New online tool helps Idahoans find the right care for loved ones

The Department of Health and Welfare’s Residential Care and Assisted Living Facilities Program has modernized its facility search webpage to better help Idaho adults with one of the most difficult decisions they face: choosing a quality assisted living residence where their parents or loved ones can receive around-the-clock care and supervision.

Leveraging consumer-style web search features such as filters, ratings and location-specific content, the new Facility Licensing and Regulatory Enforcement System (FLARES) webpage makes searching for assisted living facilities in Idaho faster and easier.

It also provides users with important details – whether Medicaid clients are accepted, the tenure of administrators, which facilities have received awards for outstanding compliance, the nature and veracity of any complaints filed and copies of the facility’s most recent DHW licensing inspection surveys. Continue reading

Brush up! Oral health is important to your overall health

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, so it’s a good time to remind everyone – adults and children alike – that your oral health is important to your overall health. Practicing good oral health habits such as daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits are easy steps toward keeping teeth and gums healthy at every age.

Why is oral health so important?

One of the main focus areas of the Oral Health Program at the Department of Health and Welfare is preventing tooth decay in children by providing oral health prevention programs across the state. These programs include school-based dental sealant clinics and fluoride varnish programs delivered in childcare centers and public health districts. Untreated childhood dental disease can put a significant financial burden on the family, cause poor performance in school, and lead to a lifetime of poor oral health.  Continue reading

Increase in deaths prompts warning for people to take precautions against the flu 

Flu deaths are on the rise across Idaho, with this year’s influenza season shaping up to be one of the most severe in recent memory.

“We are aware of 47 influenza-related deaths in Idaho so far this season, which includes 36 verified flu deaths and 11 current reports that are in the process of verification,” said Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, state influenza surveillance coordinator. “This is one of the most severe flu seasons in the state since 2000.”  Continue reading

Don’t dismiss a good night’s rest: Sleep is an important part of your overall health

Not getting enough sleep each night is associated with several chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even depression. More than a quarter of the population of the United States say they occasionally don’t get enough sleep, while nearly 10 percent say they have chronic insomnia. Sufficient sleep each night is a necessity and should be a priority for everyone.

Why is it a bad idea to consistently not get enough sleep?

Sleeping less than 7 hours a night on a regular basis can affect a person’s ability to make good decisions and increases your chance of getting into a vehicle accident. Sleep deprivation also increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and several other chronic diseases. It could even cause you to gain weight. And studies show that adults who get less than 7 hours a night increase their risk of dying at a younger age than those who get the recommended amount of sleep. Getting enough sleep is just as important to your overall health as regular exercise and healthy eating. Continue reading

Wear Red for Women on Friday to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke


Friday is Go Red for Women Day. If you feel like supporting awareness about heart disease and stroke for women, wear red to show it. Heart disease and stroke causes 1 in 3 deaths for women each year, which means about one woman dies from the diseases every 80 seconds, according to the American Heart Association.

Heart disease is big problem for both men and women, isn’t it?

Nationally, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. In Idaho, it is the second leading cause of death for men and women, after cancer. It’s a close second, though, and the statistics are alarming: 1 in 31 women dies from breast cancer each year, but heart disease kills 1 in 3.  Continue reading

(Updated with links to handouts) DHW to begin budget presentations this morning in JFAC

Department of Health and Welfare will kick off Health and Human Services Week with its budget presentations at 8 a.m. Monday in the meeting chambers of the Joint Appropriations-Finance Committee (JFAC) in the Idaho Statehouse. DHW leadership will present the governor’s budget recommendations for the department, starting with a department overview from DHW Director Richard Armstrong. Continue reading

Idaho is Committed to Improving Medicaid Transportation

During the legislative hearing today for the Idaho House and Senate Health and Welfare committees, a number of individuals voiced concerns about the performance of Idaho Medicaid’s contracted non-emergency medical transportation broker, Veyo, and their contracted drivers.

Veyo ensures that transportation is provided for Medicaid participants to medical appointments and other Medicaid benefits.  Veyo centrally coordinates requests for transportation from Medicaid participants and assigns them to a network of transportation providers.  Veyo took over the brokerage contract from American Medical Response in July of 2016.  Medicaid’s responsibility is to monitor this contract and ensure that it is working as intended and with a high level of responsible service.

A change this big is never easy.  Veyo and their provider network initially struggled with the switch.  Medicaid responded by working closely with Veyo, transportation providers and community advocates to identify, target, and address areas for performance improvement.    Continue reading