Suicide Prevention
8:11 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline Needs More Funds To Take Calls At Night

Credit Michael Caroe Anderson / Flickr Creative Commons

Less than three months after its launch, the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is expanding its hours. Starting today volunteers will take calls Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

So far, the suicide hotline has taken about 160 calls since November. Executive Director John Reusser says there’s no question the hotline has helped many Idahoans in crisis.

Reusser says the hotline’s next goal is to launch a marketing campaign to connect with people around the state. That campaign will likely begin next week.  

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2013 Legislature
2:40 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Idaho Residents Share Worries Over Medicaid, Mental Health, and Dental Care With Lawmakers

Idaho Statehouse
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Dental care for low-income adults.  Help for physical and mental disabilities.  Expanding Idaho’s Medicaid.  Those were some of the issues that came up during a public hearing Friday during a joint meeting of the Legislature’s Health and Welfare Committees.   

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10:58 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Report: Idaho Latinos Face Disparities In Weight, Health Care

A new report finds Latinos in Idaho are struggling with many of the same health problems as the rest of the state’s population - but to an even worse extent. The wide-ranging demographic study is intended to guide policymakers on issues that affect Hispanics.

Overall, the findings paint a picture of a Hispanic population that's young and mostly born in the U.S. About half speak English at home and Latinos in Idaho are more likely to own their home than Latinos in other states.

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2013 Legislature
6:16 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

The Ideological Tug-Of-War Continues Over Creating An Idaho Health Insurance Exchange

Lawmakers on the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee hear testimony on a state-based health care exchange.
Credit Idaho Public Television Screen Shot

The debate among Idaho lawmakers started in earnest Tuesday over whether the state should create its own health insurance exchange

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10:54 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Authorities Seek Tougher Penalties For False Labeling Of Fish

WDFW Officer Erik Olson inspects a seafood market for mislabeled fish.
Credit Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

When you order that special filet at a restaurant or store, you're often going on trust that the fish actually is what the menu or label says it is. In Washington, two state agencies are asking for tougher penalties to deter seafood fraud.

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10:48 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Authorities Seek Tougher Penalties For False Labeling Of Fish

Tom Banse Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 12:49 pm

OLYMPIA, Wash. - When you order that special filet at a restaurant or store, you're often going on trust that the fish actually is what the menu or label says it is. In Washington, two state agencies are asking for tougher penalties to deter seafood fraud.

Investigators for Consumer Reports recently found more than one-fifth of the fish they submitted for DNA identification was mislabeled at the point of sale.

Washington Fish and Wildlife police deputy chief Mike Cenci says the penalties for false labeling need to be stronger.

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10:32 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Flu Season Difficult To Track In Idaho

Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Leslie Tengelsen
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the flu is now widespread in 47 states, including Idaho.  Doctor Leslie Tengelsen is Idaho’s deputy state epidemiologist.  She says the flu season has arrived early this year.  

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5:01 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Idaho Medicaid Could Grow By 70,000 Recipients In 2014

Whether or not Idaho expands Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, the state needs to pour more money into the program.

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Flu Season
2:09 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Flu Widespread Across The Nation, Including Idaho

Credit prashant_zi / Flickr

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today said the flu is now widespread in 47 states. That's up from 41 states the week before. 

Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, Idaho’s deputy state epidemiologist, says the Gem state is no exception.  “We’ve seen a steady rise in hospitalizations, doctor’s visits, so flu is here.”

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3:39 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

St. Luke's Plan To Buy Saltzer Can Continue

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a plan by St. Luke's Health System to buy Saltzer Medical Group can move forward for now.

The Idaho Statesman reports that U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill on Thursday denied a request for a preliminary injunction by Saint Alphonsus Health System and Treasure Valley Hospital.

The two entities filed a federal lawsuit in November seeking to halt the deal, contending it would allow St. Luke's to dominate the market in Nampa and block referrals to St. Alphonsus.

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Health Insurance Exchanges
6:00 am
Thu December 13, 2012

One Idaho Senator Supports Idea of Health Insurance Exchanges But Has Concerns

Mike Crapo
Credit Mike Crapo

Idaho's governor announced yesterday the state should build its own health insurance exchange rather than go with a federally- run model. Exchanges are online marketplaces that allow consumers to assess health insurance plans.  Under the Affordable Care Act, every state must have one by 2014.

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Health Insurance Exchanges
3:38 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Some States Making Progress On Health Exchange

Idaho has until the end of the week to decide whether or not to build its own health insurance exchange.  But some northwest states are already well on their way toward creating such an online marketplace. 

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StateImpact Idaho
9:22 am
Fri November 30, 2012

How Obamacare Creates An Insurance Industry Ad Blitz

Credit Sawyer Miller for Blue Cross of Idaho

One of Blue Cross of Idaho’s new television commercials opens with a chirpy jingle.  “You’re protected in the sun, you’re protected when it rains,” the song begins.  The pitch is clear: this is the insurer for you, no matter your lifestyle.

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6:00 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Free HIV Tests In Canyon County For World AIDS Day

Credit Lord Mariser / Flickr

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day.  In response, Southwest District Health will offer free HIV tests today in Caldwell.

The seven Idaho Health districts report more than 1,300 people in Idaho are currently living with HIV or AIDS.  Those are the people who know they have the infection.  Health officials want to reach people who haven’t been tested, and may be infected. 

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Mental Health
6:30 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Volunteers At Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline Trained To Handle Mental Health Issues

Volunteer Nina Leary works her first shift at the new suicide prevention hotline.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline began taking calls this week. The hotline is the first of its kind in Idaho since 2006, when state funding for the previous hotline ran out.

Up until Monday’s launch, Idahoans in crisis were routed to a call center in other western states. But executive director John Reusser says it’s important for people who are contemplating suicide to have an empathetic ear on the other end – someone who understands Idaho’s unique rural culture.

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11:59 am
Fri October 26, 2012

CDC Recommends Pertussis Vaccine For Expectant Moms

Credit Ruby De Luna / KUOW

Public health experts are now recommending that pregnant women get the vaccine for whooping cough during pregnancy. The recommendation is in response to the growing outbreak of the infection in the U.S. So far, there are more than 32,000 reported cases of whooping cough across the country. If the trend holds, it’s on track to be the highest number of cases since 1959.

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Fungal Meningitis
12:13 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Eleven Idaho Facilities Received Recalled Drugs

tschoppi Flickr

Saint Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus hospitals are among the Idaho facilities that received drugs from a pharmacy in Massachusetts.  Officials today released the names of nine health providers in Idaho that got injectable drugs from the New England Compounding Center.   

It’s part of a nationwide investigation into a fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed 15 people and sickened 233, including one man in Idaho.   

The first drug recall was for a steroid injection used for back pain.  It was believed that drug may have been contaminated with a fungus. 

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Fungal Meningitis
9:01 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

More Idaho Facilities Linked To Meningitis Outbreak

Walter Knox Memorial Hospital
Emilie Ritter Saunders Boise State Public Radio

A nationwide investigation into contaminated drugs is expanding. The outbreak has already killed 15 and sickened 231, including one man in Idaho, with fungal meningitis.

Two health facilities in Idaho, Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett and Pain Specialists of Idaho in Idaho Falls, were identified originally in the outbreak.

Now the Food and Drug Administration has expanded its investigation of possibly contaminated drugs produced by a Massachusetts pharmacy. That means as many as nine more medical facilities in Idaho may have received suspect drugs.

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Fungal Meningitis
4:12 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Idaho Has Its First Confirmed Case Of Fungal Meningitis

prashant_zi Flickr

An Eastern Idaho man has come down with fungal meningitis that has sickened 138 people across the country. 

Not much is known about the man.  He’s over sixty and he's being treated for his illness.  State Epidemiologist Doctor Christine Hahn says the man is the first in Idaho to get sick from the drug outbreak.  People in 11 states have become ill and 12 have died.  The injectable steroid comes from a company in Massachusetts which has recalled the drug. 

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Drug Use
3:00 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Kidney Failures Linked To Synthetic Marijuana

K2, a popular brand of “Spice” mixture
National Institutes of Health

We’ve been reporting on “spice” for months, as the popularity of the synthetic marijuana has continued to rise.  Now public health officials in the Northwest are raising concerns that spice has been linked to a series of kidney failure cases in the region.

The synthetic marijuana is sold under several street names including "spice" and "K2." It's made of a variety of plant material that's sprayed with a chemical meant to mimic the active substance in marijuana. Synthetic marijuana is banned under state and federal law.

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