Health

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.

Your Health Idaho

Idahoans who buy their health insurance through the state-based health exchange will have more options but face higher costs while shopping for coverage for 2016.

The third year of sign-ups for coverage through yourhealthidaho.org begins Sunday. That means people have until Dec. 15 to sign up for insurance — or switch policies — to ensure coverage will begin on New Year's Day.

Pat Kelly, executive director of Your Health Idaho, says the exchange will offer more than 200 plans.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The call center at the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline could be a room in any number of businesses. There are four desks, each with a computer and a phone. But the overhead fluorescents are off and the soft light from a few lamps makes it feel more like a therapist’s office. A woman is talking on the phone to someone who says a friend is posting suicidal thoughts on Facebook.

Drexel University

When my wife became a nurse I suggested we move to Oregon where RNs make in excess of $20,000 a year more than in Idaho. I was joking (mostly) but that gap is hard to ignore. And it’s not much smaller for Washington or Nevada. Now a new info-graphic from Drexel University says we should ignore those raw salary numbers because Idaho is financially the best place to be a nurse.

phone, office
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline has received one of its largest grants to date. The nonprofit has been awarded $100,000 from the Idaho Division of Veteran’s Services. The hotline, which started almost three years ago, has grown to a 24/7 service for people dealing with a variety of mental health issues – including suicide.

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