A new report shows that last year’s data breach of Utah health records was a costly mistake with far-reaching consequences. An independent analysis by Javelin Strategy & Research predicts that the total amount of fraud perpetrated could approach $406 million in costs.
Controversy stirs around the Dixie State College name change, the Utah Department of Health once again loses Medicaid patient data, and a 92-year-old World War II veteran finally receives his war medals after waiting more than 60 years.
The Utah Department of Health has hired an outside firm to study the costs and benefits of expanding Medicaid in the state. The department has been gathering feedback from the public on what should be considered in the study.
Christina Osburn has a brain tumor and epilepsy. She’s been on Medicaid for more than 10 years, but she expects to lose that coverage because her income will soon exceed the threshold to qualify.
The number of whooping cough cases in Utah has reached a level not seen for more than 60 years. The State Department of Health says there have been 851 cases of pertussis reported so far this year. The number of people with the bacterial disease already exceeds the total in 2006 when the last notable outbreak occurred. Health experts don’t know why Utah and the nation are seeing the worst outbreak of the disease in decades.
The State Department of Health is moving forward on an overhaul of the Medicaid system despite opposition. Utah’s new managed care contracts are designed to save the state money and are slated to go into effect in January, but some health advocates say the proposed contracts do not ensure quality care for patients. And the state’s Inspector General says the contracts do not ensure proper oversight of Medicaid funds. KUER’s Andrea Smardon reports.
As West Nile virus spreads across the country, Utah health officials are advising residents to use bug repellant this holiday weekend. So far three cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Utah. Two were contracted out of state, but one was caught in Box Elder County. JoDee Baker is an epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health. She says West Nile has been detected in a number of mosquito pools around the state.
The Utah Department of Health released new data Wednesday estimating that more than 13 percent of the population went without health insurance last year. That’s about 3 percentage points higher than the previous year, but health officials say the increase is at least partly due to improved survey methods.
UDOH spokesperson Tom Hudachko says you can’t make a fair comparison between numbers in 2010 and 2011 because state survey methods were changed significantly. For example, pollsters are now calling cellphones instead of just land lines.
Some doctors are criticizing the state’s newly-released plan to help those with asthma. The plan advises asthmatics to avoid pollution, but the President of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment Brian Moench says that’s not enough.