Health

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Less than 30 percent of Idaho kids get developmental screenings recommended by doctors. That’s according to a report out this week from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids get screened for developmental problems at nine-months-old, 18-to-24 months and at 30 months.

Perry Brown, pediatric education director at the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho says those screenings are questionnaires doctors give to parents. Brown leafs through a file and pulls one out for parents of a 24-month-old.

medical stock, scale, healthcare
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Because the federal heath insurance exchange website has been plagued by troubles including outages, the head of Idaho's marketplace says the state is stepping up to make it easier for people to sign up for health insurance.

Amy Dowd leads Your Health Idaho, the state’s health insurance exchange. Until next year, Idaho is using the federal portal to sign up consumers online.

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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A southwestern Idaho school district is building an in-school medical clinic at Meridian's poorest elementary school in an effort to boost student health and reduce absenteeism.

Meridian School District Superintendent Linda Clark told the Idaho Statesman that the clinic will be the first in-school clinic in Idaho.

A lawyer hired to review how Idaho insurance exchange leaders awarded a no-bid, $375,000 contract to a board member says he'll be finished within a week.

Fred Mack, a corporate governance specialist at a Boise law firm, said Wednesday the bill for his investigation of the contract between Your Health Idaho director Amy Dowd and former board member Frank Chan won't exceed $15,000.

Last week, Chan canceled his contract to manage a big exchange technology project.

Butch Otter, state of the state
Aaron Kunz / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter wants the requirement for everybody to have insurance by 2014 delayed 12 months amid glitches in Internet health care exchanges across the nation, including Idaho.

Idaho is currently relying on federal software to enroll people in coverage via its Your Health Idaho insurance exchange.

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Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and 39 of his colleagues want tougher regulations for electronic cigarettes. The group hopes the federal government will act by Halloween.

The group sent a letter in September to the Food and Drug Administration. In it, the Attorneys General say e-cigarettes use nicotine, which is an addictive substance.

Drugs, substance abuse
Ed Wohlfahrt / Flickr Creative Commons

  Idaho's drug czar has launched a new campaign focused on the abuse and myths of prescription drug abuse.

Office of Drug Policy Administrator Elisha Figueroa announced the campaign Monday in coordination with the Idaho Prescription Drug Abuse Workgroup.

Together, the groups are getting behind a statewide multimedia blitz to educate teens and adults on the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.

An Idaho lawmaker called it "totally inappropriate" for the state's Internet insurance exchange to award a no-bid contract worth up to $375,000 to a member of its board of directors.

Sen. Jim Rice, a Canyon County Republican who sits on Your Health Idaho's 19-member board, on Friday criticized the decision by exchange executive director Amy Dowd to give board member Frank Chan the $180 per hour contract to oversee a big technology project.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho insurance exchange board member resigned the same day he got a contract worth up to $375,000 annually to oversee a multi-million technology project with the Internet insurance marketplace.

Frank Chan resigned from the Your Health Idaho board Wednesday.

Chan's company will get $180 hourly to oversee the exchange's technology vendors as Your Health Idaho switches from a software system provided by the federal government to a state-based system to take applications for health care coverage.

Idaho insurance exchange leaders may hike fees by as much as 75 percent within two years, according to emails indicating existing fees could be insufficient to sustain the Internet health coverage marketplace's operations.

The Your Health Idaho exchange opened last week, with the web site disrupted by heavy traffic from potential enrollees.

The exchange now charges a 1.5 percent assessment on each policy, to build operational reserves.

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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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Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Seven days after Idaho's online health insurance exchange launched, the organization's director says there are still problems with the website, but it's working slowly.

Your Health Idaho Director Amy Dowd told state lawmakers. Idaho is building its own website, but for now, the state is using the federal portal.

What You Need To Know About Idaho's Health Insurance Exchange

Oct 1, 2013
Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idahoans who don’t have health insurance can now start to shop for and buy insurance through the state’s online marketplace which launches today.

Nearly 19 percent of Idaho’s population under the age of 65 don’t have health insurance. Up to 200,000 Idahoans could be eligible for the subsidized health insurance or Medicaid through the state exchange.

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

The board overseeing Idaho's health insurance exchange has given its approval to the security system designed to protect consumer financial and personal information.

The 19-member board certified the security system Monday — one day before the exchange will go live.

Meanwhile, insurance agents are wondering if the online marketplace will pose any benefit to their businesses.

Exchange director Amy Dowd contends the exchange is an opportunity for agents and brokers to gain a share of the 200,000 people estimated to shop for policies.

Idaho's $70 million insurance exchange starts Tuesday for as many as 200,000 people in the state to enroll via the Internet for federally subsidized insurance, a key component to President Barack Obama's health overhaul.

Just don't expect to see an immediate marketing blitz: Television, newspaper and other ads due to cost $3.5 million initially won't be ready until mid-October.

Idaho's insurance exchange lost its only for-profit health insurer, cutting nearly 10 percent of the marketplace's coverage offerings even before the Internet marketplace opens its doors Tuesday.

Altius Health Plans was slated to have 15 different policies on the Idaho exchange.

With its exit, only 146 health and dental insurance policies will be offered.

Altius' departure, coming after its parent company was purchased by insurance giant Aetna, cuts into one of the Idaho exchange's goals.

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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.

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

Federal officials insist people who enroll in Idaho's Internet health insurance marketplace starting Tuesday shouldn't fear for their personal-data privacy.

That's despite last-minute concerns among some foes of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that more must be done to protect privacy.

New advisories from health officials in Washington and Oregon warn that some fish in the Columbia River aren’t safe to eat.

Chobani, Greek Yogurt
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Food and Drug Administration reports at least 89 people have reported getting sick after eating Chobani Greek yogurt manufactured in Twin Falls, Idaho.

FDA spokeswoman Tamara Ward told The Times-News on Monday that some have described nausea and cramps.

No link has been confirmed between the illnesses and the yogurt. However, Ward says the FDA is working with Chobani to hasten its voluntary recall.

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Yogurt maker Chobani says the mold that triggered a recall of some of its Greek yogurt cups this week is not associated with foodborne illnesses like salmonella or E. coli.

The company identified the mold Friday as a common species that usually affects fruits, vegetables and other plants. It has also been linked to previous cases of spoiled yogurt.

Cornell University Professor Randy Worobo says the mold "should not pose a health risk to most consumers." Worobo is a professor of food science.

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network will screen a new movie in Boise Thursday to help raise funds for people who face breast and ovarian cancer.

The movie Decoding Annie Parker stars Helen Hunt and Idaho actor Aaron Paul. 

Jennifer Poole with the American Cancer Society says the film is based on real events. “It’s about the journey of research doctor and a breast cancer patient, to determine there is a genetic connection for some woman as to why they get breast cancer and ovarian cancer.”

Medical, Health Care
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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Yogurt maker Chobani notified stores over the weekend to pull potentially spoiled product from its shelves, but a Costco representative said the company received reports from retailers about tainted product two or three weeks ago.

Craig Wilson is vice president of quality assurance for Costco Wholesale Corp. He told The Times-News that Costco pulled Chobani yogurt manufactured in Twin Falls from its shelves in the San Francisco Bay area and the Northwest region weeks ago and is only accepting yogurt from the company's East Coast plant.

Map: Rural Idaho Counties Have Largest Share Of Uninsured People

Aug 29, 2013
Map, insurance
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The number of uninsured Idahoans has dropped to its lowest level since 2007. Data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 18.9 percent of Idahoans under the age of 65 didn't have health insurance in 2011. That marks a decline in the share of uninsured Idahoans since 2010 when the rate was 20.3 percent.

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