Health & Environment | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Health & Environment

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.”

St. Alexius, CHI talking 'affiliation'

Feb 14, 2014

Bismarck’s Saint Alexius (uh-lex’-ee-us) Medical Center and Catholic Health Initiatives have signed a “letter of intent” to form a new affiliation.

CHI is based in Englewood, Colorado. It has 87 hospitals in 18 states.

CHI and St. A’s officials say the letter is a “non-binding agreement.

"Our organization and CHI have come to the point where we recognize health care is changing," said St. A's CEO and president Gary Miller. "And we have to change with it."

Miller says St. A’s has had a close working relationship with CHI hospitals in Williston and Dickinson.

4000 North Dakotans signed up for expanded Medicaid

Feb 12, 2014

So far, just under 4000 North Dakotans have signed up for health care coverage under the expanded Medicaid program.

It’s part of the federal affordable care act. The Legislature approved Governor Dalrymple’s recommendation that Medicaid be expanded for low income people who can’t afford health insurance on their own.

State human services director Maggie Anderson told the Legislature’s interim Government Finance Committee – the department had estimated up to 20,500 North Dakotans could enroll through expanded Medicaid.

Working For A Healthier Red River

Jan 15, 2014

Keeping the Red River healthy… the challenge is part of on-going talks and planning by members of the Red River Basin Commission. The issue was given a lot of agenda time during the annual commission summit, this week in Fargo.

A new option to apply for expanded Medicaid

Dec 6, 2013

Low income North Dakotans have another option to apply for health care coverage through the expanded Medicaid program.

Until now, they could apply on-line or in-person. The new option: by phone.

"We actually have contracted with a vendor (Automated Health Systems), who will take applications over the phone, if they would prefer to make an application that way, rather than in person or on-line," said North Dakota Human Services Director Maggie Anderson. She says people have already been applying via computer or paper.

One of the North Dakota Legislature’s most vocal supporters of the federal Affordable Healthcare Act – dubbed “Obamacare” – says the legislative majority leadership set up the law for failure.

Sen. Tim Mathern (D-Fargo) says all one needs to do is look at the signups in North Dakota – compared to the sign ups in Minnesota.

"In Minnesota, thousands of people are signing up," said Mathern. "In North Dakota, they aren't. Had we worked together in a partnership with the federal government, this would be a different situation."