Health Care

DBKing / Flickr

The Supreme Court will decide whether private sector health care providers can force a state to raise its Medicaid reimbursement rates to keep up with rising costs.

The justices on Thursday agreed to hear an appeal from Idaho.

The state is trying to overturn a lower court decision that ordered the state to increase payments.

The Army Surgeon General Thursday suspended the commander in charge of Army hospitals in 20 western states.

Becky diVittorio, Optum
Idaho Statesman

A federal agency is investigating whether the company Idaho hired to manage part of its Medicaid program has violated patient-privacy laws.

Optum Idaho, a unit of United Behavioral Health, took over insurance management for Idaho Medicaid's mental-health and substance-abuse patients last fall.

Local health-care providers who treat those patients say Optum has erroneously sent them reports meant for other providers. The reports show patient names and mental-health or substance-abuse services the patients received or were authorized by Optum to receive.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The state’s effort to rein in Medicaid costs has created deep friction between small businesses that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients and a new contractor hired to manage them.

Service providers across Idaho have raised complaints over the last 11 months that the contractor, Optum Idaho, a unit of United Behavioral Health, has created red tape and cut services needed by at-risk patients.

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

An Idaho work group says the state should expand its Medicaid eligibility, but committee members voiced concerns that their recommendation will be ignored by both the governor and legislators.

The 15-member group voted Thursday to submit their recommendation to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

This is the second time this work group has supported expanding Medicaid to provide coverage to the state's working poor. Their 2012 recommendation, however, has been ignored for the past two years.

Boise VA Medical Center

In the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' medical scandal that's forced patients to wait for care, a new audit shows Boise’s VA Medical Center scored well in some areas, and not so well in others.

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. 

Tom Kelly/Flickr

Idaho lawmakers passed what’s known as the “death bill” Wednesday. The bill forbids doctors from refusing treatments such as food and fluids to dying patients who have said they want them. Democratic Representative John Rusche of Lewiston, a retired physician , said at first he was offended by the bill, specifically by the implication that any Idaho doctor would not listen to the desires of a patient on this issue. But he said some amendments had made it more palatable.

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