December 18, 2018

BMS accepting public comments on transportation manual

The Bureau for Medical Services is, until Jan. 04, 2019 accepting public comments on its transportation manual At an Oct. 23 meeting of the Medical Services Fund Advisory Council, Medicaid Commissioner Cindy Beane introduced officials from LogistiCare, the state’s new non-emergency medical transport provider. In State Fiscal Year 2017, BMS paid $35,431,787 for NEMT services.


RN Board files amended rule regarding nursing program accreditation

The West Virginia RN Board  has filed a revised legislative rule taking into account comments received from seven organizations regarding its rewrite of 19CSR01, the rule governing approval and accreditation of registered nurse training programs.


Legislative attorney Carl Fletcher told the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee In November the interested parties had met and agreed to several changes. Some hospitals, health-care related industries and nursing organizations were sharply critical of the rule as filed.


The rule comes about with the passage by the legislature and approval by the governor of HB 4156, which removed the board’s broad-ranging control relating to nursing schools.


In its place, the bill provides, “A nursing program is determined to be board approved if the program is accredited by a national nursing accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education.”

The rule will be considered during the 2019 legislative session.



CIGNA uses artificial intelligence to pinpoint beneficiaries at risk of opioid overdose. Managed Care Magazine reports, “Cigna’s … been doing its share, … using artificial intelligence … to pinpoint beneficiaries who may be at risk for opioid overdose.”


Crime, overdoses down in Wyoming County because of fewer prescription opiates. The Register-Herald reports, “Overdoses are way down in Wyoming County, as is the crime rate.


That is the result of far fewer prescription opiates, Sheriff C.S. Parker believes.”


New York Times depicts journey inside the West Virginia opioid crisis. The New York Times reports, “Despair, Love and Loss: A Journey Inside West Virginia’s Opioid Crisis.”



Budget tops WVU’s legislative priorities. The Dominion Post reports, “West Virginia University’s Rob Alsop, vice president for strategic initiatives, sat down with The Dominion Post to look at WVU’s legislative priorities for the 2019 session, which begins Jan. 9.


At the top of the list … is the budget bill and how it will affect WVU. Higher education across the state saw a series of budget cuts as the governor and Legislature wrestled with revenue downturns.”


…Legislators will have a revenue surplus. WV News reports, “For the first time in recent years, lawmakers crafting the budget will have a revenue surplus to work with.”


…New Majority Leader Summers will seek compromises. WV News reports, “When the House of Delegates reconvenes Jan. 9 for the start of the new legislative session, the majority will be led by the first-ever female Republican House majority leader. “Del. Amy Summers, R-Taylor, said she is honored to have been selected by House Speaker Del. Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay. “As majority leader, she plans to try and work with her Democratic colleagues to seek compromises whenever possible, Summers said.”


Texas federal judge strikes down Affordable Care Act. The New York Times reports, “A federal judge in Texas struck down the entire Affordable Care Act … on the grounds that its mandate requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional and the rest of the law cannot stand without it.


“The ruling was over a lawsuit filed this year by a group of Republican governors and state attorneys general. [West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was among them.] A group of intervening states led by Democrats promised to appeal the decision, which will most likely not have any immediate effect. But it will almost certainly make its way to the Supreme Court, threatening the survival of the landmark health law and, with it, health coverage for millions of Americans, protections for people with pre-existing conditions and much more.”


…AMA calls ruling ‘an unfortunate step backward.’ AMA reports, “’[The Texas] decision is an unfortunate step backward for our health system that is contrary to overwhelming public sentiment to preserve pre-existing condition protections and other policies that have extended health insurance coverage to millions of Americans,’ said AMA president Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. ‘It will destabilize health insurance coverage by rolling back federal policy to 2009. No one wants to go back to the days of 20 percent of the population uninsured and fewer patient protections, but this decision will move us in that direction.’”


Massachusetts closes cannabis dispensaries for using pesticides. The Boston Globe reports, “Triple M, a medical marijuana operator with dispensaries in Mashpee and Plymouth, [Massachusetts] has been ordered to close by state health regulators for using pesticides on plants on its Plymouth cultivation facility.”



Kentucky has more than 3K hepatitis A cases. WSAZ reports, “Kentucky’s hepatitis A outbreak rages on into its second year, as health leaders say there are now more than 3,000 reported cases.”


Pertussis outbreak in Idaho. The Idaho Mountain News reports, “’Several students’ in the Blaine County School District have come down with pertussis, a highly contagious respiratory infection commonly known as whooping cough, according to the South Central [Idaho] Public Health District.”


Raw fruits and vegetables contribute to better mental health. StudyFinds reports, “Here’s one more way to ensure stronger mental health: get your fruits and veggies from the produce section at the grocery store, and not the canned foods aisle. Researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that raw fruit and vegetables have more a positive effect on mental health overall than canned, cooked, and processed produce.”


Ramapo [New York] schools face hefty fines for failing to provide lists of unvaccinated students. USA Today reports, “Nine private schools in Ramapo face hefty fines for failing to provide Rockland County [New York] health officials with a list of students who have not been fully vaccinated against measles. The schools are within a geographical area considered the nexus of Rockland’s measles outbreak…”


Vegan surge leads to ‘hidden hunger.’ The Independent reports, “The phenomenon of ‘hidden hunger’ affects more than two billion people globally. It has been centered on developing countries but is becoming a growing public health concern in the wealthy world There are several factors behind the rise but we believe the surge of interest in veganism  is likely to become another major contributor.”

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