Department of Veterans Affairs /

U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald says his department is making progress in rebuilding trust lost in last year’s scandal involving manipulated wait times and falsified waiting lists. 

In a visit to Indiana Thursday, McDonald said the disability claims backlog has been reduced by 80-percent in the last couple of years, and the VA has completed more than seven million more appointments this year than last year. 

Richard Rutter /

Missouri is home to two of the nation’s least accessible cities - St. Louis and Springfield. A group named WalletHub gathered information to compile this list of accessible cities. And one criteria it used was how easily people with disabilities can move around. Or, in the case of these cities, can’t.

State Plans To End Bird Show Ban In September

Jul 10, 2015
United Soybean Board /

Indiana’s ban on poultry shows could stop rustling feathers on September 17. Indiana’s Board of Animal Health issued the ban during an avian flu outbreak, but no new cases have emerged anywhere in the country in the past three weeks. 

The U.S. can officially be declared flu-free if the virus doesn’t appear by mid-September. State veterinarian Bret Marsh says along with setting an end date for the bird ban, the state has narrowed it to cover just poultry -- not parrots, doves or pigeons.

Drug Take-Back Program Gains Momentum

Jul 9, 2015
Erica Gibson / WBAA News

The West Lafayette Police Department’s drug take-back program has seen a recent increase in the tonnage of pills it collects.  Janet Winslow, who also runs the anti-drug D.A.R.E. Office program in local schools, says the concurrent problems of prescription drug abuse and over-prescription of drugs by some doctors may prompt the Lafayette Police Department and the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s office to create similar collection systems.

What's Causing A 20% Drop In Indiana's Abortion Rate

Jul 2, 2015
Alice Harold /

Abortion rates are on the decline  across the country.

A recent Associated Press survey revealed abortion rates on average dropped 12-percent nationally. In Indiana the decline was even more dramatic. 

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Gretchen Frazee reports on what’s likely causing the decline and what that means for young women in Indiana.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act's tax subsidies was a major victory for the Obama administration. The healthcare law is now two-for-two surviving challenges before he nation’s highest court. Butother lawsuits that could gut the bill still loom -- including a challenge out of Indiana.  

Indiana Republicans opposed the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including their refusal to create a state-run insurance marketplace.  Now, an impending Supreme Court decision could leave thousands of Hoosiers without subsidies to help pay for that health care.  And partisan differences are once again shaping the debate on how to respond if the state loses those subsidies.

When IU School of Social Work Professor Heather McCabe found out Indiana would not create a state-run exchange under the Affordable Care Act, she was surprised.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Tens of thousands of people across Indiana are waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court to decide the fate of their federal health insurance subsidies.

The Supreme Court will rule within the next several days on a lawsuit claiming the Affordable Care Act doesn’t allow enrollees in states that chose not to operate state-run health care exchanges to access subsidies that reduce the cost of insurance. 

Scott County HIV Outbreak Subsiding

Jun 18, 2015
Barbara Harrington /

State health officials say the HIV outbreak in Scott County has leveled off. 170 cases have been diagnosed in Scott County this year, but Deputy State Health Commissioner Jennifer Walthall says new cases are becoming less frequent.

"The number of new cases per week since the middle of April has dramatically decreased from a peak of around 23 in the late part of April in one week to zero cases, one case, two cases," Walthall says.

State Health Department Creating Trauma Guidebook

Jun 5, 2015
Luigi Scorcia /

The Indiana State Department of Health plans to target preventable injuries with a resource guide for emergency rooms and child-welfare caseworkers.

Officials plan to complete a guidebook by the end of the month, spelling out strategies for preventing 10 common injury sources, from child abuse to senior citizen falls. 

Some of those topics are what the Centers for Disease Control classify as "winnable battles" -- areas where the solution is to simply not do something. Other areas will offer proactive suggestions, says injury prevention epidemiologist Jessica Skiba.