Health

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As national confusion over the future of health care continues, an organization in Wyoming is pressing hospitals to be more transparent.

Twelve hospitals across the state participated in a survey by the Leapfrog Group, which works with the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health to evaluate providers in the state. 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming is proposing to raise health insurance rates by 48 percent in the coming year. That would mainly impact the 28,000 Wyomingites who get their coverage via the Federal Health Insurance Exchange.  

Those off the exchange and who get group insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield could also see a substantial increase. Spokeswoman Wendy Curran explained that Blue Cross Blue Shield is nervous about proposed changes in the current health care law. She said they are particularly concerned about threats to remove cost shared reduction subsidies.

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The Environmental Health Trust is holding a lecture and public forum in Jackson Monday night to discuss the potential dangers of cell phone and wireless radiation.

Dr. Devra Davis is the founder of the Environmental Health Trust and a visiting professor of medicine at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She said France recently released the results of its own tests on cell phone radiation. 

More healthcare providers around Wyoming are expressing worry over the Senate’s healthcare bill released last week.

The Downtown Clinic in Laramie provides primary care and emergency dental services to people without any healthcare coverage.

Pete Gosar, the clinic’s executive director, said the bill may make it more difficult to provide coverage there. The clinic recently had to extend its operating hours, staying open two days a week instead of one, to accommodate all 700 patients.

Christine Cabalo: http://www.mcbhawaii.marines.mil/News/News-Article-Display/Article/615289/taking-it-back-help-prevent-prescription-drug-abuse/

Prescription drug-related overdoses in Wyoming were five times higher in 2015 than in 2004, according to the Department of Health. That is one of the reasons that public health workers around the state are working to collect or deactivate medications.

Another reason is that drugs can contaminate the environment if they are flushed down the toilet or thrown away.

Planned Parenthood

Wyoming’s one and only Planned Parenthood branch in Casper will be closing its doors in July. The health center is among five others in the Rocky Mountain region that will be shutting down this summer. 

The decision to close the clinic was not entirely a financial one. That’s according to Adrienne Mansanares, a leader of Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood which oversees the Casper branch.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming U.S. Representative Liz Cheney was among those who voted to support the Republican overhaul of the Affordable Care Act. Cheney says the passage of the American Health Care Act by the House of Representatives will help Wyomingites purchase affordable care.  

American Cancer Society

The Wyoming Primary Care Annual Conference takes place in Casper May 3 - 5, and will bring together health care providers from around the state. Chief Cancer Control Officer for the American Cancer Society Dr. Richard Wender will be speaking at the conference. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to talk about the state’s cancer risks and what the American Cancer Society is doing to address them.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

The 8th annual Laramie Local Food Gathering will offer 12 workshops on “modern homesteading.” Topics range from how to raise small animals for meat and fiber to composting and soil improvement tips, and even one workshop just for kids on edible insects.

Chris Nicholson is director of the Water Resources Data System at the University of Wyoming. He’ll be speaking at the event on how climate change could affect gardening and ranching in southeast Wyoming.

Craig A. Miller

Governor Matt Mead is hosting the Second Annual Symposium on Suicide Prevention on May 10 in Cheyenne at the Little America Hotel. The event will present a variety of perspectives, from lived experience to prevention to treatment, and it’ll focus on solutions to an issue that touches the lives of far too many in Wyoming.

SageWest Health Care

Patients of SageWest Health Care in Lander who had surgery between December 2013 and October 2016 could have been exposed to non-sterile surgical equipment.

The Department of Health investigated the hospital four different times over the past three years, after surgeons reported visibly contaminated surgical instruments that were supposed to be sterile.

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As the January 31 deadline approaches to sign up for health insurance under the government’s health care marketplace, Senate Republicans are beginning plans to repeal the law that created that program.

It’s still unclear how lawmakers will replace the Affordable Care Act if it is repealed, and experts around the country are unsure what a reformed health care system should look like.

Adapt Pharma

Deputies with the Albany County Sheriff’s office and University of Wyoming police department officers have been trained to use Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, in hopes of preventing drug-related deaths.

Opioid overdoses have been on the rise nationally, and Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley said the Laramie area has experienced several such deaths in the last couple of years.

It’s impossible for someone using substances to know when they might overdose, said O’Malley, partly because it’s not easy to know the strength of narcotics.

Recover Wyoming

Earlier this month, authors in a new anthology on drug and alcohol recovery in Wyoming presented their work in Cheyenne.         

Laura Griffith is the founder of Recover Wyoming in Cheyenne and a former Wyoming Department of Health Treatment Manager. In the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Division, Griffith took part in a special training called the Emerging Leaders of Recovery. 

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The Wyoming Department of Health is asking for public input on tobacco sales violations, especially businesses selling to people under the age of 18. According to the national standard, each state is expected to keep the number of tobacco venders that have violated the laws below 20 percent.

According Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center’s Laran Despain, Wyoming’s violation rate since 2000 has been well below that with an average of 8 percent.

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Following the election, family planning centers in Wyoming say they saw a sharp increase in women seeking long-term contraceptives. But that surge has not been accompanied by increased funding for the cash-strapped clinics.

Nationwide, donations have poured into reproductive health organizations like Planned Parenthood, but in Wyoming, there is only one Planned Parenthood clinic, in Casper.

Wyoming saw higher rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and other sexual transmitted diseases in 2015 compared to reports from the previous year, according to recent data released by the Department of Health.

The report shows a 3 percent increase in chlamydia cases and a 150 percent rise in gonorrhea. Young people aged 15 to 24 accounted for a majority of these infections, which health officials say can have lasting health impacts.

United States Department of Agriculture

Recent data shows that childhood obesity rates among low-income families have decreased in Wyoming, down from nearly 11.8 percent in 2010 to 9.9 percent in 2014. 

healthcare.gov

On November 1, people will be able to sign up for this year’s round of health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Wyoming’s rates are expected to increase by roughly seven percent, and while the increase will be less than some other states, Wyoming’s insurance prices are typically among the highest in the country.

Public Domain

Attitudes toward marijuana use appear to be slightly changing in Wyoming. The Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center’s election year survey revealed an increase in support for legalizing marijuana for both personal and medical use.

However, WYSAC researcher Brian Harnisch said residents view each of those issues differently.

“A majority of Wyoming residents still oppose the recreational use of marijuana,” said Harnish. “While at the same time we have sort of an overwhelming majority of Wyoming residents that support the legalization for medical purposes.”

Wyoming Center On Aging

An upcoming Laramie workshop will work to empower people dealing with chronic disease. The Wyoming Center on Aging (WyCOA) at the University of Wyoming adopted Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and called the program “Healthy U.”

Wyoming will be the fiftieth state to offer the program.

Wyoming has the fourth highest suicide rate in the nation, but last week, the state joined the National Crisis Text Line to make it easier for people at risk of suicide to reach out for help. 

People can text "WYO" to 741-741 and hear back from a crisis counselor within five minutes. The counselors can help them talk through their problems, and then help them find services in their communities. 

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Wyoming NORML and Wyoming Purple Cross, medical marijuana advocate groups in the state, are hosting a public meeting to discuss the Peggy A. Kelly Wyoming Cannabis Act. Right now, the groups are working to get enough signatures to put the issue on the 2017 ballot. This would allow voters to decide whether or not to legalize medical marijuana in the state.

Wikimedia Commons

A new report reveals 29 percent of adults in Wyoming are obese, which puts Wyoming in 30th place nationwide.

The report was released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America’s Health. Spokesman Don Schwarz says Wyoming’s numbers have remained stable in the last few years. But when you look at the long term trends, the outlook is more problematic. In the mid-90s only 15 percent of Wyoming adults were overweight. Since then, obesity rates have doubled.

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A new program led by the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy will study how Type 2 diabetes patients around the state manage their disease.

As part of the Integrated Pharmacist Program, pharmacists take an online training on motivational interviewing. That way, when patients come into the pharmacy for diabetes or hypertension medication they can ask them questions about how they can focus their goals to better manage their condition.

American Cancer Society

According to a report by the American Cancer Society’s Action Network, Wyoming could do much more to reduce cancer rates. Each year, the report evaluates ten different policy areas that deal with prevention and quality of treatment in each state. Out of those ten areas, Wyoming only did well in two—oral chemotherapy fairness and funding for the state tobacco prevention program.

Beth.herlin via Wikipedia Commons

A Campbell County woman caught the Zika virus while traveling outside the country, and after her return started showing symptoms like fever, rash and joint paint. Department of Health spokeswoman Kim Deti says Wyoming was one of the last states to report a case.

The virus spreads through a certain type of mosquito, but Deti says those mosquitos cannot survive in Wyoming.

Bob Beck, Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming’s Title 25 program is $13 million dollars over budget and a group of legislators and others were told this week that reforms and policy changes are needed to slow down that spending. 

Title 25 covers court ordered hospitalizations for mental health and substance abuse patients. The state hospital doesn’t have enough beds to house those who need services, so the state has to pay private providers for that care. Natrona, Fremont, and Sweetwater County are driving the costs.  

Conniemod, Wikipedia Creative Commons

Wyoming Department of Health officials say Wyoming’s relatively high elevation could put people here more at risk for skin cancer.

“The thought process may be something closer to ‘Oh, I’m just going to go for a 30-minute run,’”said Morgan Powell with Wyoming Integrated Cancer Services. “But what they don’t realize is that the sun can damage our skin in as little as 15 minutes at our altitude.”

One22

Three non-profits that serve Teton County's lowest income residents and Latino community are merging into a single entity called One22. The Community Resource Center serves low-income residents who find themselves in crisis often due to housing or medical challenges. The center is merging with the Latino Resource Center and El Puente. 

The new group's Executive Director Mary Erickson says the merger will build better relationships with clients.

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