Health

Medical, Health Care
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is telling Idaho health insurance companies it's up to them whether they want to extend canceled policies.

Last month, millions of people around the country and in Idaho got notices cancelling their insurance policies. Insurance companies said those plans had to be dropped, because they did not comply with new standards under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Amy Dowd
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Since Idaho’s health insurance exchange launched on October 1, just 7 percent of applicants chose to enroll for subsidized coverage. Amy Dowd is at the helm of operating Idaho's marketplace, and she's pleased with enrollment in the first month.

Three versions of a synthetic hallucinogenic drug appear bound for Idaho's list of illegal substances after the federal Drug Enforcement Administration placed them on the same list as marijuana, heroin and LSD.

The federal drug agency made the announcement on Tuesday for drugs known by their street names that include 25i, Smiles, and N-Bomb.

For substances declared by the federal government as among the most dangerous drugs, Idaho law requires the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy to control the substance after 30 days — unless state regulators find reason to object.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho business group urged Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to study how Arkansas won permission from Washington, D.C., to use federal Medicaid funding to help poor people buy private insurance.

The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry sent Otter a letter Friday, calling Arkansas' program a "market solution" that was of great interest to members that include hospitals St. Luke's Health System and Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Bill Deal
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho Department of Insurance director Bill Deal said he's likely to announce Monday whether his state will adopt President Barack Obama's proposal to extend old health insurance policies that otherwise would be canceled.

Through a spokeswoman on Friday, Deal said he's in discussions with Idaho insurers offering policies to individuals on how such a move would impact the state's health coverage marketplace.

President Obama on Thursday said he'd allow insurance companies to keep selling their old plans to people whose policies were going to be canceled.

The first numbers on enrollment under the new health care law confirm a slow start and mixed results in Northwest states.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Just 338 people have selected health coverage via Idaho's insurance exchange during its glitch-plagued first month.

Your Health Idaho's enrollee figures were released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which also gave statistics for the nation's other exchanges.

In total, 106,185 people in the United States have selected plans.

President Obama's administration has predicted about 7 million people will get coverage via exchanges in 2014, with Idaho accounting for 40,000 of that figure.

In an effort to stop a spate of gonorrhea outbreaks, at least one public health department in the Pacific Northwest is offering a helpful service to infected patients: anonymous notification of former sexual partners.

That's right. A government worker will track down and contact each ex for you. Awkward for all concerned? Yes. But at a time when gonorrhea is becoming stubbornly drug-resistant, health officials see it as time — and embarrassment — well spent.

Board members of the Idaho health insurance exchange said Tuesday that they will keep secret the findings of a $15,000 taxpayer-funded investigation into how one of its own members won a lucrative no-bid contract.

Your Health Idaho board chairman Stephen Weeg said the two-week-long review by a private lawyer uncovered "lapses in judgment," though nothing illegal. Exchange executive director Amy Dowd last month awarded a technology contract worth up to $375,000 to board member Frank Chan, who quit the same day the contract was announced.

Public health officials say recent measles cases in the Northwest highlight the need to be vaccinated against the infection.

tanakawho / Flickr Creative Commons

Less than 30 percent of Idaho kids get developmental screenings recommended by doctors. That’s according to a report out this week from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids get screened for developmental problems at nine-months-old, 18-to-24 months and at 30 months.

Perry Brown, pediatric education director at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho says those screenings are questionnaires doctors give to parents. Brown leafs through a file and pulls one out for parents of a 24-month-old.

medical stock, scale, healthcare
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Because the federal heath insurance exchange website has been plagued by troubles including outages, the head of Idaho's marketplace says the state is stepping up to make it easier for people to sign up for health insurance.

Amy Dowd leads Your Health Idaho, the state’s health insurance exchange. Until next year, Idaho is using the federal portal to sign up consumers online.

medical image
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A southwestern Idaho school district is building an in-school medical clinic at Meridian's poorest elementary school in an effort to boost student health and reduce absenteeism.

Meridian School District Superintendent Linda Clark told the Idaho Statesman that the clinic will be the first in-school clinic in Idaho.

A lawyer hired to review how Idaho insurance exchange leaders awarded a no-bid, $375,000 contract to a board member says he'll be finished within a week.

Fred Mack, a corporate governance specialist at a Boise law firm, said Wednesday the bill for his investigation of the contract between Your Health Idaho director Amy Dowd and former board member Frank Chan won't exceed $15,000.

Last week, Chan canceled his contract to manage a big exchange technology project.

Butch Otter, state of the state
Aaron Kunz / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter wants the requirement for everybody to have insurance by 2014 delayed 12 months amid glitches in Internet health care exchanges across the nation, including Idaho.

Idaho is currently relying on federal software to enroll people in coverage via its Your Health Idaho insurance exchange.

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