Health & Environment

AARP says Social Security and Medicare should NOT be on the table – when Congress tries to work out a solution to the current budget stalemate.

Rather, the group says they should be part of a separate discussion.

AARP’s Josh Askvik delivered petitions with more than five thousand signatures to the Bismarck offices of the state’s Congressional delegation – saying that the current dispute over the budget and the debt ceiling should not contain cuts to either program.

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm says now that the sign up has begun for the Affordable Care Act, he wants people to use common sense when they start exploring their options.

"Anytime you have something like that, it's obviously an opportunity for some folks to engage in fraudulent activity," Hamm said.

Hamm says he wants consumers to just make sure they’re doing things the right way. He says the Website “healthcare.gov” is the only official site for the new insurance marketplace.

DHS prepping for Affordable Care Act

Sep 25, 2013

As a part of the Affordable Care Act, North Dakota’s Legislature approved an expansion of Medicaid to cover people who right now don’t have health insurance.

And the state Department of Human Services is preparing.

"We estimated the number of individuals qualifying for the Medicaid expansion to be 20,500," said Human Services Executive Director Maggie Anderson. "The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that number to 32,000."

Uptick in West Nile Virus

Sep 19, 2013

North Dakota has seen another sharp uptick in the number of West Nile Virus cases reported to the state Health Department.

The state reports 76 West Nile cases. That’s up 37 cases since September Third.

"We did have our first peak at the end of July and beginning of August," said State Health Department West Nile program director Michelle Feist. "Then cases started tapering off. So we're actually looking at two peaks of West Nile illness onset, which is unusual."

Feist says her department isn’t sure what the reason is for the second peak.

'Affordable Care Act' takes effect Oct. 1

Sep 19, 2013

On October first, enrollment begins for the new “Affordable Health Care Act.”

The act is designed to cover people without health insurance. The act set up insurance “exchanges” – where people can pick the coverage they want or need. But Michael Fierberg with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services says there’s some confusion on how the marketplace works.

North Dakota’s exchange is through the Department of Health and Human Services. Fierberg says a person can long on to “healthcare-dot-gov,” and start looking at the available options.

E-Cigarettes Raising Concerns in ND

Sep 11, 2013

Troubling… that’s how state Health Department officials describe recent reports of increased use of electronic cigarettes by teenagers. Prairie Public Reporter Todd McDonald has details…

Journalists learning about conservation in ND

Sep 11, 2013

Several journalists from around the country -- who cover the outdoors and the environment – are in North Dakota for a “Western Media Summit.”

The Summit was organized by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. President and CEO Whit Fosburgh says the Summit is to give the journalists more insight into issues facing conservation.

"These issues are easy to stereotype," said Fosburgh. "Ducks versus oil and gas, or mule deer versus oil and gas, or farmers versus pheasants. It's not that simple."

Journalists learning about conservation in ND

Sep 11, 2013

Several journalists from around the country -- who cover the outdoors and the environment – are in North Dakota for a “Western Media Summit.”

The Summit was organized by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. President and CEO Whit Fosburgh says the Summit is to give the journalists more insight into issues facing conservation.

"These issues are easy to stereotype," said Fosburgh. "Ducks versus oil and gas, or mule deer versus oil and gas, or farmers versus pheasants. It's not that simple."

New flu vaccine to be available

Sep 4, 2013

Flu season is approaching.

And this year, there is a new vaccine. It'ss called “quadrovalent” – meaning it covers four different flu strains.

"The flu vaccine that we had before covered three strains -- two 'A' strains and one 'B' strain," said Abby Pierce, the manager of children's vaccines with the state Health Department. "This year, it covers four strains -- two 'A' and two 'B.'"

Pierce says the four-strain vaccine was developed because some people who got the flu shot contracted influenza anyway – and it was for a second “B” strain that was in the community.

The director of Mental Health America of North Dakota says people with mental illnesses often get caught in what she describes as a “revolving door.”

"Between the ER (emergency room) and the in-patient treatment, jail or maybe the state hospital, they just keep revolving through the system," said Susan Helgeland. She says stopping that revolving door is the purpose behind a two year grant the association received to work with the Cass County Jail. Helgeland says the money will help the jail staff assist inmates with mental health issues to receive some post-release planning.

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