• Senator says he had PTSD when he wrote thesis

    Updated: 17 min ago

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Sen. John Walsh of Montana said Wednesday his failure to attribute conclusions and verbatim passages lifted from other scholars' work in his thesis to earn a master's degree from the U.S. Army War College was an unintentional mistake caused in part by post-traumatic stress disorder. The apparent plagiarism first reported by The New York Times was the second potentially damaging issue raised this year involving the Democrat's 33-year military career, which has been a cornerstone of his campaign to keep the seat he was appointed to in February when Max Baucus resigned to become U.S. ambassador to China. National Democrats said Wednesday they remained "100 percent behind Sen. Walsh" in his campaign against

  • Boston enlists goats to combat poison ivy

    Updated: 50 min ago

    BOSTON (AP) — Boston is enlisting goats to combat poison ivy and other invasive plants in a city park. On Wednesday, four goats began their eight-week stay at an "urban wild" along the Neponset River in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood. The goats are expected to feed on poison ivy, buckthorn, Japanese knotweed, and other invasive plant species. Mayor Martin Walsh's administration says the public can view the goats, which will be housed behind a low-voltage, solar-powered electric fence to keep coyotes out. But city officials warn visitors should not pet the animals since they will likely have poison ivy oils on their fur. The city says "goatscaping" is currently used on Boston's Harbor Islands as well as in Ch

  • APNewsBreak: 2 bats proposed for endangered list

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Two bat species are being proposed for the Maine endangered species list because they've been decimated by white nose syndrome, state officials said. Recent cave counts of the northern long-eared bat and little brown bat show nearly 90 percent declines, officials said Wednesday. A third species, the eastern small-footed bat, has also declined, though not as much, and will be proposed for the state's threatened species list. White nose syndrome was first discovered about eight years ago in New York and has since been confirmed in at least half the states in the country. The disease, caused by a fungus, turns muzzles of sickened bats white and interrupts hibernation, which robs them of energy and stored

  • 5 owners of Oregon child care sites have pot cards

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Five Oregon home-based, day-care centers are owned by people who have medical marijuana cards, officials said, prompting Gov. John Kitzhaber to say they should have to choose between their business and their pot. The state Office of Child Care has long viewed medical marijuana use as a private health matter that isn't disclosed to the general public or parents of children at the centers. Providers have conditions attached to their care licenses allowing them to use marijuana as long as they lock up the drug and paraphernalia, avoid smoking it in front of children, and have another adult present while under the influence. The state, however, changed course following media scrutiny.

  • Sanders pleads for VA reform bill as talks stall

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee said Wednesday there is still time for Congress to approve a landmark bill to improve health care services for veterans, despite deep disagreement over how much the changes will cost and how they should be paid for. "It really would be a disgrace if we adjourn (for the month of August) without a bill," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. "The good news is I think that we can bring forth a bill which deals with contracted-out care for veterans ... and I think we can also strengthen the VA.

  • State and Xerox resolve Medicaid contract problem

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) — State officials have resolved a contract issue with Xerox Corp. over developing a new computer program for Medicaid payments. Montana Department of Health and Human Services Director Richard Opper sent a letter to Xerox on July 18 saying the company is no longer in breach of the $70 million state contract awarded in 2012. "It has been a difficult process, but in the past month, we have been encouraged by the cooperation that Xerox has demonstrated," Opper said in the letter. His department has accepted a revised work plan, which if successfully executed, should create a system that lasts 20 years, he said.

  • Law on cough medicine sales to kids taking effect

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    PHOENIX (AP) — A new state law banning over-the-counter sales of certain cough medicines to minors goes into effect Thursday, adding Arizona to several states that have passed similar measures. Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant used in more than 100 medications and is safe at normal doses, but it can cause hallucinations and effects similar to illicit drugs in larger amounts. "Kids figured this out, and then they started mixing it with things and creating cocktails," said Republican state Rep. Heather Carter. "It's just cheap, easy and accessible." Arizona's cough medicine law passed overwhelmingly during the 2014 legislative session.

  • FDA approves new painkiller from OxyContin maker

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new combination pain pill from the maker of OxyContin that is designed to discourage abuse by painkiller addicts. Purdue Pharma's new drug Targiniq ER is an extended release tablet that combines oxycodone — the active ingredient in OxyContin — with the drug naloxone. FDA regulators approved the drug for daily, round-the-clock pain that does not respond to other medications. If abusers crush the tablets for snorting or injecting naloxone blocks the euphoric effects of oxycodone, making the drug more difficult to abuse. Naloxone is currently used to reverse the overdose effects of opioids, highly addictive painkilling drugs including morphine, methadone, co

  • Study: 10M have gained coverage through health law

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A new study estimates that more than 10 million adults gained health insurance by midyear as the coverage expansion under President Barack Obama's law took hold in much of the country. The study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the share of Americans ages 18 to 64 without insurance dropped by a little more than 5 percentage points. States that embraced the law's Medicaid expansion saw significant coverage gains among low-income uninsured people. About half the states have expanded. The law offers subsidized private insurance for middle-class people who don't have access through their jobs and expanded Medicaid for low-income adults.

  • US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The United States announced signs of progress in cease-fire talks Wednesday, but prospects for a quick end to the fighting were dim as Palestinian families fled fierce battles in southern Gaza and the death toll rose to more than 700 Palestinians and 34 Israelis. Underscoring the challenges facing international negotiators shuttling around the Middle East in a high-profile bid to end the bloodshed, the leader of Hamas insisted the Islamic militants would not relent until their main demand of lifting an Egyptian-Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is met.

  • Senator: VA center begged for surgical equipment

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A veterans medical center in Wichita left its laboratories unstaffed for entire shifts and sometimes resorted to "begging, borrowing and manipulation" just to obtain vital surgical equipment, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran alleges in a letter to the top official at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Moran, R-Kansas, said the problems at the Robert J. Dole VA Medical Center put veterans' lives at risk and forced employees to work under conditions of fear and retribution. In his letter sent last week to acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson, Moran cited whistleblower complaints and 177 pages of internal documents, including meeting minutes, budgets and equipment request lists.

  • Insurance rate hikes sought in federal marketplace

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent. More than 60,000 people who get health insurance through the individual marketplace — which was expanded by the federal Affordable Care Act — are in line for double-digit rate increases on Jan. 1 if they keep their current policies. The companies filed paperwork with Louisiana's insurance department outlining those planned rate increases for 2015. Lower rate hikes falling below 10 percent next year will hit individual market policies covering another 27,000 people.

  • Wisconsin to stop enforcing birth control law

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker's administration will no longer enforce the state's contraception coverage law for employers with religious objections following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month. The decision riled birth control advocates and Democrats, who said Wednesday that Wisconsin law is not affected by the decision. The Supreme Court ruled that companies with religious objections, like Hobby Lobby, can avoid the contraceptives requirement of the federal health care overhaul law. The decision by Walker's Insurance Commissioner's office was first reported Monday by the website mediatrackers.org. A message left with the insurance commission's spokesman was not immediately returned.

  • Boehner lauds doctor who saved lawmaker's baby

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In a break from his chamber's often acrid political divisions, a choked-up House Speaker John Boehner prompted two bipartisan standing ovations on Wednesday when he praised the doctor who helped a congresswoman's infant survive a rare fetal condition. Lawmakers reacted warmly after Boehner, R-Ohio, interrupted votes on education legislation to introduce Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash. The 35-year-old lawmaker stood up, holding and hugging her year-old baby, Abigail Rose. He then introduced Dr. Jessica Bienstock, who specializes in high-risk pregnancies at Johns Hopkins University and was in the chamber's visitors' gallery. While in the womb, the baby was diagnosed with Potter syndrome.

  • FDA warns of compounded drug recall by Texas firm

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration warned doctors Wednesday not to use compounded drugs from a Texas specialty pharmacy due to potential risks of contamination. The agency says FDA inspectors recently uncovered unsanitary conditions at Unique Pharmaceuticals' plant in Temple, Texas. The inspections revealed production problems in several drug lots that were supposed to be sterile. "Using these products puts patients at an unacceptable risk for serious infection," said Carol Bennett, an official in the FDA's drug center. At the behest of regulators, Unique Pharmaceuticals has recalled all non-expired, sterile products distributed across the U.S., including a fluid used to clear mucus in patients with re

  • Health advocacy groups file lawsuit against state

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Three advocacy groups filed a class action lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the state of Tennessee of failing to provide certain services required by the federal health care law. The lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Tennessee Justice Center and the National Health Law Program follows a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that was sent to state officials last month, accusing them of failing to meet requirements under the health care law. The lawsuit says the state isn't providing in-person assistance and is forcing applicants to apply for TennCare — the state's expanded Medicaid program — through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace website, which was not des

  • SSM, doctor involved in surgery error to part ways

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — A suburban St. Louis health care company is parting ways with a neurosurgeon who operated on the wrong side of a woman's brain last year. SSM Health Care and Dr. Armond Levy both confirm that his contract was not renewed. It expires in October. SSM says Levy was not fired and the decision had nothing to do with the surgery on 53-year-old Regina Turner of St. Ann, Missouri. Turner went to SSM St. Clare Health Center in Fenton, Missouri, in April 2013 for surgery on the left side of her brain to reduce her stroke risk. The surgery was instead performed on the right side of her brain. A lawsuit claiming that Turner will suffer potentially lifelong medical problems as a result of the botched surgery was s

  • Illinois patients to docs: 'What about marijuana?'

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois doctors, nursing homes, hospitals and hospice organizations are ramping up for their role as gatekeepers in the state's new medical marijuana program. Medical professionals find themselves at the center of a quickly changing legal landscape with minimal scientific research to back the claims of those extolling marijuana's therapeutic benefits. "It's already an issue," said Dr. Martha Twaddle of Barrington-based JourneyCare, which specializes in end-of-life care. "People are asking, 'What about marijuana?'" Illinois is among 23 states that have made medical marijuana legal. Illinois' new law is on the restrictive side, with a limited list of qualifying health conditions.

  • Heart condition blamed for CSU runner's death

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — An irregular heartbeat is being blamed for the death of runner at the Boulder Spring Half Marathon this year. Twenty-year-old Jessica Dillon of Castle Rock collapsed near the finish line of the race in May. On Wednesday, Boulder coroner Emma Hall said the Colorado State University student died because of the irregular heartbeat combined with a condition that shrinks the size of the heart chamber but thickening its walls.

  • APNewsBreak: Medicaid enrollees strain Oregon

    Updated: 5 hr ago

    PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Low-income Oregon residents were supposed to be big winners after the state expanded Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul and created a new system to improve the care they received. But an Associated Press review shows that an unexpected rush of enrollees has strained the capacity of the revamped network that was endorsed as a potential national model, locking out some patients, forcing others to wait months for medical appointments and prompting a spike in emergency room visits, which state officials had been actively seeking to avoid. The problems come amid nationwide growing pains associated with the unprecedented restructuring of the U.S.