Disasters happen. Prepare now – Learn how!

LSS_PLAN_FOR_EMRGENCY_mediumLiving in Idaho, it’s easy to think that we don’t have to worry as much about disasters like Hurricane Florence that struck the Carolina Coast last week. But wildfires, flooding and even earthquakes are real possibilities here, and with September being National Preparedness Month, it’s a great time to think about putting together a go-kit, making a family emergency plan and making sure you’re informed when disaster strikes our state. Continue reading


Rock Your Role this week for suicide prevention

By Kim Kane
Suicide Prevention Program manger, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week and a great time to remember that we all have a role to play in preventing suicide!  Here are some things you can do to make a difference.

Take 5!  Visit www.take5tosavelives.org and complete the Take 5 Steps.  Through these steps you will,

  1. Learn suicide warning signs
  2. Learn what your role is in preventing suicide
  3. Practice self-care by making mental wellness a priority
  4. Know how to reach out; help is there and recovery is possible
  5. Spread the word for others to Take 5!

Reach out.  Research shows us that people we lose to suicide feel disconnected from others.  Suicide Prevention Week is a good time to think about those in our lives who might be feeling alone and reach out.  A simple text, call or email could make all the difference to someone feeling lonely.  Continue reading

New online search tool makes it easier to find an assisted living facility in Idaho

Idahoans who are searching for an assisted living facility for themselves or a loved one now have another tool, thanks to a new online search available for recent facility inspections completed by the Residential Assisted Living Facility Program in the Division of Licensing and Certification.

The tool allows users to search for facilities in specific areas of the state and ones that accept different types of residents, including those who need a secured environment. It also provides information on the size, location, ownership, administration, and survey and complaint history.

In addition to the ability to search for a facility by name, the new online portal allows users to search for survey reports in three timeframes: the last 90 days, the last 180 days (6 months), or for the past year. The results can be sorted by the location of the facility, the type of survey being done, and the license status, among other criteria.

According to a recent 90-day search, the program had completed 90 surveys.

To search facilities, click here. The recent surveys are available here.

The Residential Assisted Living Facility Program ensures that businesses that provide residential care or assisted living services to Idaho residents comply with state statute and rules through inspections, which are also called surveys. The surveys must be completed before a new facility can accept residents; for re-licensure for established facilities; for follow-up surveys when issues are identified that need to be addressed; and for complaint investigations.

There are 372 assisted living facilities in Idaho, representing more than 10,000 beds. Facilities range in size from six to 152 beds.


Back to school shock and “Ewww!” – Coping with a case of head lice

hair_searchIf you’re a parent with a new kindergartener, pre-schooler or child care pupil this fall, you may not be ready for the shock and “Ewww!” that comes with the first time you receive a letter from the school or day care advising you that a child in your kid’s class has head lice. Or worse, a call from the school nurse advising that your child is being sent home due to a case of head lice. After you recover from the mortification, it’s important to remember head lice are not a health risk. Continue reading

DHW begins to collect reports on abortion complications

The Abortion Complications Reporting Act, Idaho Code Title 39 Chapter 95, requires every hospital, licensed health care facility, and individual medical practitioner to file a written report with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare if any woman comes under their care and reports any complication or requires medical treatment that is a direct or indirect result of an abortion (IC 39-9504(1)).

If a woman reports one of the items outlined here to her medical practitioner, and the item is an abnormal or deviant process or event arising from the performance or completion of an abortion based on the medical practitioner’s reasonable medical judgment, it must be reported using this form to the Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics if the medical provider is one of the entities or medical practitioners subject to reporting under the act.

The report must be completed within 90 days from the last date of treatment or other care or consultation for the complication. The information will be kept confidential and used to prepare a comprehensive annual statistical report for the Idaho Legislature.


September is National Recovery Month: Can you help reduce the stigma of substance-use disorder?


September is National Recovery Month, and it’s a good time to talk about substance use disorders (commonly referred to as “drug or alcohol addiction”) and mental health so we can help fight the stigma associated with these diseases. The more comfortable people are about talking about these conditions, the more likely they will seek treatment. Continue reading

National Vision Administrators to administer eyeglasses, contacts to Idaho Medicaid members starting in October


Idaho Medicaid has announced that it has chosen National Vision Administrators (NVA) and Classic Optical Laboratories to administer eyeglasses and contact lens vision supplies for Idaho Medicaid members starting Oct. 1, 2018.

NVA has been in business for more than 30 years and provides services to over 7.5 million members across the country. NVA also has expertise in administering the vision benefits for Medicaid participants, currently managing those benefits for more than 200,000 people.

Classic Optical will continue to manufacture the lenses, but all lab orders and requests for prior approvals will be administered by NVA. NVA will be sending additional information out to optical providers in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, please direct questions to Cody Cockrum, program specialist with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, at Cody.Cockrum@dhw.idaho.gov or 208.334.5747.