health care

Access to health care for American Indians is difficult to gauge because the agency that oversees it does a poor job of tracking patient wait times, a report by a federal watchdog found.

Arizona health officials are gearing up to award dozens of additional licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries.

The Department of Health Services says the exact number of licenses that will be awarded isn't yet known but says there likely will be about 30 available when the state beings accepting applications this summer.

Arizona now has 99 licensed dispensaries and that 92 of those are open and operating.

According to the department, 97 percent of the state's residents live within 25 miles of an operating dispensary.

The Pueblo Chieftain

Members of the first Navajo Nation Veterans Advisory Council were sworn into office this week. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the 10-member group was created to give the tribe’s veterans easier access to healthcare and other benefits

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The director of the federal Medicaid program has fired a broadside over efforts in Arizona and other state legislatures to block funding for Planned Parenthood.

Vikki Wachino's Tuesday letter to state Medicaid agencies in all 50 states strongly reminded them that they cannot cut funding to otherwise qualified medical providers just because they might also provide abortion services.

Wachino said the "free choice of provider" provision in federal Medicaid law bars such actions.

Arizona lawmakers have advanced three measures targeting abortion providers after hearings in the Arizona Senate.

Republican Sen. Nancy Barto's Senate Bill 1474 also was sent to the full Senate on Wednesday. It makes it illegal for an abortion provider to sell or otherwise transfer a human fetus or embryo for use in research. Planned Parenthood of Arizona says it doesn't have a fetal tissue-donation program.

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters/Newscom

About a third of the Arizonans who bought health insurance on the federal marketplace for 2015 will have to find a new provider following action by state insurance regulators to suspend the state's nonprofit insurance co-op's ability to sell new policies.

The suspension of Meritus Health Partners means about 59,000 people will need new insurance.

The percentage of adult Arizonans who smoke continues to drop.

The Arizona Department of Health Services says the percentage of smokers as of 2014 was at an all-time low of 15.3 percent. That's down a percentage point from the rate in 2013.

Tobacco prevention and cessation programs head Courtney Ward says the decrease continues a trend. She says factors behind that trend include an ongoing anti-tobacco media campaign and a 2007 tobacco tax increase approved by voters.

The number of abortions reported in Arizona is down.

A state report says there were 12,900 reported abortions performed in Arizona in 2014. That's down 3.7 percent from the 13,401 reported abortions performed in 2013 in Arizona.

About three-quarters of the abortions performed in 2014 involved surgical procedures, while the remainder used a medication-induced procedure.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A proposed federal regulation would limit the pharmaceutical chemicals reaching the nation’s waterways.

The rule will affect hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and long-term care centers. They’ll be banned from flushing pharmaceuticals classified as hazardous waste down the drain. That includes chemotherapy drugs, blood thinners, nicotine and certain nutritional supplements. 

AZ Central

Gov. Doug Ducey wants able-bodied Arizonans on the state's Medicaid program for the poor to pay into health savings accounts and be charged co-pays for some services. But those proposals and others he's touting got a tough reception at the first meeting where the public was allowed to weigh in.

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