DHHS

Ebola Sign
Leoneda Inge

The first diagnosed Ebola case in the United States and the first death, has raised awareness of the deadly disease from California to the Carolinas.

Hospitals and health professionals are especially on alert.  The state Department of Health and Human Services has been working closely with health care providers since the summer, to prepare for the possibility of an Ebola patient being diagnosed here.

One addict talked about scoring methadone regularly at a Bible study.
Savio Sebastian / Flickr/Creative Commons

This is the third in a three-part series about the problem of heroin in North Carolina.  (Parts one and two are below.)

Heroin in NC Part Three: Bible Study

North Carolina is not immune to the nation's growing heroin problem. The number of overdose deaths in the state has quadrupled in just a few years. More people are seeking treatment.  In our final installment of the series, Jeff Tiberii reports on efforts to re-open a shuttered clinic in High Point.

Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh
Dave DeWitt

The state has released new documents about negotiations to sell the Dorothea Dix Hospital Campus to Raleigh. While an agreement looks close the two parties still haven't settled all the terms.

The state and the city both agree that $52 million is a fair price for the 308-acre property.

The problem is that Raleigh wants to buy the land outright, and build a destination park there. But the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services campus is on the property, and the state doesn't plan to move it.

First responders in Guilford County have administered hundreds of doses of Naloxone, or NARCAN, this year. Heroin overdoses and deaths are on the rise.
Jeff Tiberii

A new government study says deaths from heroin overdose in the United States doubled between 2010 and 2012. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at data from 28 states. That upward trend is also taking place in North Carolina, where heroin deaths climbed from 38 to 183 between 2010 and 2013; representing an increase of 480%.  In response, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 20 last year.

A map of North Carolina Infant Mortality Rates 2009-2013
NCDHHS

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported Tuesday that infant mortality is at its lowest level in state history.

For the past two years, infant mortality rates had risen -- going from 7.0 per 1000 live births in 2010 to 7.4 in 2012. But last year, the numbers shot back down, returning to 2010 levels, the lowest in history.

DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos
Jessica Jones

North Carolina's Secretary of Health and Human Services spoke before a legislative committee Wednesday to explain organizational changes made in one of her divisions.

Secretary Aldona Wos explained the changes will help streamline the Division of Medical Assistance, which administers the state's Medicaid program. She also told legislators that a formerly enormous backlog in the IT system used to process Medicaid applications- called NC FAST- has been reduced by 81 percent. The Secretary says she expects the system to be caught up by the end of October.

A picture of colorized Ebola particles.
Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine / Wikipedia

North Carolina health officials are following the spread of the Ebola virus in Western Africa. It was announced this week that two aid workers from North Carolina-based relief organizations have tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Kent Brantley of Samaritan's Purse and Nancy Writebol of Service in Mission were both working to combat the outbreak at a hospital in Liberia when they were infected.

Vaccine, shot,
Wake Med

State health officials have approved a measure that would require rising 7th graders to receive the meningitis vaccine.

One more administrative step is required before the vaccination would become mandatory. The vaccine is for meningitis and other meningococcal diseases. Bacterial meningitis is most common in people between the ages of 15 and 21, but only about half of thi state's teenagers currently receive the vaccination.
 

NC Department of Health and Human Services logo
NC Department of Health and Human Services

Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services say they have met a federal deadline as of yesterday to clear its backlog of food stamp applications. Earlier this year, the US Department of Agriculture threatened to pull 88 million dollars in funding if deadlines were not met.

Sherri Bradsher is the deputy secretary for human services at DHHS. She says the number of households that still need food stamps fall within the USDA's parameters of meeting the deadline.

Doctors at Duke Hospital.
Duke Medecine

The NC Department of Health and Human Services unveiled its plan on Monday to reform the state's Medicaid system. While it had already signaled a shift from Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) months ago, the new plan partially outlines how the state would like to achieve that shift.

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