Health

jdlasica / Flickr

The federal government has agreed to pump nearly two billion dollars into Oregon's experiment at changing the way it delivers health care to low income people. The news today came after Governor John Kitzhaber and three other state officials flew to Washington to personally lobby for the cash.

http://www.cedars-sinai.edu

A judge has a denied a motion for a retrial in a $52-million lawsuit involving Boise based St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Last year, the center lost a jury trial in the suit brought by MRI Associates, a medical imaging company it had partnered with in the past. Late last week, Fourth Judicial District Judge Mike Wetherell said no to a retrial.

Seventy people in Washington legally ended their lives in 2011 with the help of a physician. That continues a steady increase in each of the last three years. The latest numbers come from a report out [today] Wednesday on Washington's so-called Death with Dignity Act. The annual release of statistics on the law says 80 physicians wrote a total of 103 such prescriptions in 2011.

jdlasica / Flickr

Four Idaho health centers will pick up some cash today from the federal government.  The U.S. Health and Human Services Department is giving more than $9.5 million dollars to build and expand health centers.  The hope is to help serve 16-thousand new patients.   

Centers for Disease Control

The federal government’s top health officers are making an appeal to the Northwest’s medical community to boost vaccination rates. The deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s immunization branch spoke at a public health conference in Coeur d’Alene Friday as part of the national campaign.

Last year, Washington and Oregon immunization rates were among the lowest in the nation. Idaho’s was average. That’s according to a CDC survey.

RamberMediaImages / Flickr

Blue Cross of Idaho has teamed up with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana to buy two companies, one in Coeur d’Alene and one in Montana.  Peak 1 Administration and Insurance Coordinators of Montana will merge together to provide ancillary support services for the insurance companies.

Those include running Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Reimbursement Accounts, and COBRAs, where employees can temporarily continue their health coverage after they leave their job.  Blue Cross says the acquisition will allow it to increase services to more clients in more areas.

University of Idaho

Author Raj Patel says the problem with the world’s food supply is not the amount of food available, but how to get that food to the people who need it. He spoke at the University of Idaho’s Borah Symposium on Tuesday.

Flu Season Hangs On In Parts Of Northwest

Apr 11, 2012
basaldigitalthermometer.com

Flu season is hanging on longer than usual in parts of the Northwest. That’s shown in cases of the flu -- and also via web searches. Google queries for terms like “muscle aches,” ”flu symptoms” and “thermometer” are being used to track where flu is hitting now.

Google and the Centers for Disease Control have found that flu-related searches go hand-in-hand with confirmed cases of the flu. Up-to-the-minute data is available on the web for anyone to track at a site called Google Flu Trends.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

An Idaho woman arrested for inducing her own abortion is taking her case to federal court. Jennie Linn McCormack was charged last year under an obscure Idaho law for ending her pregnancy with RU-486. She joins an increasing number of women who get the so-called abortion pill off the internet. McCormack’s attorney says he’s willing to take the challenge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, neither pro-choice nor pro-life groups are paying attention to the case.

Idaho's Teen Birth Rate Is Average

Apr 10, 2012
Neal Gillis / Flickr

A new federal study says Idaho’s rate of teens having babies has fallen to record lows along with most states. But Idaho is only average.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the teen birth rate in the United States has been dropping steadily for several years and now it’s down to the lowest point since it started keeping track in the 1940s.  The authors of the study largely credit sex education initiatives. Sex ed can be a sensitive subject in a socially conservative state like Idaho and programs vary widely from place to place.

Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

It was expected to be one of the biggest debates of the 2012 legislative session: would Idaho create its own health insurance exchange?  The Associated Press held a special discussion of the issue during its January legislative preview.   In a series of interviews that StateImpact conducted in December, legislator after legislator predicted it would be a defining issue of the months ahead.  Continue reading...

The state of Oregon wants to reshape the way it provides medical services to low income people in rural parts of the state. And it’s getting a robust response from health care providers. Before a deadline this week, state health administrators received more than 50 proposals to create regional collaborations. The strategy is part of what Oregon’s Governor is calling a health-care transformation. 

There have been 21 reported cases of whooping cough in Idaho so far this year.  But in Washington State the number of whooping cough cases has reached epidemic levels. The disease is spreading so rapidly that health officials are urging adults and children to get vaccinated.

Washington Secretary of Health Mary Selecky announced today that as of last month, there have been 640 cases of whooping cough. That’s compared to 94 in the same period last year.

University of Wisconsin / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Researchers have found a way to rank the healthiest counties in Idaho.  Blaine County comes out on top. 

Where you live matters to your health.  That’s according to The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.  Their 2012 County Health Rankings break down the healthiest counties in Idaho.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Two weeks ago, a doctor’s report on health care at Idaho’s largest and oldest prison found “serious problems.” The state Attorney General’s Office responded Friday in a 37-page legal document.

Pages