Health and Medicine

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed a new state budget that expands Medicaid to as many as 400,000 low-income adults. The Democratic governor signed the legislation Thursday on the steps outside the state Capitol. He said the bipartisan compromise on Medicaid expansion is a stark contrast to the “chaos and partisan warfare” in national politics. The General Assembly voted last week to approve the budget with Medicaid expansion. The vote ended a long-running partisan stalemate over the issue, with several Republicans joining Democrats to support the measure. A tally from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows Virginia will become the 33rd state to approve Medicaid expansion. Expanding Medicaid was a key provision of the Affordable Care Act pushed by former President Barack Obama.

Rep. Morgan Griffith

A bill signed into law yesterday gives many patients with life-threatening medical conditions the right to use unproven drugs that are not yet federally-approved. Congressman Morgan Griffith is one of the measure’s original co-sponsors. It is called “Right to Try” legislation that basically permits people with terminal illnesses and have run out of other treatment options to try drugs that have not yet received full Food and Drug Administration approval. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia is poised to expand Medicaid after years of partisan battles. The Republican-controlled General Assembly is set to pass a state budget Wednesday that’s expected to include expanding Medicaid eligibility to an additional 400,000 low-income adults. Scheduling of the vote comes after a last-ditch parliamentary effort by Senate GOP opponents to block expansion failed Tuesday. Pro-expansion lawmakers have a majority in both the Senate and the House, and Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam is a strong proponent of expansion. Democrats have pushed unsuccessfully for years to expand Medicaid in Virginia. Several state Republicans dropped their opposition this year, saying the state would be better off with increased federal funding for the program. A tally from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that Virginia will become the 33rd state to approve Medicaid expansion.

The American Red Cross has to get creative when it gets to blood drives at certain times of the year – there’s one tied to a friendly “competition” in Roanoke, today until 6pm as WFIR’s Gene Marrano reports:

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Click below to hear our full in-studio conversation with local Red Cross  executive director Jackie Grant:

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(VDH release) Following heavy rain events this week, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reminds people to take precautions to avoid flooded areas, and once the sun comes out, be aware of potential health risks before you participate in recreational water activities.

Heavy rains can increase the risk of exposure to animal waste and inadequately treated wastewater from sewage treatment plants. Bacteria, debris and other pollutants are collected by rainwater as it travels over the land and ends up in rivers, lakes and streams. This mix of rain and pollution can pose risks to human health and safety. Rain events also cause flooding and fast-moving waters, especially in low-lying areas.

The most common illnesses from contaminated water are gastrointestinal illnesses. This may cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain or fever. These illnesses result from swallowing water contaminated by disease-causing microbiological organisms. Additionally, contact with contaminated water has the potential to cause upper respiratory (ear, nose, throat) and skin infections.