Health and Medicine

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – The state agency overseeing Medicaid expansion in Virginia is set to roll out an advertising campaign seeking eligible patients in the next two months. The [Charlottesville] Daily Press reports the Department of Medical Assistance Services has set aside $750,000 to advertise Medicaid expansion through radio spots, billboards, digital advertising and bus ads ahead of the Jan. 1 implementation. It will spend another $250,000 on brochures and posters.

The department’s director, Dr. Jennifer Lee, tells the newspaper she’s also relying on local social service agencies who will help screen patients to get the word out. Eligible patients can enroll in a number of ways, including by visiting their local social service agency, calling the Cover VA call center or online . As many as 400,000 new adults will be covered under the expansion.

Virginia has seen a record number of West Nile Virus cases this year, and until the first frost arrives, the threat for more remains. 38 cases have been reported in 2018 — most of them are in urban areas, where breeding grounds abound for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Virus. Homeowners are urged to make sure there is no standing water in things like wheelbarrows, buckets or kiddie pools. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

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A public hearing is set for later today on LewisGale Medical Center’s latest effort to gain state approval for a neo-natal intensive care unit. It is LewisGale’s fourth attempt in seven years. Right now, Carilion operates the only such unit in the Roanoke Valley at Roanoke Memorial Hospital. The hearing begins at noon at the Salem Public Library. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

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LewisGale Regional Health System announced today it is acquiring Salem-based Virginia Orthopaedic effective October 1. The new entity will be named LewisGale Physicians – Virginia Orthopedics. It will operate from the medical care providers current offices at 101 Knotbreak Road in Salem. Nine of Virginia Orthopaedic’s 10 providers will remain with the new organization.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia regulators have picked five companies to open the state’s first medical cannabis dispensaries. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that after more than five hours of private discussion Tuesday, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy gave initial approval to five of the 51 applicants. Each of the state’s five health service areas will feature a dispensary. The conditional awardees include Maryland-based Green Leaf Medical, Illinois-based PharmaCann and Florida-based Columbia Care. The other two licenses were awarded to newer ventures from Virginia entrepreneurs partnering with out-of-state partners: Dharma Pharmaceuticals and Dalitso LLC. The companies will open state’s first authorized marijuana-growing facilities within a year, but dispensaries are only allowed to sell non-psychoactive oil to approved patients. These companies will also have to undergo background checks before the licenses are finalized.