Statistics show West Virginians diabetic, hypertensive, obese

According to statistics from The State of Obesity: 2018 from the Trust for America’s Health, West Virginia ranks first among other states in adults being overweight, obese and having diabetes and/or hypertension.


Situational awareness: Other disheartening statistics. 

West Virginia among seven states with greater than 35 percent obesity rates. STAT reports, “As recently as 2012, not a single state had an adult obesity rate above 35 percent. In 2017 data…, seven states do. Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and West Virginia.”


Statewide Coalition considering diabetes

According to the Kanawha County 2017 Community Health Assessment Report, diabetes, obesity, and substance abuse are ranked as Kanawha County’s top three health problems.


On a statewide basis, the legislature formed the Coalition on Diabetes Management to make recommendations on how the legislature should address the problem.

The coalition last met Friday, June 29, to hear presentations on innovative ways of fighting diabetes in the community. All agree the ideas presented are effective in helping control diabetes and that they will founder without a reimbursement stream.

Dr. Dino Beckett from the Williamson Health Center  explained a grant-funded program that was successful in lowering diabetic A1C levels among 100 patients in a study. Community health workers, in this case licensed practical nurses, visited patients to coach them on such matters as diet and medication adherence. Besides lowering A1C levels, Beckett said 55 emergency room visits were prevented and hospitalizations were decreased.


Insurers are now evaluating the program’s results to consider its prevention value and the return on investment for reimbursing for community health workers’ services.


Dr. Emma Eggleston, director of the West Virginia University Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Health, explained several programs being conducted in the Eastern Panhandle, where she is based.


One program allows patients receiving SNAP benefits to double those benefits at local farmers’ markets. Other programs allow physicians to actually “write prescriptions,” to follow progress on social determinants of health like housing and nutrition.


Eggleston said the state has “a lack of alignment between policy and payment” for its innovative models.


Lottery commission files sports wagering rules

The West Virginia Lottery Commission has filed with the Secretary of State rules regarding sports wagering, 179CSR09. According to the filing, “The purpose of this rule is to clarify and provide regulations that the Lottery Commissioner considers necessary for the successful implementation, administration and enforcement of the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act.” The legislature passed SB 415 during the 2018 regular session, making the rule necessary.


The lottery commission estimates $2 million in gross revenue in state fiscal year 2019 and $4.5 million in state fiscal year 2020. The rule sunsets five years from its effective date, which, depending upon legislative action, will be sometime in March 2019.


Among the bill’s highlights:

The lottery commissioner may approve sports betting for nine months while a sports betting lounge is being constructed. The operator must notify the commissioner of the events on which the operator is accepting wages. Initial license fees are $100,000.


An operator must keep a cash reserve “of not less than the greater of $50,000 or the amount necessary to ensure the ability to cover” outstanding bets. Any inability to pay wagers must be reported to the commissioner.


Prior to commencing operations and every year thereafter, operators must confirm the integrity of their operations by independent professional assessments.

Patron complaints must be investigated within 10 days. Any unresolved complaints must be referred to the commissioner.


Controls must be in place to identify unusual betting activity, which must be shared with other operators and regulatory agencies. All reports are considered confidential.


Patrons can wager with cash, cash equivalent, credit or debit cards, promotional funds, sports pool vouchers and gaming chips. Winnings can be collected by mail, but the individual making the wager must be located within the state.

Online wagers are accepted from patrons with established sports wagering accounts. Operators must have a geolocation system to ensure the person making the wager is located within the state.


Casino operators may seek reimbursement from the Racetrack Modernization Fund for updating facilities.


The commissioner must approve all advertising.



Walmart may sell cannabis-based products in Canada. Fortune reports, “Walmart Inc.’s Canadian arm has been investigating the possibility of selling cannabis-based products but doesn’t intend to get into the much-hyped business yet.”


Wood County BOE considers student drug testing. The News and Sentinel reports, “The Wood County Board of Education … began the process of creating a random drug testing policy for students.”


Medical cannabis used for de facto legalization. Politico reports, “With nine states, and the District of Columbia, now allowing the recreational use of cannabis — and more in the pipeline — advocates on both sides of the issue say that medical cannabis programs are increasingly functioning as a Trojan horse for de facto legalization in the 40 states where the politics of legalization aren’t quite ripe yet. “



Kanawha delegates discuss issues in Gazette-Mail forum. The Gazette-Mail reports, “[Republican House of Delegates candidate Sharon] Malcolm spoke at a candidate forum with editors of the Charleston Gazette-Mail and with her two opponents running for the 39th Delegate seat. She took a hard stance on a number of education issues and others related to the strike.”


McConnell uses Super PAC money to undercut Blankenship. Politico reports, “Allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used a blind spot in campaign finance laws to undercut a candidate  from their own party this year — and their fingerprints remained hidden until the primary was already over.


“Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited sums of money in elections, are supposed to regularly disclose their funders. But in the case of Mountain Families PAC, Republicans managed to spend $1.3 million against Don Blankenship, a mustachioed former coal baron who was a wild-card candidate for a must-win West Virginia Senate seat, in May without revealing who was supplying the cash.”


Manchin holding on strong in the polls. The Hill reports, “West Virginia is another [Republican] pick-up chance, though Sen. Joe Manchin, the only Democrat to vote to confirm Kavanaugh, is holding on strong in polls. The Cook Political Report moved that race into the ‘Lean Democratic’ column last month.”


GOpac endorses candidates. West Virginia Press reports, “GOpac, the Gas and Oil Political Action Committee of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia (IOGAWV),  has endorsed 64 candidates for legislative races in the upcoming West Virginia 2018 General Election on November 6, 2018.”


WV Supreme Court

Supreme Court candidates say restore court’s integrity. The Gazette-Mail reports, “Despite a diversity of backgrounds, eight of the ten candidates for the state Supreme Court seat vacated by former Justice Robin Davis agreed on the need to restore integrity to the court, to avoid politicization of the judicial branch, and address concerns over the state’s opioid drug abuse crisis.”


Davis impeachment lawyers resign because of health issues. The Gazette-Mail reports, “Health issues have led to two attorneys representing former West Virginia Supreme Court justice Robin Davis to resign from representing her in impeachment and related proceedings in the West Virginia Legislature and federal court.”



Speaker supports pay raise. MetroNews reports, “Count new West Virginia House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay, 33) among the supporters of Governor Jim Justice’s proposal to raise pay for teachers and state workers by five percent in the next fiscal year.”



Changes made to Cabell-Huntington needle exchange. WSAZ reports, “Numbers from the Cabell-Huntington Health Department showed in previous years, hundreds of people from out of town were using their needle exchange program.


Changes were made to the program after Huntington police expressed concerns it was attracting crime.”


CVS, Aetna merger could leave consumers with less control. The New York Times reports, “The Justice Department’s approval of the $69 billion merger between CVS Health and Aetna … caps a wave of consolidation among giant health care players that could leave American consumers with less control over their medical care and prescription drugs.”


Project aims to improve vaccination rates among low-income children, pregnant women. Route Fifty reports, “A new five-state project funded by the federal government aims to improve vaccination rates among low-income children and pregnant women, using statewide registries intended to track the immunization histories of all residents.”


San Francisco redirects unused medications. SF Bay reports, “Medications from patients no longer using them will soon be able to go to low-income clinic patients in San Francisco who are unable afford medications for chronic illnesses.”