The state board of health has voted against setting maximum patient caps for medical marijuana caregivers. The proposed rule would have limited caregivers to just ten patients. After a tense and at times tearful hearing on Tuesday, the board said the change was unnecessary. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.
Pueblo’s first needle exchange is set to take place Friday. KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.
The exchange is geared toward illegal injection drug users in order to help prevent the spread of Hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Access Point Pueblo is a legal syringe access program and is hosting the exchange.
Dr. Michael Nerenberg sits on the City-County Board of Health and has helped bring the program to Pueblo. He’s also a retired emergency room physician who worked in the city for over 24 years. Nerenberg says he’s seen drug use, including heroin, escalate over the years.
Health officials are reporting the first rabid bat of the season in El Paso County. As KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports, rabies is also showing up in surrounding areas.
Three children discovered the bat in Southwest Colorado Springs, and two were recommended for rabies post exposure treatment.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says as of early last month, 24 wild animals across the state have tested positive for the disease this year. Three were found in surrounding Pueblo and Elbert counties.
West Nile virus is appearing in mosquitoes across the state earlier than expected this year. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
The virus has been found in mosquito populations in northern Colorado counties and on the Western Slope. State Public Health Veterinarian Jennifer House says they’re not sure why mosquitoes are showing up with the virus earlier this the year, but that means people are at risk sooner than expected.
Governor John Hickenlooper signed two measures into law Wednesday, both aimed at tightening rules around marijuana edibles and concentrates. One goal is to make sure young children don’t accidentally ingest the drug.
The state senate significantly watered down a vaccine education proposal on Wednesday. Many parents came to the state capitol to testify that the original bill was a government overreach.
House Bill 1288 requires schools and day care centers to collect data on the number of children immunized and the rate of exemptions. But the bill originally required parents to take an online education class or get a letter from a doctor or public health official before opting their children out of vaccines.
A number of controversial healthcare bills are up for debate at the statehouse this legislative session. For this week’s Capitol Conversation, statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland talks to reporters about some of them, and also talks about one of the biggest budget fights going forward.
Colorado is no longer the least obese state in the country, according to a new Gallup poll released yesterday. KUNC’s Luke Runyon reports.
Since 2010 Colorado has consistently topped lists as having the slimmest population in the country. Not anymore. Montana has usurped the title, where 19.6% of the population is obese, compared to Colorado’s 20.4, putting the Centennial State in second place. Mississippi has the highest level, at 35 percent.
Officials from Connect For Health Colorado say they’re on track to be self-sustaining when federal subsidies run out next year. KRCC’s Nat Stein on the latest from the state’s health insurance exchange.
Almost 69,000 Coloradoans have gotten health insurance through the state’s new insurance marketplace. That includes a significant uptick since the end of last year.
CEO Patty Fontneau told lawmakers on Thursday the exchange won’t need to charge high fees on premiums, due to the enrollment numbers. She also says the exchange plans on trimming staff to help cut costs.
Cantaloupe farmers in eastern Colorado responsible for a deadly outbreak of listeria two years ago were sentenced today after pleading guilty to six misdemeanor charges in October. KRCC’s Nat Stein has more.
A federal magistrate in Denver sentenced brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen to five years of probation, starting with six months of home detention. Each brother also must pay $150,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.
Penrose-St. Francis is now the first hospital in southern Colorado to attain Magnet recognition for its nursing. According to a press release from the hospital, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, or ANCC, currently recognizes less than a tenth of the nation’s hospitals with Magnet distinction. Hospitals must apply for the credential and undergo a rigorous review process, including onsite. To maintain the rating, facilities must reapply every four years and demonstrate improvement in patient care and outcomes.
Active and retired miners are eligible for free health screenings in Pueblo this week through the Miners Clinic of Colorado. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.
The screenings consist of physical exams, questionnaires, and chest X-rays, among other tests. Current miners are eligible for the Black Lung Clinic, while miners that worked in the uranium industry before 1972 are eligible for the Radiation and Exposure Screening and Education Program or RESEP. Other criteria apply.
The Centers for Disease Control says Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin is joined this month by Major Douglas Langford, a neurologist at Fort Carson. They start by defining what Alzheimer’s is and how it’s different from other forms of dementia, or even just getting older.
Many people are prescribed medications to treat different kinds of conditions, and it’s not always about simply feeling better. For this month’s Healthy Conversation, KRCC's Andrea Chalfin is joined by Dr. Steven Lang, a family physician at Fort Carson to talk about prescription medications.
Despite the government shutdown, a big new part of the federal health care law is still going into effect. New marketplaces for health insurance, or “exchanges,” have been open for one week today. Health reporter Eric Whitney has been following developments closely, and came by the KRCC newsroom to talk about what’s happening, and what the new requirement to have health insurance means for people in Colorado.
The Pueblo City-County Health Department is reporting another West Nile Virus case. KRCC’s Maggie Spencer has more.
All four cases of the mosquito borne virus in Pueblo County this year have been confirmed within the past month.
Pueblo City-County Health Department director Dr. Christine Nevin-Woods expects the risk of mosquito bites and West Nile Virus to decrease as the weather gets colder, but still recommends precautions like draining standing water, avoiding the outdoors at dusk and dawn, and using deet.
Testing for lead and arsenic exposure is underway for a sampling of Pueblo’s south side residents this week. KRCC’s Shanna Lewis reports:
Federal staffers recruited participants who live within a half mile of the former Colorado Smelter. The smelter ceased operations in 1908, but slag – waste material from making steel – was left behind. The tests are aimed at children and women of childbearing age. Dr. Bruce Tierney is a medical officer with the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Update, Sat 11:30 AM: The boil advisory is now lifted.
Update, Fri 5:15 PM: The boil advisory for Manitou Springs is still in effect, but for certain neighborhoods only. The city says the lower section of Crystal Hills Boulevard and Vias Subdivisions require some follow-up testing, which is expected to be complete tomorrow morning. Other areas, including the downtown business district, are no longer under the boil advisory.
Streets specifically affected by the continuing boil water advisory are:
Weld County in northeastern Colorado, one of the most drilled in the nation, was also among the hardest hit by this week’s historical floodwaters. State regulators and oil and gas industry workers are now scrambling to assess the damage and mitigate the health and environmental impacts.
“At this point – as access continues to be limited and emergency responders remain focused on lives, property and roadways – we have limited information about specific impacts or particular locations,” said Todd Hartman, spokesman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).
The number of suicides in Colorado is at an all time high. 1,053 people took their own lives in 2012 – giving Colorado one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. Jarrod Hindman is the Director of Suicide Prevention at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He says the state’s geography limits access to mental health services, and the social stigma of getting help continues to contribute to the numbers.
Veterans and other military leaders gathered at the state capitol yesterday to talk about ways to improve treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Mike Coffman put a task force together to recommend better federal policies. Bente Birkeland has more from the capitol.
A new study finds deployment-related factors like combat experience or days deployed have little or no influence on suicide rates. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin has more from one doctor who's researching suicide in the military.
Every Saturday morning, Shirley Epstein puts on her walking shoes and heads to a tree-lined park to join dozens of friends, and her doctor, for a long walk.
Epstein’s walk with her doc is taking place in Denver. But it’s part of a program being replicated across the state – from Grand Junction to Pueblo to Fort Collins to Greeley – as a national effort to “Walk with a Doc” has caught on among medical professionals and hundreds of their patients in Colorado.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month, so for this month’s Healthy Conversation, we’re talking vaccinations. KRCC's Andrea Chalfin is joined by Lt. Col. Diane Heinz of Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, and we begin by talking about what back to school means for vaccines.