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Health & Environment

Health community prepares for disasters

Aug 22, 2014

Representatives of the hospitals in North Dakota and the state Health Department says if disaster strikes, the state’s facilities are ready to respond.

The hospitals say there are good lines of communication between them and local and state emergency managers – as well as among hospitals themselves.

St. A's to be come 'affiliate' of CHI

Aug 21, 2014

St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck has signed an agreement with Catholic Health Initiatives to become a “direct affiliate” of the CHI health system.

This is the next step in the process announced earlier this year that the two health systems were looking at affiliation.

"Now everything is in the hands of the regulatory boards," said Julie Jeske, the vice-president for community service at St. A’s. "It's a wait and see."

Gambling addiction growing in ND, nationally

Jul 21, 2014

Gambling addiction is a growing problem in North Dakota – and nation-wide.

As Prairie Public’s Dave Thompson reports, agencies that treat problem gamblers are hoping more of them seek help.

“We know that nationally, approximately 2 to 3 percent of people struggle with problem gambling,” said Pam Sagness, the Substance Abuse lead for the state Department of Human Services. “And so, if you put that in context for the state of North Dakota, it would mean that we’re looking at approximately 14 to 21,000 people that may be suffering from problem gambling.”

10,000 have signed up for Medicaid expansion in ND

Jul 18, 2014

As of July first, about 10,600 North Dakotans have enrolled in expanded Medicaid.

The 2013 Legislature approved the expansion of Medicaid to provide medical insurance for lower income North Dakotans.

"Our projections prior to the expansion were around 20,500," said Julie Schwab, the director of the state Department of Human Services' Medical Services Division. "The Kaiser Foundation had a little higher projection, 32,000."

Schwab says at this point, it’s only speculation as to why the numbers weren’t close to the projections.

North Dakota State University has been awarded a three-year 1-point-4 Million dollar grant to help establish a public health resource center for American Indians. The grant funding – from the Leona M and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust – will be matched with 720-thousnad dollars in state funding. NDSU President Dean Bresciani says the new “American Indian Public Health Resource Center” will be a “game changer”…

Wiedrich: State doing well in emergency response

Jun 5, 2014

The chief of the state Health Department’s Emergency Preparedness and Response section says the last year has been a busy one.

Tim Wiedrich says there have been a dozen situations where the Health Department’s Emergency Operations Center has been activated.

"We've responded to a wide variety of incidents," said Wiedrich. "Things like train derailments, water emergencies, tornadoes and a wide variety of other types of emergencies -- including communicable disease."

And Wiedrich says the state, in partnership with local emergency personnel, has handled things well.

Sanford adds mobile clinics to the Bakken

May 21, 2014
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Sanford Health will expand its reach in the Bakken.

Sanford will be using two mobile clinics and one modular clinic in the oil patch. The modular clinic will be in Watford City, while the two mobile units -- dubbed OPC mobileMED -- will go where they’re needed.

A Summitt on E-Cigarettes

Apr 4, 2014

Tobacco products are changing and health officials in Cass and Clay County are looking how efforts need to change to make sure the new products don’t wind up in the hands of children. Prairie Public reporter Todd McDonald has details...

NDSU to take over Sanford's Bismarck nursing school

Mar 27, 2014

Sanford’s nursing school in Bismarck will soon be a part of NDSU.

The state Board of Higher Education has approved the plan. NDSU president Dean Breschani says the university earlier announced it would double its nursing enrollment – to help meet a growing need for nurses in North Dakota.

"We have a forming crisis in our state," Breschani told the Board. "NDSU wants to be a part of solving that, as does Sanford Health. This will help meet the need for nurses, especially in western North Dakota. It's a no-brainer that this is in the state's best interest."

Affordable Care Act Enrollment, the New March Madness?

Mar 24, 2014

Monday (3/31) marks the deadline for uninsured individuals to sign-up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Leading up to the deadline, State Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm says North Dakotans have not been strong to respond to the enrollment.

“…The numbers (from the federal government) as of the end of February are about 5,200 folks covered in plans in the North Dakota marketplace. When you actually go to the three companies selling plans and see who’s actually bought a plan and paid their first month’s premiums, the number drops to about 4,500.”