Healthcare

Medicaid
2:32 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

2 Years After Unanimously Recommending Medicaid Expansion, Idaho Governor's Group Reconvenes

An Idaho workgroup reconvened Wednesday to reevaluate options on how to offer medical services to low-income adults who don't have health insurance.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has repeatedly said he does not want to expand the state's current Medicaid program but has appointed a 15-member group to consider other possibilities.

The panel first met in 2012 and recommended expanding the state's Medicaid eligibility requirements.

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Business
3:12 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

St. Al's To Pay $52 Million In MRI Firm Dispute

The Idaho Supreme Court upheld a district court's decision Tuesday ordering a Boise hospital to pay more than $52 million for violating a partnership it had with an MRI company.

The decision is the latest development in the St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center's lawsuit involving one the largest awards to come out of Idaho district courts.

Veterans Affairs
1:08 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Most Idaho Veterans Wait Less Than 30 Days For VA Appointment, Audit Finds

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A new audit from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shows that most Idaho veterans receiving care at the Boise VA Medical Center wait less than a month for their first appointment. But the average wait time for those who need to see a specialist is 52 days.

The wide-ranging audit, released Monday, is the first nationwide look at the VA network after an outcry arose over long wait times and cover-ups at the Phoenix VA center.

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Health Insurance
12:27 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Idaho's Obamacare Enrollment Beats Expectations

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's health insurance exchange announced Monday that more than 76,000 Idahoans have signed up for coverage through the new online marketplace created through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. 

“We are very, very pleased with the outcomes for our six months of the launch of Your Health Idaho,” said Executive Director Amy Dowd.

Dowd says the Congressional Budget Office wanted to have 40,000 Idahoans sign up through the exchange during the first six-month open-enrollment period. Your Health Idaho exceeded that target by more than 36,000 people.

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Health
9:28 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Nation's Largest Telemedicine Provider Leaves Idaho After Severe Sanction

Credit Charles Williams / Flickr Creative Commons

The practice of doctors treating patients over the phone, online or by videoconferencing is a growing subset of the health care system.

The Idaho Legislature passed a bill this year calling for stakeholders to set state standards for the practice of telemedicine. Lawmakers see telemedicine as an option to bring health care to sparsely populated rural areas and address a severe doctor shortage in the state.

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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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