health care

The University of Wyoming’s Fay Whitney School of Nursing has been chosen to participate in a $3 million initiative aimed at transforming nursing education.  The initiative is called the Future of Nursing State Implementation Program.  UW School of Nursing Dean Mary Burman says the effort is intended to address issues that include health care access, quality and cost.  Burman says in Wyoming, they will look at three key issues.

Flu season is starting earlier than usual in Wyoming. Department of Health Spokeswoman Kim Deti says February and March are usually the peak times for the illness, and it’s not clear why the season is starting early.

Deti says everyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot. She says the vaccines are not guaranteed to prevent getting the flu, but they’re the best protection available.

The Wyoming Department of Health is looking for medical professionals to volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps.

The Health Department’s Angelyn Mayes says Medical Reserve Corps volunteers do a variety of things to help local emergency responders: “A lot of them are used for fire rehab for the firefighters. We have some that assist with mental health for emergencies, when there are a lot of people that have some mental health issues from trauma or different things like that.”

A federal health official has high hopes that a health insurance exchange will help people get affordable health care insurance, even in Wyoming.  An exchange is an on-line marketplace where people can compare policies and costs. 

Mike Fierberg with the U-S Department of Health’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services notes that many worried that a similar effort, known as the Medicare Part D prescription drug program would suffer from a lack of competition.  He says that certainly has not been the case.

Host Intro: Healthcare experts gathered in Jackson this week to spell out what the Supreme Court ruling about the Affordable Care Act could mean for patients in Wyoming. Rebecca Huntington has more...

REBECCA HUNTINGTON: About a hundred people attended the talk, which was held in a classroom at St. John's Medical Center.

Earlier this year the Wyoming legislature told the State Department of Health to study the rising costs of Medicaid and determine if the program can be changed.  

This week the Department will begin a series of meetings to see if members of the public have ideas on how the program can be both more efficient and improved.  Medicaid pays for the health care of low income people and those with disabilities.  Health Department Spokeswoman Kim Deti  says this is not just about trimming the budget.         

      Wyoming U-S Senator John Barrasso continues to hope that the U-S Supreme Court will toss out the entire Affordable Care Act and force Congress to develop a new health care overhaul.  

If that happened, some popular programs– including the ability for children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26 – would go away.  During an appearance on FOX News, Barrasso said that would be part of any new legislation.

Earlier this month the state legislature ended funding for an experimental program called Healthy Frontiers, it was Wyoming’s latest effort to save the state health care money.  The idea was also supposed to reduce costs to Wyoming’s Medicaid program and reduce the numbers of those who drive up costs by depending on the more expensive emergency room to cover their health care needs.  Some say Wyoming’s problems will be solved by the federal health reform plan known as the Affordable Care Act, but the future of that plan is unknown.  Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports.

Wyoming lawmakers are sitting on pins and needles as the Supreme Court takes up the health care law this week. Democrats passed the law, and Republicans despise it and are resting their political fortunes on overturning it.

Health Insurance exchange to be discussed

Mar 20, 2012

    A Wyoming Business Organization is hosting a forum next week about a state Health Insurance Exchange.  A health insurance exchange is an on-line marketplace where people can more easily purchase and compare health insurance coverage.  Anne  Ladd of the Wyoming Business Coalition on Health says her organization favors a health insurance exchange because it addresses rising costs for employers.  Ladd says the concept allows budgeting.

A state run health care pilot project continues to struggle to get participants, and Governor Matt Mead recently wonders about its future. 

The Healthy Frontiers project helps low income people who don’t qualify for government assistance programs to get health careand gets people access to a doctor which is paid for by a health care savings account.  Governor Mead says a number of people have signed up for the program, only to drop out.

Officials at Sheridan Memorial Hospital have been notified that the hospital could be downgraded from a tier one hospital to tier two by the Wyoming School Board Association Insurance Trust otherwise known as WSBAIT. The rating does not reflect the level of service provided by Sheridan Memorial, but rather reflects that educators covered by WSBAIT will now have to pay more out of pocket for services at the hospital than to hospitals rated tier one by the trust.

A jury in Cheyenne handed down the largest medical malpractice verdict in Wyoming history.  The case centered on Louis Prager, who was rushed to the emergency room after an auto accident in 2008.  The doctor, Brian Cullison, failed to diagnose his broken neck.  As a result,  Prager’s left shoulder remains paralyzed;  he’s unable to work;  and he’s in constant pain.

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