Health

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.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Shannon Guevara stood in a courtroom in front of her peers — a group of people who, like her, had committed felonies but whose severe mental illnesses made them eligible for a special court. She talked about her four kids, her husband, the classes she was mandated to attend after being convicted of a drug crime. And she beamed, because on this June afternoon, she was another step closer to a happy ending.

Two women in Idaho have been infected with the mosquito-borne illness West Nile virus, marking the first confirmed human cases within days of each other in Idaho this year.

One woman is in her 60s from Washington County, but did not require hospitalization

However, the second woman —who is in her 40s from Payette County— was hospitalized after reporting symptoms beginning in early July. She is still recovering.

Macroscopic Solutions / Flickr

Idaho has its first human case of West Nile Virus for 2015. A woman in her 60’s who lives in Washington County got sick in late June.

Raemi Nolevanko is an epidemiologist for Southwest District Health. She says the woman had mild symptoms and did not go to the hospital.

“She was experiencing some pretty decent fatigue and then she mentioned fever, chills and some headache that she was having issues with,” says Nolevanko.

The woman is recovering.

Nolevanko says this first human case is right on schedule, based on last year's timeline.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Officials from St. Luke's Health System say they will not pursue a U.S. Supreme Court challenge to a federal judge's ruling that its purchase of Saltzer Medical Group violated antitrust laws.

The Idaho Statesman reports that St. Luke's CEO David Pate and board Chairman Skip Oppenheimer wrote in a letter to employees Thursday that they respect the Ninth Circuit Court's decision and are working to separate the two companies.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Doctors in America are facing burnout in high numbers. A 2012 national survey published in the Journal of American Medicine found almost 46 percent of doctors reported feeling symptoms of burnout. WebMD reported that same number in a report published this year.

Ada County Weed, Pest and Mosquito Abatement

Thursday night’s chemical bombardment of mosquitoes from a low-flying plane in Ada County went well before being interrupted by a storm. Weather permitting, the process will continue Friday night.

Brian Wilbur, Director of the Ada County Mosquito Abatement District, says the contracted plane sprayed parts of Star and Eagle around 10 p.m. Thursday. That gave the Dibrom Concentrate, which is a short-lived chemical, time to work before the rain moved in.

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