Health Care

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A new task force will track health care crimes in West Virginia.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia Bill Powell announced the task force's creation in a news release Friday. The Health Care Crimes Task Force will investigate prosecute illegal activities like fraud and opioid diversion.

Century Aluminum

A federal judge in West Virginia has approved a $23 million settlement that will provide health care benefits for retired workers at Century Aluminum.

Media outlets report U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver on Monday approved the settlement reached in February, ending a six-year court fight.

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In part one of this occasional series, Windows Into Health Care, health reporter Kara Lofton talks with Crittenton Services CEO and President Kathy Szafran on the issue of Trauma and Poverty.

Szafran outlines work Crittenton is doing to provide trauma-informed elementary schools - exploring ways to break the cycle of trauma by working with both kids and their families and provide insight into the effect trauma can have on the developing brain. 

Senate Republicans have at least narrowed the options on what comes next for the Affordable Care Act — casting two separate votes since Tuesday that knocked out a "repeal-only" proposal and rejected a plan for replacement.

So, as lawmakers resume debate on Thursday, they will be staring at basically one possibility: a so-called "skinny repeal" that would surgically remove some key provisions from Obamacare, while leaving the rest intact — at least for now.

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West Virginia’s Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito says she’ll vote for the Senate to go forward and debate legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Capito, in a statement Tuesday, says she’ll make decisions that are “in the best interests of West Virginians.”

Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin
Associated Press

West Virginia’s Republican U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said Tuesday that she won’t vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement that meets the needs of the people in her state.

NIHCM Foundation

A new study published this month by the National Institute of Health Care Management found that from 2006-2015, out-of-pocket spending on health care increased 24 percent while median personal income increased only 17 percent.

The study tracked health care spending across all sectors of the health care system.

Researchers found that health care costs are on the rise across the country and everyone is bearing the burden, not just patients, but also hospitals and insurance companies.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community groups across the state held several town-hall style events focused on changes to America’s health care system during the past week. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., attended four of the events and was the only member of West Virginia’s congressional delegation to do so.

F. Brian Ferguson / The Charleston Gazette-Mail

Despite hailing from Vermont, former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders attempted to shine a light on poverty in middle America this weekend with a stop in West Virginia. Sanders held a town hall in McDowell County for an MSNBC taping of “All In with Chris Hayes.”  

The United Mine Workers of America Health and Retirement Funds sent a letter to retired miners warning them that their health benefits won’t continue after May 1, 2017, if Congress doesn’t act by the end of April. 

Energy and health care. They’re the two issues in the presidential race that could have the greatest impact on West Virginians.

On this week's Viewpoint, we look at where the Democrat Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on the two issues with a report from The Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier and an interview with Kara Lofton, West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Appalachia Health New Coordinator. 

Steve Inskeep/ NPR

It's election season and we want to know what Appalachians are looking for in a new president. We’ll hear from a former coal miner from Whitesburg, Ky, Gary Bentley. We'll also hear from a veteran who lives in Bristol, Va., Ralph Slaughter.

Steve Inskeep/ NPR

It's election season and we want to know what Appalachians are looking for in a new president. We’ll hear from a former coal miner from Whitesburg, Ky, Gary Bentley. We'll also hear from a veteran who lives in Bristol, Va., Ralph Slaughter.

Cabell Huntington Health Department
Clark Davis / WV Public Broadcasting

The Executive Council for the West Virginia Association of Local Health Departments met Wednesday to discuss the effects of the proposed $4 million in funding cuts to local public health services for fiscal year 2017 as outlined in Governor Tomblin’s budget proposal to the legislature last week.

Brian Turner / Wikimedia Commons

A judge says the attorney general's office doesn't have to give records from a health care case to The Charleston Gazette, which is now The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

In Kanawha County Circuit Court, Judge Charles King ruled the documents weren't public either under a state Supreme Court decision on attorney-client privilege.

Doctor Patient Health Care Coverage
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According to new information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the state of West 

  Virginia experienced one of the biggest drops of uninsured residents in the country between 2013 and 2014.

A new law goes into effect June 8, 2015 that allows hospital patients to designate their caregivers.  House Bill 2100, the Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable Act or CARE Act was passed by the 2015 West Virginia Legislature.  As part of our occasional series "Effective From Passage," Gaylene Miller, State Director of the AARP joins us to discuss what affect this bill, which was one of the organization's priorities,  will have on citizens.

West Virginia was the fourth state to pass the CARE Act.  The others were Oklahoma, New Jersey and Virginia.   The AARP says eight other states have now implemented the law. 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, the president of the United Mine Workers union rallies members to fight the U.S. EPA that he says are causing thousands of job losses in the coalfields. And we’ll travel to Gilbert in Mingo County to find out how the community is overcoming challenges to access to health care.  These stories on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.


401(K) 2012 / www.401kcalculator.org

Federal officials say more than 12,000 West Virginians have enrolled or re-enrolled in plans sold through the health insurance marketplace.

West Virginia University

West Virginia University is getting a nearly $2 million grant to help improve health care statewide.

Rick Haye, Marshall University Communications

  The number of West Virginians getting health insurance through two programs has increased more than in almost any other state since Medicaid was expanded under the Affordable Care Act.

That's according to federal data released this week on those enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program as of April 30.

The Charleston Gazette reports that nearly 154,000 West Virginians had enrolled in one of the programs since open enrollment began.

West Virginia University

A University of Pittsburgh Medical Center administrator has been named president and CEO of West Virginia University Hospitals.

Dr. Albert L. Wright Jr.'s appointment is effective Aug. 1. He will replace Bruce McClymonds, who is retiring at the end of May.
 

  Almost 20,000 West Virginians have enrolled in health coverage through the federal marketplace.

As of March 31, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said only 6 percent of West Virginia's federal exchange signups were between 18 to 25 years old, tied with Minnesota for the lowest percentage in the country. At 13 percent of exchange signups, West Virginia is also tied with Arizona and Vermont for lowest percentage of 26 to 34 year olds enrolled.

Of about 19,860 West Virginia enrollees, 57 percent are female.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Noble Energy donates $250,000 to the Appalachian Petroleum Training Center to help expand drilling industry programs at Pierpont in Fairmont and Northern Community Technical Colleges in Wheeling.
Eastern Panhandle audiences will have the opportunity to see a one-man play that focuses on issues surrounding problems with the health care system. Huntington Prep gets their first chance to play with for a national title finally having scored an affilliation with the WVSSAC.

Rick Haye, Marshall University Communications

West Virginia continues to lag behind the rest of the country in the number of younger people enrolled in health insurance through the federal marketplace.
 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said as of March 1, 18 percent of those signed up through the federal exchange in West Virginia were ages 18 to 34. That's only a slight improvement from a month earlier and ties West Virginia with Oregon for the lowest percent of signups from that age group. Arizona, Hawaii and Maine were at 19 percent.
 

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin
Courtesy Photo

Sen. Joe Manchin is introducing legislation, along with five other senators, that would exempt volunteer first responders from a mandate in the new health care law.

The bill is titled “The Protect Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act.” According to a news release, this legislation would amend the Affordable Care Act so that volunteer emergency service workers are not required to be counted as full-time equivalent employees under the healthcare coverage law.

Enrollment in West Virginia's health insurance marketplace has jumped by more than 500 percent in the past month.
 
     Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield says about 1,200 West Virginians have enrolled in plans through the federal exchange as of Monday. That's up from 198 people on Nov. 13.
 
     Highmark is the only private insurer participating in West Virginia's health insurance marketplace.
 
     Meanwhile, about 75,000 people have enrolled in the state's expanded Medicaid program, 12,000 more than the state projected.
 

Heart attack victims need quicker attention

Nov 1, 2013
West Virginia ambulance
wikimedia / Wikimedia Commons

The American Heart Association in West Virginia is working with nearly 100 healthcare and emergency medical service providers to provide better care for heart problems.  The group says that hundreds of thousands of Americans have a type of heart attack called a STEMI in which blood flow is completely blocked to a portion of the heart. Unless the blockage is eliminated quickly, the patient’s life is at serious risk.

Submitted Photo

The West Virginia University School of Nursing Eastern Division is tackling health and wellness problems in the Eastern Panhandle counties of Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan. A three year study is leading to a conversation in the community about how to make the area a healthier place to live.

Ashton Marra

The number of uninsured West Virginians is expected to drop by 70 percent in the next three years. That’s according to numbers from the state Insurance Commissioners Office and presented by West Virginians for Affordable Health Care in the wake of open enrollment under the health care exchange.