DHHR

Shopping, Clothes, Girl Shopping
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The application deadline for school clothing vouchers in West Virginia has been extended to Aug. 10.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Division of Family Assistance made the announcement in a news release Tuesday.

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Yesterday, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced 48 Child Protective Services positions will be added across the state.

In a press release, the DHHR said the positions will primarily serve counties with extremely high caseloads.

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Dr. Michael Brumage resigned today as director of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Drug Control Policy after less than two months on the job.

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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources released an analysis today of the factors that contribute to a person’s likelihood of fatally overdosing. 

The report presents a kind of “profile of an overdose victim in West Virginia.” Researchers found that men are twice as likely to die from a drug overdose as women. They also found that men working in blue collar industries that have a higher risk of injury may be at an increased risk for overdose death.

About 70 percent of those who fatally overdosed had Medicaid in the 12 months preceding their death.

On The Legislature Today, we chat with state Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch about a massive reorganization bill that was introduced in the House of Delegates. The bill would divide DHHR into four separate agencies.

Cigarette, tobacco
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The number of adults who smoke cigarettes in West Virginia has significantly declined since 2011.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human resources released new data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey by DHHR’s Health Statistics Center that shows a decrease in smoking adults of almost 4 percent from 2011 to 2016.

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Nearly $21 million in state funding has been awarded to expand residential treatment services for substance abuse across West Virginia. The state Department of Health and Human Resources announced the funding Monday. Two of the programs are in Morgantown and two are in Parkersburg, with one apiece in Beckley, Culloden, Huntington, Martinsburg and Wheeling.

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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced Thursday steps for an opioid response plan to combat the opioid epidemic. DHHR is asking West Virginians to help develop the plan through public comment and recommendations over the next 15 days.

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In the next episode of Window's into Health Care - our occasional series talking with health experts from around the state - health reporter Kara Lofton sits down with  Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch to talk about his work and what he feels are the biggest health issues the state is facing.

In the transcript below, Crouch talks about how the DHHR is dealing with the opioid crisis, concerns about the state's growing foster care crisis and how chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity impact West Virginia. 

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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources announced it has started drug screening benefits applicants of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

DHHR said in a news release it began screening people who apply for TANF, also known as WV WORKS, early last week.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia is one of the unhealthiest states in the nation. The state is also in the middle of a budget crisis that impacts critical health services. At the state level, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources budget has been cut $181 million since 2015. Bill Crouch, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources cabinet secretary, said any more cuts would result in a reduction of services.

“The reality is that many of these cuts will affect individuals and communities and providers in communities,” he said.

Tim Miley
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A bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state is bypassing the committee process, putting it on the fast track for a vote in the House. Senate Bill 386 was read for a first time on the floor Thursday night after a 54 to 40 procedural vote to bring it straight to the floor.

The vote has been called historic in the chamber. But several delegates argued pulling the bill out of the committee process was the only way members would get to put the medical marijuana bill to a vote this session.

Mike Folk
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A senate bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state is being fast-tracked through the West Virginia House of Delegates. Senate Bill 386, which passed out of the state Senate Wednesday night on a 28 to 6 vote, would create the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, legalizing medical marijuana in West Virginia.

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State funding to pay for indigent burials in West Virginia has run out five months before the end of the fiscal year, an official for a funeral directors group said.

Frederick Kitchen, West Virginia Funeral Directors Association president, told The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register that an increase in drug overdose deaths is to blame.

Hollyanne Haeder, Simon Haeder, Haeder
Simon Haeder

Childcare costs are high no matter where you are in the country. But in West Virginia, it's even worse - according to a 2016 report by the think tank New America and Care.com, parents in the Mountain State shoulder the highest cost burden, spending about 45 percent of the state's median household income on childcare.

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Since July 1, the state Bureau for Public Health has been holding public hearings across West Virginia to discuss proposed Source Water Protection Plans.

The plans are the result of legislation approved after a 2014 chemical spill in Charleston left hundreds of thousands of people without usable drinking water for days.

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The drug epidemic in West Virginia affects more than just the work force, or the number of people in a prison cell or treatment center. It’s also had a major impact on the state’s foster children. West Virginia Public Broadcasting introduces the Holben family who has seen the impacts of the drug epidemic first-hand.

West Virginia State Capitol
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The state Juvenile Justice Commission is accusing the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources of operating under a "cloak of secrecy" while negotiating new contracts to place youths in residential psychiatric facilities.

The commission released a report Monday saying that the DHHR intended to "unilaterally" overhaul the residential placement system without consulting key figures in the juvenile justice system or considering how the changes would affect residential centers' finances.

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The Department of Health and Human Resources and the West Virginia University School of Public Health released a major plan this week to improve the state's healthcare system.

The two agencies recommend that a third, independent nonprofit group be founded. This nonprofit would coordinate state and federal healthcare resources and oversee the transition from fee-for-service payment (you pay based on the services you receive) to value-based healthcare (you pay based on your health outcomes).

Energy, heat, money, thermostat, heat pump, furnace
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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has announced a second application period for the federally funded Low Income Energy Assistance Program. The program is available to state residents with income at our below 130 percent of the federal poverty line in need of assistance paying home heating bills.  

Applications are being accepted from February 29, 2016 – March 11, 2016 from new households that were not previously approved for assistance.

The maximum allowable gross income levels for LIEAP FY 2016 are listed below:

HOUSEHOLD SIZE

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School-based fluoride rinse programs have been available to West Virginia schools for decades. Advocates argue they are still one of the cheapest and most effective tools schools have for preventing tooth decay. However, they are not well utilized. Recently, the Bureau for Public Health, which funds these programs, has begun a push to get more schools to take advantage of them.

At Mount Hope Elementary School in Fayette County, health educator Rosalie McCauley passes out toothbrushes and plastic cups of bubblegum-flavored fluoride mouth rinse to students.

Zika, United States, Mosquitos, virus, Appalachia
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While West Virginia continues to be free of the Zika virus, the Appalachian states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and Georgia have all reported cases. The virus is spread through mosquitoes and was first dectected in South America.

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West Virginia health officials are reporting a spike in the disease commonly known as whooping cough.

According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports 52 confirmed cases of pertussis in West Virginia so far this year. That's up from 18 cases last year and 19 cases in 2013.

Potomac Center Receives Provisional License

Apr 29, 2014
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The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources has issued a six month provisional license to the Potomac Center in Hampshire County. 

A news release says the license will allow the Center to open cottages to house eight children ages five to 21 years of age. Earlier this year 24 children were moved from the Center after allegations of physical and sexual abuse surface.

Lily’s Place Hoping to Open Soon

Mar 17, 2014

Lily’s Place, a drug rehabilitation facility for new born babies in Huntington, is still trying to open its doors to babies in need in the region.