Posts tagged: Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
Three people have died from the flu in Idaho, the state Department of Health & Welfare reports, all women over age 50; one was from southeastern Idaho and two from southwestern Idaho. “With the holiday season fast approaching, we strongly urge people to be vaccinated for flu so they and their loved ones remain healthy through the season,” said Dr. Kathryn Turner, the department's communicable disease prevention bureau chief.
This year's flu shot is a “great match to the circulating strains,” Turner said. “However, it takes about two weeks before peak antibody levels are reached and the vaccine’s protection is maximized. Unfortunately, only about a third of adults and 40 percent of children have received the flu vaccine so far this season. We’d really like to see an increase in vaccinations so people have a better chance at staying healthy.”
Click below for the full announcement from Health & Welfare.
Flu season has arrived in southwestern Idaho, the state Department of Health & Welfare reports, with cases already being reported in schools and long-term care facilities. Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, deputy state epidemiologist, said it's shown up earlier than usual. “With the approaching holidays and planned family gatherings, we strongly urge people to get vaccinated now to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Tengelsen said. Click below for the full announcement from Health & Welfare.
The Idaho Department of Health & Welfare has received its full report from consultant Leavitt Partners on potential expansion of Medicaid in Idaho under the Affordable Care Act. The governor's Medicaid expansion working group has scheduled a Sept. 27 meeting to review the report; click here for the full meeting announcement and links to the full report and its executive summary.
Among the report's findings: There's no deadline for the state to decide whether or not to expand its Medicaid program, and states can opt out of the expansion at any time. If Idaho decides to expand, the report recommends doing so in 2014, giving the state a full three years of 100 percent federal funding, and the option of opting out after those three years. That would require taking steps now to prepare, it notes. Other points in the report: Most of those who would become eligible for expanded Medicaid in Idaho have income of less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level - 75 percent fall below that level, and despite those low incomes, 64 percent are employed.
Idaho's existing Medicaid program offers no coverage to childless adults. Its current income limit for jobless parents is about 21 percent of the federal poverty level - that's $4,584 a year for a family of four - and for working parents, 39 percent. The expansion would cover people with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty line.
Three guardians for developmentally disabled Idaho residents have dropped their lawsuit against the state over Medicaid changes, reports AP reporter Rebecca Boone; click below for her full report. The attorney for the group said the shift to a single provider of residential habilitation services for such patients statewide will result in more work for law enforcement and emergency rooms.
A group of severely disabled Idahoans is suing the state after the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare cut their Medicaid benefits by as much as 40 percent, then refused to tell them why, saying its formula for the benefits is a “trade secret,” and therefore exempt from release under the Idaho Public Records Law, the AP reports; the secrecy makes it nearly impossible for the patients to appeal the decisions. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.
Leslie Clement, Medicaid administrator for Idaho's Department of Health & Welfare, is being promoted to deputy director overseeing Medicaid, Behavioral Health and Managed Care Services, replacing Deputy Director Dick Schultz, who is retiring after 33 years with the state. Daily administration of the Idaho Medicaid program will be handled by Paul Leary, who is being promoted to Idaho Medicaid plan administrator.
Dick Armstrong, state Health & Welfare director, said, “Like almost every state, Idaho is struggling with escalating Medicaid and mental health costs. Our challenge is to control those costs through managed care strategies while continuing to provide participants with necessary medical care. We are thrilled to have Leslie Clement lead our managed care efforts. She is a knowledgeable, well-respected, and an engaging leader who is skilled in building consensus with very difficult policy issues.”
Clement, who's been with the state since 2000 and has a master’s degree in public administration, said, “We have had to make very difficult decisions over the past few years and although we aren’t out of the woods yet, it is necessary for us to begin laying the groundwork for a different approach to the current health and social services delivery system.” You can read the department's full announcement here.