department of health

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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November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and the percentage of Wyoming adults with diabetes has nearly doubled in the last 15 years. That’s causing concern at the Wyoming Department of Health, where Chronic Disease Epidemiologist Joe Grandpre has been watching the situation unfold.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard checked in with Grandpre to find out why diabetes is a growing problem.

User TesaPhotography / pixabay

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and Wyoming’s percentage of adults with diabetes continues to cause concern.

Joe Grandpre  is the Chronic Diseases Epidemiologist at the Wyoming Department of Health. Grandpre says higher rates of diabetes in Wyoming can be attributed to the state’s rising rates of obesity, which is the leading cause of Type 2 Diabetes. He says he is also seeing more people being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at younger ages, and that will cost patients more.

Wyoming Department of Health

Diabetes in Wyoming has spiked in recent years. The Wyoming Department of Health says almost 9% of adults in Wyoming now have the disease, up from 4.5% in 2001.

Joe Grandpre is an epidemiologist with the Department of Health and says while that rate is already high, some areas of the population have been affected even more.

“So we have about 7.9 percent in white non-Hispanics in Wyoming," says Grandpre. "But in our American Indian population it’s 19.5, so almost one on five of our American Indian adults has been told they have diabetes. And with Hispanics it’s 13.7.”

Obesity rates around the country are rising drastically, and Wyoming  is no different - that’s according to a new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Around 27.8% of the adult population in Wyoming is obese, nearly double the rate 20 years ago.

Between 2012 and 2013, the state’s obesity rate rose 3.2%. That was one of the biggest spikes in the nation.

Joe Grandpre with the Wyoming Department of Health says the reasons for the state’s growing waistbands are simple.

As energy development increases across the country many states are starting to look into whether or not it would be a good idea to set up data bases to track possible health impacts directly attributed to energy development.  Colorado has developed an extensive system within its Department of Health to track and investigate health care impacts.  The State of Wyoming has not developed such a data base. Doctor Tracy Murphy is the state epidemiologist. He says the Department of Health rare fields calls of that nature.

Ad Campaign Will Encourage Testing

Mar 13, 2014

An advertising campaign will be used to try and encourage more people to get tested for H-I-V and other sexually transmitted diseases.  The Wyoming Department of Health’s KnoWyo campaign is used to encourage sexually active people to get tested for S-T-D’s.  Spokeswoman Kim Deti says the program has been effective.

“A lot of people who are infected may not realize that they are and the risk there is spreading it to other people.  And of course with public health in mind that’s something we want to prevent, we want to prevent the spread of those diseases.”

Ark Regional Services

Two years ago the Wyoming legislature asked the Wyoming Department of Health to look into the high costs of Medicaid services in the state.  The legislature wanted them to find ways to reduce those costs and see if there were also ways to reform Wyoming’s Developmental Disability waiver program, which costs the state 151 million dollars a year.

Plans to fine-tune a major state Developmental Disabilities program will continue, but changes will occur gradually.  

The Home- and Community-Based Waivers program provides services from intensive supervision to help with a number of tasks. 

But nearly 600 people are on the waiting list for services, and the Department of Health has been ordered to reduce the waiting list, without spending more money. 

The Wyoming Comprehensive Cancer Control Consortium will be starting the first statewide “Stupid Cancer” chapter to support young adult cancer survivors. 

Jessica Perez, an outreach coordinator with the Wyoming Department of Health, says that “Stupid Cancer” events focus on having fun and networking with other survivors between ages 15-39.

Gov. Matt Mead’s energy strategy is beginning to take shape. It is meant to provide a framework for balancing energy production and environmental protection, and should offer more certainty to industry and other stakeholders about energy development in the state.

Mead has devised a series of objectives, including expanding production, investing in more infrastructure, and attracting new industries.

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 reminding women to take steps to reduce their risk of cervical
cancer.
     Carol Peterson of the Wyoming Breast and Cervical Cancer Early
Detection Program says there has been significant progress in the
fight against cervical cancer in recent year.
     But a state Health Department report says Wyoming is ranked low
at 45th in the nation for women reporting they had at least one Pap
test in the past three years.
     Wyoming currently has a 78.3 percent Pap test screening rate,

Wyoming ranks fourth in the nation for its rate of organ and tissue donation and state health officials are urging more people to sign up.

Nearly 60 percent of Wyoming residents with driver's licenses and ID cards have agreed to donate their organs and tissues when they die.

Cherame Serrano with the Wyoming Department of Health says about 145 people in Wyoming are currently waiting for transplants.