Q2 reports patients, health-care providers and more testified at a Montana legislative panel Monday saying funding for community-based services for the poor and disabled not only need restoring, but perhaps revisions and increases. Barbara Mettler, executive director of the South Central Montana Regional Mental Health Center in Billings, said they had 140 full-time employees in 2012, and they’re down to 97, with at least 25 more since this year’s cuts were instituted. Mettler was among dozens of people from across the state testifying before a special hearing at the Capitol in Helena. The Bullock administration is expected to restore at least $30 million in human-service cuts made earlier this year– in response to a state budget crisis– and Bullock said he’ll decide by September 1st where to restore the money, saying his priority will be programs that help “vulnerable Montanans.”

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