Health

DHHS

Eligible Wyoming residents will be getting new Medicare cards in the mail this week. 

NPR

The Wyoming Department of Health will be using a national advertising campaign to assist with state efforts to combat opioid abuse. State Epidemiologist Alexia Harrist said the campaign from the Centers for Disease Control tells stories of abuse and addiction.

A nine-year-old boy in Colorado took his own life on the first week of school this year. The tragedy highlighted a pervasive problem in the state and in the Mountain West region as a whole -- the high suicide rate -- especially among youth. Goal Academy in Pueblo, Colorado is a charter program with high schools around the state that focuses on both academic and mental wellbeing.   

If you’re poor and you get really sick in Idaho, your health care options might be really different than say, if you live in Colorado or Montana.

 


Utah-based hospital system Intermountain Healthcare released new details today about its plan to start manufacturing its own generic drugs. Representatives said it’s a new approach to driving down drug prices.

Although we live in the West not everyone has the opportunity to ride a horse. A summit in Jackson is trying to make horses accessible to more people. Even if you live far away and sometimes need help going through your day today.

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A new campaign called “End Family Fire” is working to educate people about the 4.6 million kids that live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns. The Brady Campaign is taking out advertisements on TV, in newspapers and online to teach people how to talk openly about safety and how to store their guns properly.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported record drug overdose numbers in 2017, but a handful of states saw a decrease last year including here in the Mountain West.


Measles is making a comeback in the U.S. as more parents choose not to vaccinate their children. The childhood disease is a major killer in much of the developing world, but now the public health community is trying to re-educate families about the importance of childhood vaccinations. That includes a new program in Utah.

A state-by-state analysis of opioid prescriptions for people who visited emergency rooms with a sprained ankle show one in four patients were given opioids for pain.

The study looked at insurance claims for ER visits between 2011 and 2015.

At the low end, prescribing rates were around three percent and at the high end 40. The overall average was 25 percent.

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Teton County Commissioners recently voted not to file a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Greg Kevarian

Young children in rural areas are unintentionally injured by guns at higher rates than kids in cities, according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

2018 Kids Count Data Book

A large part of our region isn't doing very well when it comes to child health. That's according to the 2018 Kids Count Data Book out today.

The Supreme Court ruled today that so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” do not have to make it clear to clients that they are not licensed medical facilities.

Melodie Edwards / Wyoming Public Radio

Nearly 75,000 people in Wyoming qualify as food insecure, meaning they struggle with hunger and access to healthy foods. That’s almost 13 percent of the state and it’s even higher for children. That’s why several groups—including Centcible Nutrition, Casper’s Food For Thought, Gillette’s Sharing the Harvest and the Wind River Reservation’s Growing Resilience—met for a summit last month to discuss the need for a food policy council. Wyoming is the only state without such a council. 

Protests and blockades of clinics that perform abortions are up dramatically around the nation, including Colorado, the first state in the union to pass a law legalizing abortion more than fifty years ago.  

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Carbon County recently filed suit against opioid manufacturers and distributors, and Teton County is considering the idea too. But Wyoming’s attorney general would rather the state take the lead on an opioid lawsuit.

A new health care study shows that so-called “deaths of despair” have doubled in the U.S. in recent years, but Wyoming is among the ten states struggling with the problem the least. That’s according to the Commonwealth Fund Scorecard, a report on state health care systems. But in general, the report shows that Wyoming’s health care is still lagging in many areas, coming in 33rd in the country overall.

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Five agencies around Wyoming will split a $2-million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal organization, to help combat opioid abuse in the state. It’s a national five-year grant program and this is the second year Wyoming has received it. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report this week saying that the Department of Agriculture has "sidelined science" and "betrayed farmers.” The group is particularly concerned about antibiotics.

Teen birth rates have been going down for a while now but in one mountain west state -- Colorado --  they’ve gone down more than the rest of the nation. Could it be related to the national trend of kids having less sex or an attempt to make IUDs more accessible?

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A new report by the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center shows that opioid abuse in the state is following the same rising trends as the rest of the nation, but isn’t seeing the skyrocketing rates of Appalachia and New England.

In Wyoming, recreational use of opioid medications is most common among young adults, according to research at the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. That’s why an addiction advocacy group is rolling out a new campaign to educate Wyoming’s youth about misinformation they might be getting about these drugs.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton

The Wyoming Department of Health has added two vaccines to the list of those required for children to attend school or daycare in the state. One of the two is a vaccine for rotavirus, which affects the stomach and intestines. According to State Epidemiologist Alexia Harrist, the rotavirus vaccine can only be given to babies younger than eight months old.

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More teen suicide threats than average have been reported to the emergency room in Teton County. Normally, there’s only a couple a year, but recently that number rose to 16 in a four-month period.

Previously, the hospital didn’t have an ideal space to handle such cases. It required kids to be held under guard for 24 hours and doctors and nurses weren't equipped to offer therapy.

Wyoming Department of Health

The Wyoming Department of Health recently rolled out a new mobile phone app intended to provide health tracking and management tools to families across Wyoming. The app’s features include height and weight trackers, as well as feeding and growth trackers for pregnant moms and newborns. By entering their zip code, residents can also access local resources. 

Dr. James Bush, Wyoming’s Medicaid director, said the app initially began as a project solely for pregnant women, but has since expanded, and is designed to work well for Wyomingites from all stages of life.

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Radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the state after smoking, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that exists in nature.

"When uranium breaks down in the soil, radon is a by-product, and radon can get into your home through cracks or your plumbing, or any space that allows air to enter your home," said Integrated Cancer Services Program Outreach Coordinator Allie Bain.

Albany Community Health Clinic

Healthcare providers in Laramie say they’re seeing an increase in addiction. In response, the Albany Community Health Clinic -- which serves patients regardless of their ability to pay -- is adding mental health and substance abuse services to the comprehensive primary-care it offers. With a grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, the clinic is now able to hire additional mental health providers.

 

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Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley said in his first 30 years in law enforcement he encountered heroin only twice, but now illicit drugs -- including meth and cocaine -- are something his department deals with all the time.

 

For those individuals struggling with addiction who end up in the Albany County Detention Center, the immediate shift to sobriety can bring on intense physical and emotional stress, according to O’Malley. That’s why he wants to start offering inmates acupuncture to relieve the side effects of withdrawal.

Wyoming Institute For Disabilities

The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities, or WIND, has begun work on several new initiatives after finalizing its latest 5-year strategic plan.

Canyon Hardesty, the director of community education and training at WIND, said there are several projects she is excited about, including their friendships and dating course. Through that program, individuals with disabilities receive training and mentorship on healthy relationships.

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