Health & Science

Optum Health Services

Health services company Optum has acquired walk-in medical care provider MedExpress.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Eden Prairie, Minnesota-based Optum announced the sale earlier this month. It is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest health insurer.

West Virginia Autism Training Center

As the country recognizes autism awareness month, the state is making progress, but researchers across West Virginia say there’s still a long way to go.

Programs  

Alec Hildebeidel is a junior journalism student at Marshall University. He was attracted to Marshall by the radio program at the student-run station WMUL. But, perhaps more importantly for Alec, the Bel Air, Maryland, native was attracted to a program at the University to help students with autism.  

WVU Photo by Brian Persinger

A direct descendent of the tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton’s Theory of Gravity has just been planted in Morgantown. It was a gift to retired Sen. Jay Rockefeller by the National Institute of Standards and Technology earlier this month in honor of his science policy leadership during a 30-year career in the United States Senate.

  A new study of a radioactive, carcinogenic gas has grabbed the attention of news outlets and both pro and anti-fracking groups alike. The study published earlier this month says increases of radon gas in people’s homes in Pennsylvania coincide with the horizontal drilling boom. Some geological researchers in the region are skeptical while others aren’t at all surprised.


Department of Environmental Protection, DEP
Department of Environmental Protection

The West Virginia Environmental Quality Board ruled earlier this month the the Department of Environmental Protection violated state law when it allowed Danny Webb Construction to operate the injection wells in Fayette County without a permit.

After being rescheduled several times because of weather, a public hearing to discuss the permit application is scheduled for tonight at Oak Hill High School.
The public is invited to attend the public about these UIC permits. It's scheduled for tonight from six until eight at Oak Hill High School.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was joined by lawmakers and patient advocacy groups from across the state at the Capitol Thursday for the ceremonial signing of two healthcare related bills.

Senate Bill 366 creates the Patient Protection and Transparency Act which offers protections to people who sign up for insurance through a federal health care exchange website.

Tomblin also signed House Bill 2100 known as the Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable Act.

Wikimedia Commons

  When we hear about the danger of dust exposure, we are usually talking about coal dust underground, or silica dust. But that’s not the only dust that can make people sick. Apparently almost any dust can, if it’s fine enough.


Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Nearly 40 people gathered at the Capitol Wednesday to protest Governor Tomblin’s veto of a bill to allow for herd-sharing in the state, allowing more West Virginians to consume raw milk.

Senate Bill 30 passed with overwhelming support by both the House and Senate, despite some health concerns attached to the bill. 

Keep Your Promises Campaign
KeepYourPromisesDupont.com

  The community-based organization Keep Your Promises Dupont released an open letter the C-8 Medical Panel asking for oversight in the court-mandated C-8 Medical Monitoring Program.


The WVU College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development hosted their 4th annual National Energy Conference last week in Morgantown. The day-long conference examined issues affecting water in energy production. 


Clark Davis / WVPublic

Dr. Kent Brantly, the first American survivor of the Ebola virus, was at Ohio Valley University in Vienna Monday night passing on his message about battling the disease. 

  Brantly was diagnosed with Ebola while serving as a doctor for Samaritan’s Purse Mission in Liberia. What happened next is the story that led to the not-yet-published book that he and his wife, Amber, wrote. Brantly was working as a doctor in Liberia when the news came that Ebola had spread to the country. 

Residual waste truck in Pennsylvania.
Iris Marie Bloom

  A new report was published this month that looks at how states are dealing with dangerous waste produced during shale gas development. Not well, according to the report.


NASA

Satellite images from NASA and other government agencies can tell us a lot about the changing of the climate as well as the environment. Their photo series State of Flux: Images of Change depicts noticeable differences in our world over various spans of time--looking at everything from water, air, natural disasters, as well as the impact of industry.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has been plagued for the past few years with budget deficits. To deal with the shortfalls, the governor has cut state agency budgets across the board, implemented hiring freezes and dipped into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

This year, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin cut the House and Senate approved budget by an additional $11 million, leaving some service programs to wonder how they’ll keep their doors open. The Charleston Health Right is just one of those service programs.

The West Virginia Health Right clinic located in Charleston's East End is a free and charitable clinic that provides medical, dental and vision services to more than 15,000 uninsured and underinsured West Virginians each year. 

Black Vulture
Shannon Behmke

    

A new study out of West Virginia University finds that lead poisoning in vultures is way more prevalent than expected. Researchers say the source of the lead is ammunition and coal-fired power plant emissions - prompting one researcher to liken vultures to the canaries miners once used to gauge if a coal mine was safe or not.


PunchingJudy / Flickr

First responders have mixed views about a new state law that allows them to administer overdose-reversal medicine.

The Access to Opioid Antagonists Act was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. It will make the medicine naloxone more readily available.

EcoCAR.org

Many college seniors have to worry about whether they’re going find a job after they turn their tassel. But some students in a car-building competition are being recruited by the auto industry even before they graduate.

Glynis Board / WVPB

When natural gas drillers use extreme pressures to drill and crack rocks thousands of feet underground - when they frack for natural gas, for example - sometimes nearby conventional gas wells will suddenly see production double, or triple. 

A report says McDowell County is again the unhealthiest county in West Virginia.

The report released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin researchers ranks the southern coalfield county last among all 55 counties for the sixth straight year.

Slick-o-bot / wikimedia Commons

A report says one-third of West Virginia schoolchildren under age 6 live in poor households and are at risk of falling significantly behind their classmates' achievements.

The West Virginia KIDS COUNT's annual report on children's wellbeing says the vocabularies of children as young as 18 months from low-income families are already several months behind their peers, and that continues throughout their educations.

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