Healthcare

St. Luke's Lawsuit
4:35 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

St. Luke's Gets $10 Million Bill After Failed Lawsuit

Credit St. Luke's Health System

St. Luke's Health System has been handed a $10 million bill for a lawsuit the hospital lost, according to the Idaho Statesman.  

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Hospital Lawsuit
9:58 am
Wed March 5, 2014

St. Luke's Health System Plans To Fight Judge's Antitrust Ruling

Credit St. Luke's

A Boise-area hospital and Idaho's largest independent physicians' practice are seeking to reverse a federal judge's ruling that their joining forces violated federal antitrust laws.

St. Luke's Health System and Nampa-based Saltzer Medical Group on Tuesday filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Boise to stay the court ruling pending an appeal.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in January ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and the Federal Trade Commission.

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Health Insurance
11:26 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Idaho's Health Insurance Exchange Awards $40.8 Million In Contracts

Idaho's insurance exchange voted to give two companies publicly funded contracts worth $40.8 million to build and operate a state enrollment system due to replace the federal software in place now.

Your Health Idaho's board Friday voted to give the work to GetInsured and Accenture, the two companies that also built California's state insurance exchange.

Idaho has used the federal government's exchange for the past five months because it didn't have enough time to build its own system before the Oct. 1, 2013 deadline.

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Policy
6:19 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Midwives Say Idaho Licensing Law Has Brought The Practice Out Of The Shadows

A midwife uses a fetoscope on a patient.
kc7fys Wikimedia

Idaho started licensing midwives in 2010 under the Midwifery Practice Act so midwives could deliver babies in homes and at birthing centers legally. 

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Idaho Legislature
5:03 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Two Idaho Republicans Want To Eliminate State's Catastrophic Health Care Fund

Sen. Nonini is a Republican from Coeur d'Alene.
Credit Idaho Legislature

Two Republican senators want to eliminate Idaho's fund that helps pay the medical bills of indigent people.

Sens. Steve Thayn of Emmett and Bob Nonini of Coeur d'Alene pitched the legislation on Monday.

They sold it to lawmakers on the Health and Welfare Committee as a better way to treat low-income people without insurance than the existing Catastrophic Care Fund.

Now, there will be a full hearing on the measure.

Currently, state and county taxpayers combine to cover indigent people's medical bills.

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Medicaid
12:21 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Idaho's 2013 Medicaid Rolls At Highest Level Yet

Credit Data: Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders

The number of low-income Idahoans on Medicaid increased 3.5 percent in 2013, a figure the Idaho Department of  Health and Welfare says marks a slow-down in growth of the program.

On average, 236,352 Idahoans were signed up for Medicaid each month of 2013. That's the highest average monthly enrollment the state has ever recorded.

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St. Luke's
12:07 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Judge Rules Against St. Luke's In Antitrust Case

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge says a Boise-area hospital violated federal antitrust laws when it purchased Idaho's largest independent physicians' practice.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill made the ruling Friday, ordering St. Luke's Health System to undo its buyout of the Nampa-based Saltzer Medical Group.

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Idaho Legislature
3:28 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Idaho's Insurance Exchange Unsure If Enrollees Come From Uninsured Ranks

Idaho insurance exchange officials don't know if the 20,000 people signed up for coverage effective Jan. 1 come from the ranks of the uninsured, or if they previously had insurance but switched to exchange policies because they're now eligible for financial assistance.

Your Health Idaho board chairman Stephen Weeg and director Amy Dowd gave their first report to the Idaho Legislature yesterday.

Afterward, Weeg and Dowd acknowledged nobody is collecting that information about those getting coverage.

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Idaho Legislature
11:34 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Medical Costs For Idaho's Indigent Population Doubles Since 2002

Annual medical costs for Idaho's indigent population doubled since 2002 to nearly $53 million, including both and state funding.

The chairman of the Catastrophic Health Care Fund, Roger Christensen, told Joint Finance-Appropriations budget writers Thursday the price tag dipped in 2013 due to a temporary federal program, but is expected to resume rising in coming years if nothing is done to contain expenses.

The Spokesman-Review reports mental health costs, in particular, for indigent people are worrisome.

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Health Insurance
10:35 am
Fri January 10, 2014

An Estimated 20,000 Idahoans Sign Up For Coverage On State's Health Insurance Exchange

Enrollment in Idaho's insurance exchange has blossomed after the federal government fixed the website that residents use to sign up for health insurance coverage.

Roughly 20,000 people signed up for individual and family coverage in time for it to begin Jan. 1.

That's up from 1,730 people who purchased coverage available via Your Health Idaho through Nov. 30.

The new total was announced Friday by Your Health Idaho spokeswoman Jody Olson.

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Health
3:05 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Idaho Health Exchange Will Keep Taxpayer Funded Contract Review Secret

Board members of the Idaho health insurance exchange said Tuesday that they will keep secret the findings of a $15,000 taxpayer-funded investigation into how one of its own members won a lucrative no-bid contract.

Your Health Idaho board chairman Stephen Weeg said the two-week-long review by a private lawyer uncovered "lapses in judgment," though nothing illegal. Exchange executive director Amy Dowd last month awarded a technology contract worth up to $375,000 to board member Frank Chan, who quit the same day the contract was announced.

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Health Insurance
4:59 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Are You Eligible For Subsidized Health Insurance? Use This Calculator To Find Out

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idahoans will be able to shop for and purchase insurance on the state's new health insurance exchange beginning Oct. 1. Under the federal health law, most Americans will be required to have health insurance coverage by Jan. 1, 2014, or they'll face a tax penalty.

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Health Insurance
4:46 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

161 Plans Will Be Available On Idaho's Health Insurance Exchange

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idahoans will have 161 health insurance plans to choose from on the state's health insurance exchange.  The online insurance marketplace, required under the Affordable Care Act, will start enrolling people in October. The plans take effect in January.  

Eight Idaho insurance companies will offer 76 individual health plans, 55 small group plans for businesses, 13 individual dental plans, and 17 small group dental plans.  

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Immigration
4:25 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

Immigration Group Rallies At Labrador’s Office, Meets With Congressman

Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A group of about a dozen immigration rights supporters protested Monday outside Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador's Meridian office. They criticized Labrador’s decision last week to leave a group of House Democrats and Republicans who’ve worked for weeks on a bipartisan bill to reform immigration law.

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2013 Legislature
3:44 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Idaho's Governor Won't Officially Declare Another Bid For Office

Idaho Governor Butch Otter
Credit Aaron Kunz / EarthFix/Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor Butch Otter says the history of disagreement he has with Congressman Raul Labrador represents differences of opinion not conflict. 

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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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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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StateImpact Idaho
7:50 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Lobbying Efforts Heat Up As Idaho’s Health Insurance Exchange Hearing Is Scheduled

Credit Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Idahoans will have a chance to weigh in on whether the state should create its own health insurance exchange today at the Capitol.  

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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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Health Care
6:05 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

How An Idaho Hospital Wants To Rethink Healthcare

David Pate is CEO of St Luke's Health Systems
Adam Cotterell Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s largest hospital is teaming up with a Utah company to provide in-house insurance. St. Luke’s Health System and SelectHealth are forming what the companies call a strategic partnership. The hope is that by having the provider and insurer work together they can reduce costs and improve health outcomes.

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