Sign up for affordable 2024 health insurance

If you or family members need health insurance for 2024, check out the affordable private plans offered through Open enrollment starts Nov. 1. At, you also can find out if you or your family members qualify for the Montana HELP Plan, Healthy Montana Kids or other Medicaid coverage, says Jeanne “Scooter” Gates, care team coordinator at RiverStone Health. RiverStone Health patients who need insurance may call the care team for assistance at 406-651-6540. Learn more in Scooter’s Health Matters column published by The Billings Gazette.

When is your student too sick to go to school?

Family Nurse Practitioner Katie Keith and Vicki Sulser, RN, offer tips the help parents determine when an ill student should stay home from school. If you suspect your child won’t be able to comfortably make it through their school day, a day off is probably the best idea, they write in this Billings Gazette Health Matters column. They can be reached at RiverStone Health School-based Health Centers, 406.247.3210.

Montana syphilis cases quadruple since 2021

Syphilis cases have quadrupled in Montana since 2021. So far this year, 153 Yellowstone County residents have been diagnosed with this serious infection, which can cause psychiatric disorders as well as loss of vision and hearing. The disease can be transmitted through sexual contact or passed from infected mothers to cause stillbirth or severe disabilities in infants who survive. Public health professionals at RiverStone Health are available Monday through Friday to answer questions about testing and treatment for syphilis and other STIs. Please contact us at 406-247-3396 or

Halloween fun for kids – without sugar buzz

Halloween can be fun and healthy with holiday snacks that fuel young bodies without giving them a sugar buzz. Callie Miller, registered dietitian with RiverStone Health WIC offers super-easy recipes for Halloween treats featuring fruits and veggies in this Billings Gazette Health Matters column. RiverStone Health WIC provides healthy food to eligible pregnant women, new moms and children under age five in Yellowstone, Carbon, Musselshell and Stillwater counties. To learn more, call WIC at 406-247-3370.

New immunizations help you stay well this winter

It’s time for fall vaccines to protect us against expected winter viruses, says Brenda Koch, manager of the RiverStone Health Immunization Clinic. Our Clinic, 123 S. 27th St., offers all routinely recommended vaccines for adults and children, including flu and COVID-19 shots and the RSV vaccination for older adults. Appointments are available by calling 406-247-3382.

Should you get tested for hepatitis C?

Understanding the nuances of hep C, its transmission, and the potential consequences is vital to reducing the burden of this potentially fatal disease, says Debbie Brown, SWLC, ACLC, RiverStone Health manager for Health Provision. Free, walk-in hepatitis C testing is available at RiverStone Health RISE Clinic, 123 S. 27th St., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. RISE offers a finger-stick test and provides results in about 20 minutes. If you test positive for hepatitis C, treatment can be started right away. FDA-approved treatments usually involve 8–12 weeks of pills and cure more than 90% with few side effects.

Early prenatal care best for mother and baby

If you are about to begin your pregnancy journey and aren’t already taking a daily prenatal vitamin with extra folate, start taking one, says Dr. Marina Hansen, a family doctor at RiverStone Health Clinic. Schedule an appointment with an obstetric provider early in your pregnancy. For prenatal appointments at RiverStone Health, call 406-247-3350.

Caring community can prevent suicides

Our community can unite to prevent suicide, says Sarah Music, chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Yellowstone Valley, and Population Health manager at RiverStone Health. To learn more, register for the free Sept. 22 suicide prevention conference at Participants may attend virtually or in person at the St. Vincent Healthcare Mansfield Education Center in Billings. Continuing education credits are available for virtual or in-person attendance if you are a nurse, teacher, LAC, LCPC or LCSW.

Know your A1c to reduce risk of diabetes complications

By controlling blood sugar and watching your A1c level, your doctor can provide guidance to help you avoid diabetes complications, Dr. Grace Rose, a family physician at RiverStone Health Clinic, explains in this Billings Gazette column. If you are diagnosed with diabetes and would like more information on how to better control your A1c or to see if this testing is right for you, contact your primary care provider. Appointments are available at RiverStone Health Clinic by calling 406.247.3350.

How do e-cigarettes affect teens’ brains?

Many Montana children are unaware of the harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes. Alli Kieckbusch, prevention health specialist at RiverStone Health, offers tips for parents to educate their children. Alli can be reached at

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