Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Medicaid
1:22 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Supreme Court Takes Up Idaho Medicaid Challenge

Credit 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.

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West Nile Virus
11:46 am
Fri August 22, 2014

5 Human Cases Of West Nile Virus Reported In Idaho

The latest data for West Nile cases in Idaho
Credit Map by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

The number of West Nile virus cases in Idaho have gone up this month in humans and mosquitoes.  
 

Human cases of West Nile were reported in four counties recently, Blaine, Lincoln, Payette, and Washington.  

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Health
11:39 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Blaine County Reports Idaho's First Human Case Of West Nile Virus This Year

Captured mosquitoes to be tested for West Nile
Credit bannokcountymosquito.com

Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare has confirmed the state’s first human case of West Nile virus of 2014. A Blaine County woman in her 20s is recovering from a virus-induced fever. Eight other Idaho counties have found West Nile in mosquitoes this summer, but the Blaine County case is the first confirmed human infection.

Last year, 40 known people in Idaho contracted West Nile and two died. A 2006 outbreak saw nearly 1,000 cases and 23 deaths in Idaho.

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Health
12:32 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

West Nile Virus Found In Ada County

Credit Ben Rauch / Flickr

West Nile virus is in Ada County. A mosquito trap near Star, Idaho tested positive for West Nile this week. It the first instance of the disease in Ada County this year.

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Vital Statistics
5:55 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Fewer People Are Getting Married In Idaho, More Are Having Babies

Credit Allan / Flickr

More Idaho babies are being born outside of marriage than ever before, and the state's marriage rate is at a 60-year low, that's according to a recent report from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The latest Vital Statistics Annual Report is for 2012 and it covers everything from births, population, marriages, and deaths.

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Policy
7:28 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Idaho Woman's Fight For Foster Daughter Reveals A System Of Difficult Choices

Andrea Butler of Rathdrum, Idaho, stands in the room Dee had in her home for the four-and-a-half years Butler fostered her.

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 2:43 pm

Adoptions are usually private affairs, sealed forever in court documents and known only to the families involved. But recently, one decision by Idaho's Department of Health and Welfare exploded into the public sphere.

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Audit
2:01 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

State Auditors: Idaho Misspent $2.5 Million In Welfare Funds

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

State auditors say the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare misspent $2.5 million in federal funding on salaries instead of using it for food stamps and other assistance for Idaho's poorest residents.

The finding by the Office of Performance Evaluation was part of the state's annual audit of how federal cash is used.

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Food Stamps
3:33 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Why Idahoans Can Expect A 5 Percent Decrease In Food Stamp Benefits Next Month

Credit beancounter / Flickr

A temporary increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, expires at the end of October. That means 47 million Americans, including 221,717  people in Idaho, will see less money each month for food.

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Salmonella
5:28 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Idaho Part Of Salmonella Outbreak, But No Recent Cases Reported

Credit eltpics / Flickr

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a public health alert for raw chicken packaged at three Foster Farms facilities in California.  That’s after 278 people have fallen ill. 

The Salmonella outbreak has spread to 18 states including Idaho.  Niki Forbing-Orr is with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.  She says two people in Idaho got sick in April and June, but neither person reported eating chicken. So it’s unclear how they got the same bacteria. 

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Air Quality
2:04 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Ketchum's Air Quality "Hazardous," Treasure Valley Gets More Smoke

Credit Anne Jefferey / InciWeb

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is warning people in the Wood River Valley to stay indoors and avoid physical activity. This comes after smoke from nearby wildfires has engulfed the area. The Beaver Creek Fire is burning just southwest of Ketchum in the Sawtooth National Forest.

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WIC
1:28 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Cost Of Living Increases Mean More Idahoans Could Qualify For Food Assistance

Credit Katerha / Flickr Creative Commons

A change in income guidelines means more Idahoans could qualify for food assistance through the WIC program.

The supplemental nutrition program Women, Infants and Children, or WIC provides certain foods to pregnant or breastfeeding moms and families with children under age five. Starting July 1, a cost-of-living adjustment goes into effect.

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Public Health
4:49 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Frozen Fruit Sold In Idaho Linked To Hepatitis Outbreak

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says berries sold at Costco stores may be linked to an outbreak of hepatitis.

The frozen berry brand, 'Townsend Farms organic Anti-Oxidant Blend', has been pulled from Costco's shelves, and the store says to toss out any remaining product.

Although Idaho Costco stores carry these frozen berries, the health department says illness associated with the fruit hasn't been reported in Idaho.

Here's more information from the Department of Health and Welfare:

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Food Stamps
7:00 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Mapping Food Insecurity And Food Stamp Use In Idaho

In January, 231,647 people in Idaho were on food stamps.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, helps low-income families.  But in Idaho, 17 percent of people are food insecure.  The hunger relief charity Feeding America says they don’t have access to enough food for an active, healthy life. 

Click on a county to find out how many people are on food stamps, and how many are food insecure.

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Influenza
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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Medicaid
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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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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Drug Recalled
2:24 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Contaminated Drug That May Cause Meningitis Shipped To Idaho

prashant_zi Flickr

Two Idaho medical facilities received the steroid injections believed to be responsible for a deadly meningitis outbreak.  Nationally, 47 people have been diagnosed with the illness and five people have died.  No one in Idaho has reported getting sick. 

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Medicaid
3:42 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Lawmakers Discuss Whether To Expand Idaho’s Medicaid Program

nooccar Flickr

Who will be eligible for Medicaid if Idaho expands its program under the Affordable Care Act?  That’s the question lawmakers asked Monday of state Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong.  He’s part of a 15 member panel studying the option. 

Armstrong says the panel has gathered a lot of information so far.  But he says the federal government has not set some of the guidelines that will determine who would get to sign up for the expanded plan.  That means officials are left to guess how many residents would eligible.  

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West Nile
5:09 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

West Nile Cases On The Rise In Idaho

jon.hayes Flickr

West Nile cases are on the rise in Idaho.  The state now has eight human cases of West Nile and five additional reports of the mosquito-borne illness are under investigation. 

Niki Forbing-Orr with Idaho’s Health and Welfare Department says the state is doing better than other states, like Texas. “So far the CDC is reporting 888 human cases there.  All 48 states of the mainland United States have reported west nile activity and nationally 87 people have died," she says.  "We’ve not had any deaths in Idaho yet, so we’re crossing our fingers that we don’t.”

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Air Quality
8:41 pm
Sun August 12, 2012

'Unhealthy' Air Quality Expected For Much Of Southern Idaho

Real-time air quality monitor map. Go to http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/ for the latest.
Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says smoke from wildfires burning around the region is causing poor air quality in the southern part of the state.

Air quality levels are listed as 'unhealthy' in some parts of the state, and are expected to stay that way for much of the weekend.

The Department encourages people to limit outdoor activity, especially for people with respiratory diseases like asthma, infants, children and older adults. 

Here's their press release:

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