Montana Health Infrastructure Set to Crumble, As Benefis Employees Refuse Covid-19 Vaccine


The powerful Montana health care provider is illegally requiring COVID-19 vaccines for staff, and hundreds of employees are willing to walk off the job to avoid being Big Pharma’s human guinea pigs

Benefis Health System is based in Great Falls and operates several large care facilities. The non-profit organization owns Benefis Hospital with 516 beds (the third largest hospital in Montana), Benefis Extended Care Facility with 146 beds, and Peace Hospice with 12 beds. In addition to those in-patient care facilities, the organization also owns a med-evac transportation service, the Sletten Cancer Institute, and an out-patient clinic.

Currently, Benefis is Montana’s ninth-largest employer, with 3,300 employees. Only Malmstrom Air Force Base, Aageson Ranch, the Blackfeet Tribe, Montana DPHHS, and hospitals in Billings and Kalispell have more employees. The hospital forms the largest segment of Cascade County’s economy, even surpassing revenue generated from the nearby Malmstrom Air Force Base. Most of Benefis’ patients come from Cascade County, where Great Falls is located, but roughly a fourth come from outside the county.


The controversy began when Benefis notified employees (not just medical staff, but all employees) that they would have to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of their continued employment.

John Goodnow, CEO of Benefis

In an email dated March 31, John Goodnow – Benefis’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – told employees in a company email that only 65% of the company’s employees have taken the COVID-19 vaccine despite it being widely available. By our figures, roughly 2,145 employees have taken the vaccine and 1,155 have refused to inject themselves with the largely experimental drugs.

Goodnow notified the employees in the email that they would soon make the vaccine mandatory, and in addition, applied some peer-pressure to his email, notifying staff that once 95% of Benefis’ employees had taken the drug, everyone would receive a $100 dollar kickback.

Montana Daily Gazette has acquired a copy of the email, available below.

You may have to click on this image and enlarge it in order to read it on your mobile device.

The email reads, “As Benefis Health System employees we have been very fortunate in that any BHS employee who wanted a COVID shot could easily get a COVID shot, and that has been the case for a while now. While many of us took advantage and got our shots, there are many more who still have not (only 65 percent of employees COVID vaccinated to date system-wide, 53 percent of Senior Services employees vaccinated).”

The CEO went on, “As a heads up, I want you to know that we will soon move to mandatory Covid vaccinations for BHS employees, like we have for years for flu shots. The process for mandatory COVID vaccinations will begin in May. By letting you know that in advance, it provides you the opportunity to get vaccinated before it becomes mandatory.”

He then added, “On a fun note, once we get to 95% of employees Covid vaccinated system-wide, everyone will get a $100 gift card.” It might be helpful to point out that CEO John Goodnow makes $1,204,231 per year. How nice of him to give employees $100 for taking the vaccine (approximately 1/1000th of his monthly salary).

Meanwhile, Montana Daily Gazette has acquired a more lengthy memo from Benefis on the subject of mandatory vaccines (see below or click here for the full pdf).

The memo states, “…Benefis will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for employees as of May 1, 2021.” It then, yet again, compares the untested and experimental COVID-19 vaccine to the seasonal flu shot. The memo then appeals, communistically, to the “common good.”

An FAQ section that asks if the vaccine is safe for pregnant women was left unanswered, with a link to the CDC. However, the link to the CDC says that “there is limited data available regarding the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine for [women] who are pregnant” (the CDC used the term, “people who are pregnant,” but our editorial standards require removing unscientific gender-neutral language as it petains to pregnancy).

Yet another memo from Benefis, acquired by Montana Daily Gazette, makes the argument that requiring the untested COVID-19 vaccines – which several nations have banned for those under 55 (like Canada) or 65 (Germany) – to requirements for the seasonal flu shot (see below or click here for the full pdf).


The form provided by Benefis to employees who have a religious expemption against injecting themselves with drugs they don’t approve of seems astoundingly over-the-top, an invasion of privacy, and likely an infringement of First Amendment liberties. Look at the amazing document below, or click here for the full pdf.

After beginning with a sentence covered in code words of Critical Theory, “diversity and inclusion,” the Benefis form goes on to treat religious believers with hostility and derision. In an extremely insulting fashion, Benefis is requiring employees to give the religious reason for objecting, the name of the church or religious body, and even says that they may contact their employees’ religious or spiritual leader or religious scholars to substantiate the reason for the exemption.

Can you imagine Benefis executives calling your pastor, Rabbi, Imam, or priest to demand the religious reason their congregant or parishioner should be exempt from a vaccine? It’s an unbelievable breach of personal privacy.

Do Benefis executives even understand the complicated nuance of different faith traditions? Are they under the assumption that every religious employee is a part of an organized religion with gurus and official ecclesiastical heads? And at the end of the form, it states that even if the above requirements are met, an exemption might still be denied (see below).


Whether or not companies can mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees is yet unchallenged in U.S. Courts. Although there is some precedent for mandatory vaccinations dating back to the 19th Century, primarily for serious illnesses like Small Pox and not mild respiratory viruses like COVID-19 (in 2020, COVID-19 killed only 55 healthy Montanans), it’s unknown if such standards can be applied to relatively non-serious illnesses.

However, what does seem clear is that any requirement to vaccinate for any illness requires accommodation for both religious exemptions and for health exemptions.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and medical accommodation requests under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are both codified into federal law.

Repeatedly in the American courts, rigorous religious tests by employers to verify the sincerity of religious beliefs claimed under Title VII have been rejected as discriminatory and prejudiced. Certainly Benefis’ Inquisition Form fits the bill as both. The reason the Benefis form (above) uses the “undue hardship” clause in the last paragraph is that the courts have used this clause to reject claims of religious exemption for vaccination in certain cases.

Although some have argued that COVID-19 has reached the “direct threat conditions” specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act that allows a more stringent control on those with conditions that could be communicable, COVID-19 vaccines are yet to be licensed officially by the Food and Drug Administration. Because of this, employers are prohibited from requiring the vaccine due its approval under a EUA, or Emergency Use Authorization.

Regardless of what health agencies are saying, including Benefis, which repeated the falsehood in their memos, COVID-19 vaccines simply have not – under any circumstances – received the testing and peer-reviewed scrutiny of typical pharmaceutical drugs. Each of the three vaccines commonly used in the United States received approval from the FDA as an Emergency Use Authorization back in December 2020. It will take two complete years of testing to determine whether or not these drugs are safe, before the vaccines can be licensed officially by the Food and Drug Administration.

Because COVID-19 vaccines have been approved through an expedited EUA, they have each been declared, “an investigational vaccine not licensed for any indication.” Furthermore, all vaccines must be distributed with the warning, “promotional material relating to the Covid-19 Vaccine clearly and conspicuously … state that this product has not been approved or licensed by the FDA, but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA.”

Federal law clearly and explicitly states that drugs approved through a EUA cannot be mandatory for any American citizen, whether by the government or by employers.

Stat News writes…

The same section of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that authorizes the FDA to grant emergency use authorization also requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to “ensure that individuals to whom the product is administered are informed … of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product.”

Likewise, the FDA’s guidance on emergency use authorization of medical products requires the FDA to “ensure that recipients are informed to the extent practicable given the applicable circumstances … That they have the option to accept or refuse the EUA product …”

Furthermore, they write, “In the same vein, when Dr. Amanda Cohn, the executive secretary of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, was asked if Covid-19 vaccination can be required, she responded that under an EUA, “vaccines are not allowed to be mandatory. So, early in this vaccination phase, individuals will have to be consented and they won’t be able to be mandatory.” Cohn later affirmed that this prohibition on requiring the vaccines applies to organizations, including hospitals.


Ed Buttrey (“R”-HD21) is a Democrat politician who has consistently run and won election on the Republican Party ticket. A member of the left-of-center “Solutions Caucus,” the RINO legislator is largely responsible for the passage of Montana’s version of ObamaCare and Medicaid Expansion in 2019.

Currently, Rep. Ed Buttrey has a D-rating in legislator loyalty from the impartial party loyalty score aggregator, Legistats. This is an improvement upon his F-score in party loyalty in previous sessions, but in 2021 alone, Buttrey has voted with his Democrat colleagues against Republicans an astounding 78 times so far this year.

Several bills have gone through the Montana House of Representatives which would prevent discrimination against Montanans who exercise their right of bodily autonomy to not be physically penetrated by objects they don’t approve of. HB 703 by Jed Hinkle (R-HD67) was one such bill, and Ed Buttrey was one of the few Republicans to vote against its passage.

Ironically, Buttrey’s Medicaid Expansion pays for abortions with taxpayer funding, whether taxpayers like it or not. But with his vote against HB703, Buttrey also seems fine forcing vaccines upon taxpayers, also whether they like it or not.

Unironically, Buttrey is the chair of the Board of Directors for Benefis (see below).

In 2019, a House panel absolved Buttrey from accusations of a conflict of interest in promoting ObamaCare 2.0 while simultaneously serving as the chairman of the Board of Directors for Benefis, which has profited handily from socialized medicine in Montana.

Also on the Benefis Board of Directors is Mike Milburn (see left). Milburn also happens to be a senior advisor to Governor Greg Gianforte. Milburn, a center-left Republican, also served as Chief of Staff for former RINO Attorney General, Tim Fox.

Please note that Gianforte, under Milburn’s guidance, placed several Big Pharma executives on his COVID-19 task force, which the Montana Daily Gazette has previously covered here.


Montana Daily Gazette publisher, Jordan Hall, was momentarily briefed by Benefis employees who had gathered on Friday evening to organize themselves in opposition to the employer’s illegal demands. Witness testimonies and employee whistle-blowing will commence in coming days both on Montana’s #1 online news outlet and our radio program, Montana Gazette Radio with James White.

Another meeting of Benefis employees is scheduled this evening in an undisclosed location, with employees afraid of the company’s possible vindictive response.

Currently, Benefis employees are consulting attorneys in regard to their legal options. But in the interim, Montanans need to be aware that our healthcare infrastructure cannot remain intact without the 1,155 or so healthcare staff and support personnel who are refusing to take the vaccine in its current form and lacking further testing. Should Benefis make the vaccine mandatory and fire these employees, it will create the single greatest health crisis in Montana history, far surpassing the paper tiger of COVID-19.

If Benefis employees would like to speak out about their situation, please email Your identity and information will be held in the utmost confidence.


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  1. You mentioned good john goodwells salary, but you didn’t mention the bonus he receives. 1.3 million several years ago, I don’t get the tribune any more, so i have not kept up with his bonuses. Yet, different departments hold fund raisers for things they need. Yet he makes a lot of money!!
    Thank you for reporting, love reading your online issues. yep, and I don’t like the rinos either!!! Grrr!

  2. Vicky, it’s John Goodnow, not Goodwell. And this article is complete BS, but what would you expect from one that calls Malmstrom “Maelstrom”.

      • The emails, no, those I believe. It’s everything else. The mandate that employees get vaccinated is not illegal.

        • What is unfactual about this statement?:

          “The same section of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that authorizes the FDA to grant emergency use authorization also requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to “ensure that individuals to whom the product is administered are informed … of the option to accept or refuse administration of the product.”

          “Likewise, the FDA’s guidance on emergency use authorization of medical products requires the FDA to “ensure that recipients are informed to the extent practicable given the applicable circumstances … That they have the option to accept or refuse the EUA product …”

    • what important “stuff”? The only issue is that it’s not approved yet. Somehow I think that once it does become approved by the FDA, you’ll still be upset.

  3. You might want to do a little research. The equal employment opportunity commission has a position on this based on their interpretation of federal law and requiring a vaccine is not prohibited. A employer may require a vaccine as long as they make some reasonable accommodation if such accommodations are possible. There’s also a national law review article that summarizes this position on federal law that clearly states that employers may require the vaccine, not just this one, as a condition of employment. Your reading of most of these situations is about as biased as I’ve ever seen and it’s unfortunate that misinformation is being shared even with your limited audience.


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