Health Services Executive Director. Randol directs three DPHHS divisions with a combined annual budget of over $2.7 billion and more than 1,100 state employees.
In Montana, the Right to Know is a fundamental right, which guarantees broad public access to documents held by state agencies. The requested documents contain information about DPHHS’s hiring priorities and Randol’s qualifications and experience. For example, Randol oversaw Medicaid programs in Iowa and Kansas, both of which moved to privatization during his tenure. Privatization—or “managed care”—shifts Medicaid administration to private, for-profit entities. Montana used a managed care system in the 1990s, but reassumed Medicaid administration when managed care proved far worse for patients and providers. Disability Rights Montana seeks disclosure of Randol’s application and related materials.