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BOISE – Hundreds of poor North Idaho families could see their homes weatherized and made more energy-efficient thanks to the federal economic stimulus bill, Idaho lawmakers learned Thursday. “We can see putting a lot of people to work installing insulation, replacing windows in homes that will reduce the carbon footprint of Idaho,” said Idaho Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong. “It’s one-time – we fix a home, we fix the home forever.”
BOISE – An Idaho House committee on Wednesday unanimously rejected a proposed 5 percent pay raise for lawmakers, including themselves, this year. The vote in the House State Affairs Committee came as lawmakers are struggling with deep budget cuts, including Medicaid cuts for the disabled that drew heavy opposition at hearings Wednesday.
BOISE – People who’ve never been out of work before are increasingly flocking to Idaho’s Health and Welfare Department to apply for help including food stamps to Medicaid, state officials told lawmakers Tuesday. “Growing numbers of families and individuals ... are coming through our doors seeking assistance,” said Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong. “Many of them have not been out of work before, and may not have applied for assistance.”
Thousands of children enrolled in Washington’s Medicaid program have waited months for new eyeglasses. The backlog can be traced to new security protocols and computer software at the Airway Heights Corrections Center, where inmates work in a state-run optical lab to make every lens and frame for people served by the state’s subsidized insurance program. ■ In November the backlog of eyeglass orders – for both children and adults – peaked at 12,000. ■ Some kids have been without glasses since the start of the school year, prompting doctors and educators to worry about vision problems and obstacles to learning. “This entire thing is outrageous,” said Lori Williams. Her daughter Kiera, 9, has been waiting since late August for her new oval-shaped glasses with purple-blue frames.
A Silver Valley pharmacy paid $214,000 to settle accusations that it overcharged Medicaid, including allegations by the U.S. attorney's office that the pharmacy billed Medicaid patients more than other customers for the same prescription drugs. Kohal Pharmacy & Medical Supply did not admit guilt in the settlement, which was signed by owner Alan Kohal. The pharmacy has operations in Kellogg and Pinehurst.
Federal agents are investigating a Spokane doctors' clinic suspected of intentionally overbilling Medicare and Medicaid for years. The fraud probe at Northwest Nephrology Associates is extremely secretive, but has been going on for at least five months.