Health

Central District Health Department

A second cat in Elmore County has likely died of plague. This cat lived outside the plague area boundary drawn by health officials.

This is the second cat death in a week. The Central District Health Department reports this cat lived two miles from Mountain Home and lived both indoors and outdoors. It had contact with ground squirrels before it died. Members of both families, along with the rest of their pets, are being monitored to make sure the cats did not spread the plague.

Final lab results on the animals will come in next week.

A new state-sponsored substance abuse recovery center is expected to open next month in eastern Idaho.

The Post Register reports that the Center for Hope in Idaho Falls is expected to open in mid-July. It's the eighth such facility created in Idaho.

The effort to open the center began two years ago when the Idaho Association of Counties asked lawmakers to fund the facilities across the state. Along with the Center for Hope, recovery centers have been funded in Bannock, Kootenai and Nez Perce counties this year.

For the second year in a row, Idaho health officials say preliminary tests on dead ground squirrels south of Boise have come back positive for plague.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is still confirming the diagnosis, but officials are asking the public to be cautious.

A map of the infected area is a circle shape extending about 45 miles south from Boise to the Snake River. The boundary also extends over Interstate 84 but doesn't reach Mountain Home.

St Luke's Hospital Sign
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that one of Idaho’s largest employers was systematically violating the Family and Medical Leave Act.

The Labor Department says St Luke’s Medical Center failed to ensure that employees received FMLA protections.

dion gillard / Flickr Creative Commons

Twenty-year-old Boise resident Mariah Walton told the Guardian U.S. she wants to see her parents prosecuted.

“They deserve it. And it might stop others,” Walton said.

The news site owned by British Guardian Media posted a story Wednesday about Idaho’s faith healing law and the untold number of child deaths it has contributed to.

screengrab truth208.org

The Idaho Meth Project has been warning about the dangers of methamphetamine through graphic advertising and outreach to teens since 2008. Now, the pet project of Idaho’s governor and first lady - Butch and Lori Otter - has changed its name and its focus.

The re-christened “Idaho Prevention Project” will continue its anti-meth message using the old name, but director Adrean Cavener says it will have a similar campaign called Truth 208 aimed at abuse of legal drugs like prescription opiates .

data from Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

We told you this week that the heroin epidemic much of the country is experiencing has not yet reached Idaho but that it could soon. However, some people say heroin is already a big problem here.

screengrab countyhealthrankings.org / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The healthiest counties in Idaho are Valley, Ada and Blaine. The least healthy are Clearwater, Benewah and Owyhee. That’s according to this year’s national county health rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. [For interactive versions of the maps above and to see previous years, click here.]

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

We learned last week that the state of Idaho has struck a deal with a group of investors who want to build a for-profit, osteopathic medical school on Idaho State University’s Meridian campus. When he made the announcement, Idaho Governor Butch Otter said the school would go a long way in solving Idaho’s doctor shortage.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

We learned last week that Idaho could get its first medical school two years from now. But the announcement that it would be a school of osteopathic medicine left a lot of people wondering just what that is. Everybody knows what an M.D. is. But you may not know that an M.D. has a degree in allopathic medicine. Someone with a degree in osteopathic medicine is a D.O.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A national suicide prevention organization and several Idaho groups with the same mission plan to spend Thursday trying to convince Idaho lawmakers to implement four recommendations. Those recommendations are the top priorities from a twelve-point suicide prevention plan created last year by the Idaho Health Quality Planning Commission.

The HQPC is a group of healthcare professionals, insurance industry reps and academics that advises Idaho lawmakers on ways to improve healthcare. It has identified suicide as one of the biggest public health threats facing Idaho. 

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building House Chambers
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Last month, Idaho Governor Butch Otter proposed a plan to provide health care to the estimated 78,000 Idahoans who don’t qualify for either Medicaid or subsidized health insurance under Idaho’s health exchange. The Primary Care Access Program would've subsidized basic doctor visits for those people, but last week a legislative committee voted against using tobacco settlement money to partially fund the $30 million proposal.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Last year Idaho governor Butch Otter vetoed a bill that would have made it legal for children with severe epilepsy to use a treatment that comes from marijuana.

Courtesy of SeAnne Safaii

At any given time, there are about 450,000 centenarians in the world. Some countries like Italy, Japan and Singapore have more than their fair share. SeAnne Safaii, an associate professor at the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and dietician Sue Linja set out to find out why. They spent the past year interviewing centenarians in those countries and here in the United States.

Palcohol.com

Last year, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau approved a new form of powdered alcohol for recreational use. Since then, over half of U.S. states have banned the substance. Now, an Idaho legislative committee has introduced a bill that would ban it here.

Mark Phillips is the creator of Palcohol, the trademarked name for powdered alcohol. He says it’s been an uphill battle getting state legislatures to hear his case for why the substance should be legal.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Federal health officials recently updated the nation’s dietary guidelines. The cattle industry was able to relax a bit after learning the recommendations didn’t include specifics on cutting back on red meat. But the guidelines – which are updated every five years – did point a finger at sugar. Hwoever, not everyone agrees with the those new limits.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced a new proposal Thursday that he says would help low income Idahoans get health care.

The Primary Care Access Program (PCAP) still needs to be approved by the Idaho Legislature. It is designed to help adults 19-64 who don’t have health insurance.

Otter says Idaho doesn’t want to expand Medicaid and PCAP will help the 78,000 people who fall through the cracks of the current system.

For the last decades of the 20th century, death rates were declining for most Americans. But so far in 21st century Idaho, that's not happening.

Credit data: Idaho Department of Health and Welfare / Graph: Lacey Daley

A study by a Nobel Prize-winning economist made national headlines last week for saying middle-aged white Americans are dying at increasing rates while all other age and race groups have declining death rates. KBSX asked Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare to analyze the numbers for Idaho.

County Health Rankings

You’re more likely to live past the age of 75 in Washington than you are in Idaho. That’s according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. The report analyzes states – and the counties within them – on a range of measures.

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