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AWARE Ink Newsletter


Note from Our CEO

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

I hope you had a wonderful time celebrating the 4th of July. While fireworks are likely still flying across Montana, I encourage you to take the opportunity to reflect on what we celebrated earlier this week and the foundations of freedom that our great nation is built upon. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth.”

It brings me great pride to work alongside so many dedicated people who prioritize the dignity of the individuals we serve and use that as the guiding force in helping them live independent lives.

I appreciate the leaders in Montana who recognize the importance of community-based care, making what we do possible.

Thank you once again to Governor Gianforte for signing HB2 into law and to the lawmakers whose work got it to his desk. The Medicaid increases funded through HB2 were inpart a result of the Medicaid rate study, commissioned by the 2021 Legislature. We are grateful for the increases funded through HB2. This will certainly make a difference and help us continue offering access to community-based mental health services. While provider rate increases will help, we still face costs that continue to rise as demands for our services are at an all-time high, so the fight continues.

The need for advocacy and awareness is as important now as it was during the legislative session. It is my hope that experts in community-based behavioral health will be at the table when discussions about how to best meet the needs in Montana are taking place. Please continue talking about the importance of—and the need for – the services that AWARE and other community-based behavioral health services providers do. Please continue encouraging your representatives to invest in these services that help keep Montanans at home, in school, working and in their communities. Investing in these services is an investment in Montana.

I am thrilled to share the news that AWARE’s Center for Excellence School is officially accredited through Cognia. We began this process last summer. During the 2022-23 school year, the center operated as a “candidate for accreditation.” We learned on June 20, 2023, that we successfully completed our Cognia Accreditation Engagement Review – an incredible accomplishment that is a testament to our team. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this process! To our teachers and caregivers at the school who are steadfast in their commitment to providing a positive learning environment for the kids we serve – you are inspiring. Thank you for your dedication. The August issue of INK will focus on ‘back to school,’ and we are excited to share more about the significance of this accreditation then.

In other exciting news, I am honored to announce that Kathryn Brogan, M.D., will join the AWARE family beginning in August as our new Medical Director. Dr. Brogan is an incredible person, and we are delighted to have her on our team. We have an excellent psychiatric team in place, serving Anaconda, Butte, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula. I am happy to share that we will soon be expanding our psychiatry services to the Bozeman/Belgrade area. Be sure to tune into the August issue of INK to learn more about Dr. Brogan. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about our psychiatric services or make a referral, please visit

Finally, with the start of July comes the beginning of our new fiscal year. I look forward to closing our books on FY23 and in doing so, reviewing our socio-economic impact, both economically and directly to the people we serve, as we work to develop our FY23 annual report to be released this fall. One thing I know for sure, without even looking at numbers and data – AWARE truly has the best caregiving team in the state. Our team makes a difference every single day. I am proud to work with all of you.

Enjoy your summer – stay cool out there!


Matt Bugni - CEO

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