Carline Jean MCT / Landov

The nonprofit community health centers of Washington are concerned about the latest action by lawmakers dealing with money from marijuana sales in the state.

Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana, mandated that 5 percent of tax revenues from pot sales go to nonprofit community health centers.

But the public policy director for Community Health Network, Molly Belozer Firth, said the House and Senate have both proposed budgets that divert that money elsewhere, rather than to what they see as a priority, serving the uninsured.

Medicaid Payment Woes Plague Idaho Mental-Health Providers

Aug 25, 2014
Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The state’s effort to rein in Medicaid costs has created deep friction between small businesses that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients and a new contractor hired to manage them.

Idaho's 2013 Medicaid Rolls At Highest Level Yet

Mar 5, 2014
Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare/ Emilie Ritter Saunders

The number of low-income Idahoans on Medicaid increased 3.5 percent in 2013, a figure the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says marks a slow-down in growth of the program. On average, 236,352 Idahoans were signed up for Medicaid each month of 2013. That's the highest average monthly enrollment the state has ever recorded.

ABCD All It Takes For Low-Income Kids To Get A Dentist

Dec 2, 2013
Melissa Clark/Flickr

When a child’s first tooth erupts, the American Dental Association recommends parents get them into the dentist. For low income families, that sometimes isn't an option. But Washington’s low-income kids have more dentist visits than in any other state.

Idaho and Oregon are among the states that have seen a decrease in the number of uninsured. The drop was mainly due to an increase in the number of people enrolled in public insurance programs, like Medicaid. Those are some of the findings of new reports out Thursday from the Census Bureau.

The Oregon House Tuesday approved a measure to renew a tax paid by hospitals and long-term care facilities. The concept isn't controversial since the institutions that pay it are largely reimbursed by federal Medicaid dollars. But the vote became a skirmish in a larger political battle in Salem.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – More than 100 health care advocates gathered in Olympia in support of Medicaid expansion Thursday. It coincided with an announcement by Gov. Jay Inslee, unveiling his budget priorities. His proposal includes an expansion of Medicaid.

That pleases Lauren Granger, a healthcare worker at the rally.

“I really hope that the legislature hears this message and isn’t pinching pennies in the wrong place and just have it be more expensive later on,” she says.

Washington Governor Unveils Job Creation Plan

Feb 13, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled a series of proposals Wednesday in Olympia he’s hoping will create more jobs. The Democratic governor’s plan focuses on training for tech-savvy workers and funding transportation projects. He also says expanding Medicaid next year will lead to more than 10,000 new jobs within two years.

“Expansion of Medicaid is a system that will not only reach over 250,000 Washingtonians with health care, but will help job creation all across the state.”

A new federal waiver for Oregon includes a provision aimed at luring doctors to small towns. The state won final approval Monday from the Obama administration for plans to move ahead with big changes in health care.

Photo credit: Sarah Gilbert/ Flickr / KUOW

The state has been trying to crack down on ER visits for conditions that are not critical. But health care providers say the state’s policies go too far, they’re unsafe for patients, and will shift costs to hospitals.

Hospitals and emergency room doctors want to address the problem their own way. They’ve put together what they call best practices for reducing unnecessary ER visits. A key component of that is using an electronic health information system.