Health

Amanda Romney / American Red Cross

Across the country, the American Red Cross received 61,000 fewer blood donations than usual over the last two months. That means the agency had to use some of its blood supply reserves and says the situation now is critical.

The region that covers Idaho suffered from the shortage as well. Idaho is part of an area that includes 120 hospitals here and in Utah, Nevada, and Montana. That region fell short by 2,200 donations over the past two months.

Todd F. Niemand / Flickr

Several motorcycle deaths throughout the Treasure Valley over the last week or so are causing alarm and raising questions about safety.

In a little over a week, five people around the Valley were killed in motorcycle accidents: three in Boise, one in Canyon County and another in Boise County.

The five deaths in such a short amount of time are particularly surprising given there were just five motorcycle deaths across the Treasure Valley in all of 2010.

AP

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has created a new health care panel for Idaho, and appointed the retiring head of the Health and Welfare Department to lead it.

It’s called the Governor’s Health Care Advisory Panel, or HCAP, and Otter created it last week by executive order. The group’s main job will be to review new federal or state health care initiatives and report to the governor and the Idaho Legislature.

The panel will provide research and guidance on health care policies. Members will also fine-tune the state's strategy for health care policy.

Over $250K Distributed To Magic Valley Nonprofits

Jun 2, 2017
St. Luke's Magic Valley / Facebook

St. Luke’s Health System is distributing over a quarter of a million dollars in grants to Magic Valley nonprofits.

A group of representatives from 30 area charity groups gathered to be awarded shares of $275,000 in Community Health Improvement Grants from St. Luke’s.

Idaho Governor's Office

Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced Wednesday he has picked a new head of the state’s Health and Welfare Department.

Otter is appointing Russ Barron to head the agency. Barron is deputy director and a longtime administrator at Health and Welfare.

Dank Depot / Flickr

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds children with severe epilepsy who suffer from seizures are being helped by a drug derived from marijuana. Findings stemming from the research trial could have impacts on Idaho policy.

Screengrab / Feeding America

A new report shows the number of people dealing with hunger in Idaho has dropped overall. But children in some parts of the state are still struggling to get enough to eat.

The annual study by Feeding America – a national network of food banks – shows that overall food insecurity in the state has decreased incrementally.

Otto Kitsinger / AP

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador says his answer to a question on health care at a recent town hall in northern Idaho wasn't very elegant.

Labrador has received criticism for his comment Friday that no one has died because they didn't have access to health care — a claim disputed by medical experts because they counter that patients without health coverage often risk waiting until their conditions have advanced too far for effective treatment.

Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump urged Senate Republicans on Sunday to "not let the American people down," as the contentious debate over overhauling the U.S. health care systems shifts to Congress' upper chamber, where a vote is potentially weeks, if not months, away.

Some senators have already voiced displeasure with the health care bill that cleared the House last week, with Republicans providing all the "yes" votes in the 217-213 count. They cited concerns about potential higher costs for older people and those with pre-existing conditions, along with cuts to Medicaid.

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

A plan from Congressional Republicans to replace Obamacare could result in a mass exodus from Idaho’s online health insurance exchange.

State officials say almost 60,000 people could leave the exchange under the new proposal. Your Health Idaho director Pat Kelly said Friday that’s because it removes tax credit subsidies and the requirement for individuals to have health insurance.

Lucas Polsson / Flickr Creative Commons

Two bills related to faith healing were introduced at the Statehouse Wednesday. The Chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee, Jeff Siddoway, said he’ll probably schedule a full public hearing for one or both of the competing measures.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

At least one member of Idaho's legislative delegation in Washington D.C. says he won't be supporting President Donald Trump's American Health Care Act.

Released by Republican lawmakers earlier this week, the new health care act is the much vaunted and long awaited replacement of former President Obama's healthcare law: the Affordable Care Act.

WBEZ / Flickr Creative Commons

Legislation designed to combat opioid addiction has been introduced in the Idaho Legislature.

Rep. John Gannon, a Democrat from Boise, said Monday his bill would slap a second-degree murder charge on anyone who sells heroin to a user who then directly or indirectly dies because of that sale.

The drastically increasing rates of painkiller and heroin abuse have alarmed public officials across the country, but lawmakers have repeatedly struggled to find the right solution as advocacy groups have pushed states to do more.

daya_devi / Flickr

More than 123,000 people in the country need an organ transplant. And it turns out Idahoans are signing up in big numbers on the donation list.

According to figures released Monday, the Idaho Transportation Department says more Idahoans, 64 percent, sign up to donate their organs, compared to the national average of 51 percent.

In 2016, Idahoans donated 169 organs to those in need. That’s up from 113 in 2015.

Spike In Flu Cases Affects Idaho's Older Residents

Jan 25, 2017
flu, flu shot, sickness
US Army Corps Of Engineers / Flickr Creative Commons

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is particularly widespread and acute in the Gem State this year. Ten people over the age of 50 have died from the flu so far this season in Idaho.

Boise’s Saint Alphonsus Medical Center reports seeing a spike in instances of flu this January compared to the same month last year. A spokesperson tells the Statesman the hospital has seen a 300 percent increase in cases of the illness.

www.plannedparenthood.org

Women will no longer be banned from receiving abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine in Idaho under a newly reached agreement.

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands announced Monday that the lawsuit settlement lifts unnecessary burdens on women seeking safe abortions.

The organization's lawsuit was directed at two laws passed in 2015 that required doctors to be present when administering pregnancy-ending pills.

U.S. Pacific Fleet

A southern Idaho man is the first person to die in the state from the flu this season.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports the man was over the age of 50 and died from an influenza-related illness. He’s the first person in Idaho to die in the 2016-2017 season.

Last flu season, 26 people died from the flu in Idaho. The average number of deaths in a year in the Gem State is 23. In the 2012-2013 season, 35 people died.

telephone, buttons, hotline
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is expanding its services by adding an additional phone line for people to call in crisis.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the new phone number will also accept text messages Mondays through Fridays, between 3 p.m. and midnight. Organizers announced the additional services on Monday.

pills, drugs
DestinysAgent / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho health officials plan to ask lawmakers for about $11 million annually to provide mental health and drug abuse services to the state's parole offenders who are at the highest risk of returning to prison.

Tom Shanahan, a spokesman with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, says the state is currently spending around $30,000 annually to serve the estimated 7,300 offenders identified with high mental health needs.

The department will make the request during the 2017 legislative session.

Federal officials say approximately 15,000 Idahoans may be eligible for tax credits if they purchase insurance through the state's health care exchange rather than skip the marketplace again while picking 2017 coverage.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that only residents who bought their 2017 plans on the Your Health Idaho website are qualified for a tax subsidy.

Health officials say the tax credits were designed to make coverage more affordable and protect consumers from the impact of rate increases.

A Nampa nursing home is under fire after a state investigation found residents were being mistreated.

The Idaho Statesman reports that an Idaho Health and Welfare Department report cited Holly Lane Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center for widespread problems that investigators say threatening the health and safety of residents and failed to protect them from abuse and negligence.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

As KBSX reported Wednesday, the biggest health risk associated with high levels of nitrates in drinking water is a condition called methemoglobinemia, which can make infants six months and younger sick. Babies who drink formula using nitrate-contaminated water are at risk of developing the condition.

Screenshot from video by Jason Urry / St. Lukes

Last month we told you the story of a Twin Falls doctor, who was once paralyzed, but was able to climb Idaho's tallest mountain. Now you can watch a video of his inspiring climb.

Jonathon Myers broke his neck ten years ago in a car accident. Paralyzed from the neck down, he fought back and learned how to walk again. He went to medical school and specialized in rehabilitation.

Idaho is working to reduce suicides in the state with a new $1 million program.

The Spokesman-Review reports that lawmakers this year allocated ongoing funding and changed the law that governs the mission of the state Department of Health and Welfare to specifically include suicide prevention.

To celebrate the ongoing efforts, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter on Thursday declared this week Suicide Prevention Week in the city.

Leaflet / Wikimedia Commons

A hospital trying to raise money for a high-tech piece of equipment to help its patients might be newsworthy. Someone who was once paralyzed and is now climbing Idaho’s tallest mountain certainly would be. Now a Twin Falls doctor who thought he’d never walk again is climbing Borah Peak Wednesday in order to raise money for a machine to help his patients learn to walk again.

Pages