Health

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says Medicare has halted payments to a West Virginia psychiatric hospital because it is not in compliance with the program's requirements for a psychiatric hospital.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Medicare will not make payments for beneficiaries who are admitted to William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital effective Wednesday. Officials say it will continue to make payments for up to 30 days for beneficiaries admitted before Wednesday.

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Nearly $3.7 million has been awarded to health centers and rural health organizations across West Virginia.

The funding is aimed to help increase access to both substance abuse and mental health services. It’ll provide health centers with support to hire new staff, provide training, and to purchase health information technology.

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28 counties in West Virginia are at risk for a potential HIV outbreak, according to a 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the vulnerable communities are rural areas in southern West Virginia. Recently, more than $1 million in federal funding has been awarded to a West Virginia University project aimed at preventing an HIV outbreak in southern West Virginia. 


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West Virginia University plans to host what it's calling a summit meeting on health care policy for children on Thursday.

Scheduled speakers include former U. S. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV and former U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary and now American University President Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

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Joni Deutsch / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA) is hosting an event in Weirton Thursday evening, focused on helping minority residents across West Virginia.

HHOMA invites the public to speak about issues that affect their community, like economic concerns, housing, education and health. Those concerns will then be relayed to Governor Jim Justice. 


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President Donald Trump's Commission on the Opioid Crisis recently recommended that the president declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The commission said that such a declaration could free up money to fight the epidemic.

Back in April, we aired a special report about the opioid epidemic here in Appalachia. So this week, we’re going to revisit that story to remember how some Appalachians became addicted, and what a battle for sobriety can be like.

Marshall University

The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University has been awarded a new residency program, set to begin next summer. 

Marshall’s School of Medicine announced Wednesday its accreditation for a new neurology residency training program. 

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West Virginia health and education officials say immunizations for children are available at more than 380 Vaccines for Children provider locations, including local health departments.

They say uninsured or underinsured children can get free vaccinations at those sites.

Benny Becker

Back in March, Inside Appalachia aired a report about a rise in the number of chronic black lung cases. Since then, NPR’s ongoing investigation uncovered an additional 1,000 cases of the worst form of black lung disease in Appalachia. 

Senators Take Heat On Health Care During Summer Break

Jul 10, 2017

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went to the western Kentucky city of Paducah this week to talk about improvements to a local flood wall. Instead he heard a flood of complaints from more than 30 protesters upset about the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. 

“We will not go away, don’t destroy the ACA!” the protesters chanted, and relayed their concerns about the Senate bill’s projected cuts.

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West Virginia community health centers are getting $19 million in federal grants from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

The grants are to fund primary care services.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

If you live near a mining site – either old or active - is your health at risk? That’s what a committee from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine is trying to find out.

 

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Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There’s a group based in Jefferson County, West Virginia focused not only on improving health and wellness but also on incorporating the local community and history into that health experience.

courtesy Martinsburg VA Medical Center

West Virginia veterans earned over 30 medals last week at the national Golden Age Games. The competition is an athletic training program for veterans 55 years old or older and is designed to help veterans lose weight and become more physically fit.

About 800 veterans competed in the Golden Age Games competition in Biloxi, Mississippi May 7-11. Veterans from the Martinsburg VA Medical Center won medals in running, swimming, badminton, shot put and bicycling. Judi Roberts, from Martinsburg won first place in the discus competition.

Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs / http://www.clarksburg.va.gov/

Veterans who receive care from the Clarksburg VA medical center lead the nation in a program that prevents drug overdose deaths. The program distributes Naloxone rescue kits to veterans who are at risk of overdose. Many of the kits have been used by veterans to save civilians who may have otherwise overdosed from opioids.

Veterans returning from combat often struggle with chronic pain and/or mental illness, and many are taking multiple medications. When combined… or when alcohol or non-prescribed drugs are also taken, these drugs can lead to a deadly overdose.

Roxy Todd/ WVPB

Veterans are two times more likely than the civilian population to develop an addiction to opioids. The Veterans Health Administration, or VA, released a new set of guidelines in 2013 called The Opioid Safety Initiative, which concluded that opioids are not the best treatment for most types of chronic pain. Instead, VA doctors are encouraged to first advise their patients to try alternative therapies, like yoga, physical therapy, and chiropractic care.

Inside Appalachia's Roxy Todd spent some time at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center to learn more about the Mindful Yoga class— one of the alternative therapies they offer veterans who are suffering with chronic pain. 


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It’s been about 20 years since the opioid epidemic started. Appalachia has been called ground zero for this crisis, and the Mountain State leads the country in drug overdose deaths. This episode of Inside Appalachia explores how the epidemic is affecting veterans, who are twice as likely to become addicted to opioids than the general, or civilian, population. 


Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia is one of the unhealthiest states in the nation. The state is also in the middle of a budget crisis that impacts critical health services. At the state level, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources budget has been cut $181 million since 2015. Bill Crouch, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources cabinet secretary, said any more cuts would result in a reduction of services.

“The reality is that many of these cuts will affect individuals and communities and providers in communities,” he said.

Jessica Lilly

Coal mining has touched so many aspects of life in Appalachia. The coal industry has provided more than just jobs — it’s helped build towns, bridges and it’s even provided money for many Appalachians to go to college. We also have a deep cultural connection to coal and its history.

Still, there’s no denying the coal industry has changed the landscape of our mountains, and infected many miners with a deadly disease known as black lung.

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A new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report analyzed health across West Virginia, categorizing each county as “most healthy” (Jefferson County) or “least healthy” (McDowell). A variety of factors contributed to a county’s health status, such as environment, access to resources, education and youth disconnection.

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