• Arkansas insurance premiums for poor to drop

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The state program that provides private insurance to poor Arkansas residents will see a 2 percent decrease in premium costs next year, the governor's office said Tuesday. Final numbers for the premiums are to be set prior to the start of open enrollment on Nov. 15, after the U.S. Health and Human Services Department certifies the private insurance plans for 2015. Insurance under the "private option" is subsidized for more than 170,000 people in Arkansas under an expansion of the federal Medicaid program, which was approved by the Legislature last year. The governor's office said it released the projection of lower costs for next year because incomplete information was inadvertently posted on t

  • Minnesota home-care workers vote to unionize

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Thousands of in-home health care providers in Minnesota voted to create their own union, the state announced Tuesday after tallying the results. With the union now authorized, the Service Employees International Union, which organized the election, can negotiate with the state for wages and benefits for the estimated 27,000 eligible workers. About 60 percent of the roughly 5,800 voters who cast ballots approved unionization, the Bureau of Mediation Services said. Union supporters who care for sick, elderly and disabled patients in their own homes celebrated the creation of their new union as a sign that better pay is on the horizon. "We are now not invisible. We are 26,000 strong," said Debra Ho

  • Extent of 'psychiatric boarding' problem unknown

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    SEATTLE (AP) — Washington hospitals support a Supreme Court decision to consider a 120-day delay of a ban on sending psychiatric patients to emergency rooms, a spokeswoman said Tuesday. But she said no one knows the actual extent of the problem that everyone is trying to solve. The number of patients being held in "psychiatric boarding" situations is not known because no one collects that data, said Mary Kay Clunies-Ross with the Washington State Hospital Association. A Seattle Times report last year also said the state did not keep records on boarding, so the newspaper did its own analysis and found that in King County alone, 2,160 mentally ill patients were involuntarily committed and held in ERs in 2012.

  • SMU adds Kevlar-fortified liners to helmets

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    DALLAS (AP) — SMU has added Kevlar-fortified liners designed to lower the risk of concussions to the inside of its football helmets. The Mustangs on Tuesday announced a multiyear partnership with Unequal Technologies for the helmet liner and other body protection gear. SMU is believed to be the first NCAA Division I football program to partner with the company, whose products use a composite fortified with Kevlar and Accelleron to absorb impact forces. Albert Veytia, SMU's equipment manager, began experimenting with Unequal padding three years ago after the company was responsible for outfitting Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo with protection following a rib fracture.

  • Democrat: Indiana Statehouse lacks ethics

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Democratic candidate for auditor Mike Claytor motioned to the Statehouse Tuesday and said ethics "left the building", as he ran down a list of high-profile investigations that have resulted in little if any punishment. Claytor, who is running to be one of the state's chief fiscal officers, said he would work to fight public corruption if elected and promised to abstain from the ethical lapses uncovered by recent investigations. "Things have gone terribly wrong when appointed and elected officials arrogantly move forward with no thought about problems with getting caught in what they are doing," Claytor said. A trio of ethics investigations into Indiana officials this year left many watchdogs grumbl

  • IG: Shoddy care by VA didn't cause Phoenix deaths

    Updated: 12 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Government investigators found no proof that delays in care caused veterans to die at a Phoenix VA hospital, but they found widespread problems that the Veterans Affairs Department is promising to fix. Investigators uncovered large-scale improprieties in the way VA hospitals and clinics across the nation have been scheduling veterans for appointments, according to a report released Tuesday by the VA's Office of Inspector General. The report said workers falsified waitlists while their supervisors looked the other way or even directed it, resulting in chronic delays for veterans seeking care. "Inappropriate scheduling practices are a nationwide systemic problem," said the report by Richard Griffin, th

  • Drought blamed for death of dozens of Reno ducks

    Updated: 13 hr ago

    RENO, Nev. (AP) — Reno city parks officials have blamed degraded water quality due to the drought for the deaths of dozens of ducks at a pair of urban lakes. A total of 24 dead ducks have been found at Virginia Lake in recent weeks and a similar number at Teglia's Paradise Pond, parks manager Jeff Mann said Monday. The birds likely suffered from avian botulism as a result of low water and oxygen levels, he said. Lakes and ponds in Reno parks are fed by the Truckee River and it's been weeks since any fresh water entered the system. "This is another symptom of the drought," Mann told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "Chances are it will get worse.

  • Use of psychotropic drugs in youth prisons faulted

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    DENVER (AP) — Colorado doesn't properly oversee the administration of powerful psychotropic medication to youths in corrections facilities. That's according to a state audit released Tuesday. The report sampled the medical records of 60 youth offenders and found that in 57 of those cases they were prescribed psychotropic medication. Auditors said there wasn't proper medical record keeping for the patients. In 13 cases, there was no evidence that medical staff obtained consent for treatment with psychotropic medications. The Denver Post reports (http://dpo.st/1lusos7 ) that auditors recommended a new system for oversight of medication prescribing for those in youth corrections and stronger consent policies for the agency's u

  • Insurance dispute may soon affect patients' bills

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — People who visit doctors or hospitals in the state associated with the Catholic Health Initiatives network may soon have to pay more if they have insurance from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska. The contract between the big insurer and the medical network may expire Sunday because the two sides have been unable to agree on rates since Blue Cross voided the deal in June. Both sides complain the other refuses to give up much in negotiations. If an agreement can't be reached, all the Omaha-area doctors associated with Catholic Health Initiatives and CHI Health's hospitals statewide will no longer be in Blue Cross' network.

  • Do-it-yourself blood pressure care can beat MDs

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — "Do-it-yourself" blood pressure measurements and medicine changes work better than usual doctor-office care in some patients, a study of older adults in England found. Those who did their own readings at home and adjusted their medicine as needed had healthier blood pressure levels after a year than those who got standard doctors' care. Self-care patients weren't completely on their own — any changes they made were part of a treatment plan previously OK'd by their doctors. But the patients didn't need to consult their doctors every time they increased the dose if it was part of the original treatment plan.

  • Burger King and Orbitz are big market movers

    Updated: 14 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market: NYSE Burger King Worldwide Inc., down $1.40 to $31 The burger chain confirmed it plans to buy doughnut seller Tim Hortons for $11 billion and will move its headquarters to Canada. Movado Group Inc., down $3.40 to $40.64 The watch maker reported earnings and revenue for its fiscal second quarter that missed what Wall Street analysts were expecting. Regis Corp., down 66 cents to $14.09 The company behind hair salon chains Supercuts and MasterCuts reported a bigger-than-expected loss for its fiscal fourth quarter. DSW Inc., up $2.62 to $30.

  • NC conservative activist quits $95K health job

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina anti-abortion activist and tea party organizer is quitting her $95,000-a-year job as a senior Medicaid adviser after a year. The state Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that Margaret "Mardy" Peal is resigning next month. The single mother said she wanted more time with her family. Peal helped state DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos (vahsh) craft the agency's plan to revamp the state Medicaid program by building on existing networks of doctors and hospitals. The plan stalled in the Legislature. Peal earned a master's degree in health education and worked as a lecturer at East Carolina University for three years in the 1990s before becoming a stay-at-home mom.

  • Miss. officials: Second death from West Nile virus

    Updated: 15 hr ago

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — State health officials are reporting a second death this year from the West Nile virus in Mississippi. The state Department of Health says Tuesday that the most recent death occurred in Madison County. The first death was in Yazoo County. Health officials also reported new human cases in Adams, Bolivar, Covington, Forrest and Rankin counties. So far this year, 15 human West Nile cases have been reported. There has been one each in Bolivar, Covington, Forrest, Madison, Newton, Yazoo and Wilkinson counties; two each in Adams and Hinds counties; and four in Rankin County. The Health Department only reports laboratory-confirmed cases to the public. In 2013, Mississippi had 45 WNV cases and five

  • Quinn signs pregnancy discrimination measure

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    CHICAGO (AP) — New guidelines aimed at preventing workplace discrimination against pregnant women were signed into law by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn this week, a move backers say extends protections already in place for other workers. The legislation was prompted by safety and health concerns for expectant mothers and their children, said sponsors state Rep. Mary Flowers and Sen. Toi Hutchinson, both Democrats. Quinn's office cited a federal U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity study showing a major increase — more than 70 percent — in the number of pregnancy discrimination claims from 1992 to 2011. "No pregnant woman should have to choose between having her baby and keeping her job," Quinn said Tuesday at a Chicago clinic du

  • UA nursing school gets birth simulation mannequin

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The University of Arkansas' nursing school at the Fayetteville campus is to demonstrate a new mannequin that simulates childbirth. The demonstration is set for 4 p.m. Thursday and will show how the mannequin integrates the physiology of the mother and baby. Organizers say use of the mannequin has been validated by medical researchers and the line is the first of its type to be commercially available. Faculty and students at the nursing school are planning a "baby shower," for gifts that will make the mannequin's room look more like a maternity ward. Diapers are also being collected for the United Way's diaper drive. The event is at the Epley Center for Health Professions on North Razorb

  • Orange County agency reports West Nile death

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Orange County health authorities say an elderly Seal Beach woman with underlying medical conditions and complications of a West Nile virus infection has died. The county health agency said in a statement Tuesday that test results received this week confirmed the infection. The woman, who was in her 80s, had a severe form of the infection when she died last week. Orange County has had 40 West Nile virus infections this year, the most in California. The virus is mosquito-borne, and health officer Dr. Eric G. Handler says West Nile activity in Orange County tends to peak in August and September, but continues into the fall.

  • Obama defends handling of veterans affairs issues

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — His standing with veterans damaged by scandal, President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his administration's response to Veterans Affairs lapses that delayed health care for thousands of former service members, but conceded more needed to be done to regain their trust. His appearance also had deep political overtones in a state where the Democratic senator, Kay Hagan, is facing a difficult re-election and has sought to distance herself from Obama's policies, declaring as recently as Friday that his administration had not "done enough to earn the lasting trust of our veterans." But Hagan and the state's Republican Senator, Richard Burr, were at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base to greet Obam

  • 4 W.Va. nurses allowed to work amid drug test woes

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia board let four nurses in substance abuse programs return to work despite failing or not taking drug tests, according to a state audit released Tuesday. The state Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses let nurses practice while recovering from abusing drugs like ephedrine, hydrocodone, opiates and cocaine, legislative auditor Aaron Allred wrote. One nurse's drug citations date back to 2008. The audit said it took 15 months for the nurse to sign a consent order and stop practicing after she admitted drug use. Other recovering nurses didn't schedule drug tests, paid $250 fines and kept working. One nurse was allowed to practice with restrictions after testing

  • California firm recalls Caesar salad kits

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    CORONA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California food company has recalled nearly 93,000 pounds of fully cooked chicken Caesar salad kits sold at Sam's Club stores over concerns of possible listeria contamination. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service says the Daily Chef salad kits were shipped to the warehouse chain for sale in its in-store cafes nationwide. The affected products by Corona's APPA Fine Foods come in 11-ounce clear plastic containers with use-by dates through Sept. 17. The USDA and the company have received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.

  • Ebola: Ivory Coast-Sierra Leone game now in doubt

    Updated: 17 hr ago

    ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Another African Cup of Nations qualifier is in doubt because of the deadly Ebola virus after Ivory Coast's football federation said Tuesday that it had been instructed by its government to cancel or move next month's home game against Sierra Leone. Ivory Coast has restrictions in place on travelers from Ebola-affected countries like Sierra Leone. Over 1,400 people have now died in an outbreak of the deadly virus in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. Ivory Coast Football Federation spokesman Eric Kacou said the government had advised that it would not allow the Sierra Leone team to enter for the Sept. 6 game in the country's largest city, Abidjan, and other pl