Special-needs kids find results through aquatic therapy

, KTVB 10:27 p.m.
MST January 12, 2016

BOISE – Lullaby Waters is not your typical occupational therapy clinic. It focuses on the healing power of water, and children with special needs are seeing real results from this unique form of therapy.

“We call it the lullaby effect,” said Nicole Nickell, an occupational therapist. “We wanted it to embody what we were going for and that was that peaceful, easy feeling.”

Nickell is passionate about helping children with special needs, but getting her idea off the ground was a big undertaking. The first challenge came in finding a landlord that would accept the installation of a pool. Nickell found a spot in a building on Broadway Avenue.

“We had the pool installed,” she said. “It’s state of the art – an endless pool.”

Now six months after opening, the indoor aquatic therapy center is a dream come true for Nickell.

“It’s been a big venture,” she said. “But I would say that it’s already worth it.”

Her clients agree.

“I was expecting a hospital setting with a big waiting room, but when I came here it was very intimate and relaxed and just what we were looking for,” said Isabella Hale, whose baby daughter, Leona, loves getting in the water. “It’s definitely one of her favorite therapies. A time when she can smile and play in the water because she is free.”

Nickell says the serenity provided by aquatic therapy is second to none, especially for children with special needs.

“Leona has cerebral palsy and she has very high muscle tone, so we’ve been working with Leona to try to help her relax and find that peace, that calm, decrease her pain,” said Nickell.

Buhl woman competes in national Miss Amazing pageant

Maggie O’Mara, KTVB 11:15 a.m. MDT August 6, 2015

(click here for full article)

BOISE – Brandi Hosman of Buhl has overcome so much in her young life. She has survived two horrific car accidents, two comas, and she had to relearn everything after a severe brain injury.

This past spring, she was crowned 2015 Senior Miss at the Idaho Miss Amazing pageant. It’s a pageant that celebrates girls and women with disabilities. And last week, she competed in the national pageant in Los Angeles with the other title holders from Idaho.

The path to Los Angeles has been a long one for the 29-year-old, who was severely injured in a crash back in June 2002. She was just 16 years old and was behind the wheel.

“There was a truck pulling a horse trailer behind me and hit me,” she said. “My memory goes blank after that.”

It was a parent’s worst nightmare.

“We got a phone call,” recalled Brandi’s mom, Farah Hosman. “This friend said ‘it’s actually pretty bad, you need to come quick.'”

Brandi was airlifted to a Boise hospital.

“Her coma score was so low, they gave her a five-percent chance of survival,” said Farah, who refused to give up on her daughter. “Finally, I had to get the mother bear in me to come out. I just felt like I needed to treat her like she was going to live because nobody else was.”

With a lot of therapy and her family’s love, Brandi started coming back.

“I had a very good attitude I guess,” she said. “Because I knew early on that I would regain all of what I had lost. I had a lot of help from on high as well, you know? So I am so grateful.”

Boise State opens Veterans Lounge on campus

Kim Fields, KTVB 5:47 p.m. MST March 2, 2015
(click here for full article)
BOISE — An exciting endeavor is happening at Boise State University. It is all about veterans and the university’s commitment to the men and women who serve our country.

We all know that Boise State is known for its football program, but did you know that Boise State has been named a “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs Magazine for six straight years. Now the university is increasing its commitment to veterans.

With an official cut of the ribbon, Boise State University’s Veteran Services Center unveiled a new, on-campus Veterans Lounge — a special place for veterans and their families.

The Veterans Services Center has already been assisting the university’s veterans with various programs like benefit claims and opportunities in the community. Now the new veterans lounge will be a place for veterans on campus to simply hang out — with game tables, TV and a kitchen area.

Boise State leaders say the new space represents the university’s dedication to growing and supporting the educational endeavors of veterans.
“We’re very happy for this moment because it means that it’s a space for our veterans to socialize, but more importantly it’s a space for our veterans to form a greater community here at Boise State,” said Dr. Christian Wuthrich, Dean of Students.

“Our goal is to make sure that you find the success you need in that next stage of life and that you share with us all your experiences all the richness that you can bring to us because you make us better by your presence,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, Vice President of Student Affairs.

R.K. Williams, Coordinator of Veteran Services, and Dr. Harris had a little fun with today’s opening by playing the first game of pool on the new pool table.

Jayden’s Journey: Nampa boy becomes MDA state ambassador

Maggie O’Mara,

KTVB 12:59 p.m. MST January 28, 2015

(click here for full article)

NAMPA — A 7-year-old Nampa boy is overcoming a debilitating disease to take on an inspiring journey as the new MDA State Ambassador. He has some big plans to make a difference in our state.

Jayden Long was diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy – a form of muscular dystrophy – when he was just three.

It causes him to become easily fatigued, his lungs are weak, and he’s losing some muscle function. But that’s not holding him back.

The second-grader at Centennial Elementary School has been tapped to the be the 2015 state ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Idaho. The night he was formally announced as ambassador was a special and emotional night for his family, especially his mom.

“Jayden is a superhero in his own right,” said Shellie Long. “He’s been dealt a horrible deck of cards, and he doesn’t complain and he never asks ‘why me?'”

The MDA means a lot to them.

“When my son was first diagnosed, which is a very hard thing to deal with, they were there for the support, they were there for the education,” said Shellie.

Jayden has an incredible, but busy, year ahead of him.

“His biggest honor is he gets to speak at the state firefighters convention,” said Shellie.

Our firefighters collect donations every year for the MDA by filling the boot, and that helps pay for research and programs like the MDA summer camp for kids. Jayden wanted to give back to those firefighters.

“On Christmas Eve I got the idea of bringing little fruit trays and treats to the firefighters to say thanks,” he said.

Jayden’s mom knows her son’s struggle well. She was also diagnosed with the same form of muscular dystrophy. Tragically, her other son died at just 77 days old from pneumonia, a likely complication of mitochondrial myopathy.

“Jaxon had passed away in his sleep … to say the least it’s the hardest thing you ever go through ever,” said Shellie.

“I barely got to even know him,” said Jayden about his little brother. “He had the same disease as I do.”

You can see why this honor is so important to Jayden and his family. He plans to work hard to spread awareness and raise money for the MDA.

Carey Crill, NP is joining our clinic team

Carey Crill is currently accepting patients in our Boise location.  If you were formally a patient of Carey’s or would like to establish care with Carey please call us today at (208) 338-4699.

Medicaid payment woes plague Idaho mental health service providers

A contractor the state hired to manage payments issues checks worth pennies


BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO, adutton@idahostatesman.comAugust 25, 2014

(click here for full article)

The state’s effort to rein in Medicaid costs has created deep friction between small businesses that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients and a new contractor hired to manage them.

Service providers across Idaho have raised complaints over the last 11 months that the contractor, Optum Idaho, a unit of United Behavioral Health, has created red tape and cut services needed by at-risk patients.

Now providers in the Treasure Valley have raised another complaint: Optum isn’t paying them promptly, putting their businesses’ survival and employees’ jobs at risk.

Optum says it has fixed a glitch that resulted in tiny claims payments to the companies, which provide counseling and other behavioral health services to low-income and disabled adults and children on Medicaid.

Optum says it erroneously sent small checks totaling amounts like $.05, $.07, or $.11 starting Aug. 1 to providers who care for Medicaid patients who need behavioral-health treatment.

“(We) apologize for any inconvenience caused by this temporary error, and we invite any provider with concerns or questions to call Optum Idaho,” Optum said in a statement.

But some providers say the problem actually began last September, when Optum took over management of Idaho’s Medicaid behavioral health system.

Two of the Treasure Valley’s largest mental health care providers for Medicaid patients say these tiny payments have recurred throughout Optum’s first 11 months in Idaho.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/08/25/3340115/payment-woes-plague-mental-services.html?sp=%2F99%2F1687%2F&ihp=1#storylink=cpy

Idaho losing $3.3 billion in federal Medicaid funds, says study

By Statesman staff

August 7, 2014

(click here for full article)

A new report says Idaho will lose $3.3 billion in federal Medicaid funds, and $1.5 billion for hospital reimbursement, over roughly the next decade by not expanding its Medicaid program to all poor adults.

The report from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released Thursday, says Idaho’s savings and new state revenues from a Medicaid expansion would the cost of implementing an expansion. Hospitals also would get reimbursed for newly eligible Medicaid patients who now lack insurance.

“The impact of not expanding Medicaid has broader implications than just the number of people who gain insurance. It significantly impacts state economies and hospital budgets,” said Kathy Hempstead, director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, whose goals include 95 percent of Americans being covered by health insurance. “States are literally leaving billions of dollars on the table that would support their hospitals and stimulate the rest of their economies.”

States were required under the 2010 Affordable Care Act to expand their Medicaid programs to include anyone living in poverty — not just poor children, poor pregnant and new mothers and adults with disabilities, as is the case in Idaho. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states don’t have to comply with that part of the law. The Idaho Legislature and Gov. Butch Otter have opted not to expand Idaho’s Medicaid program.

States that expand Medicaid will have at least 90 percent of their new Medicaid costs covered by the federal government, under the law. Idaho lawmakers have voiced concerns about that federal-match rate being cut, leaving Idaho responsible for medical costs of significantly more people — a concern the new report addresses.

Miles for Meghan: Students buy adaptive bike for classmate

by Maggie O’Mara


Posted on May 11, 2014 at 11:16 PM

Updated Monday, May 12 at 7:10 AM

(click here for full article)

EAGLE — Students at Eagle Middle School are going the extra mile to help out one of their classmates — they’ve raised more than $3,300 to help buy a special bicycle for her.

We first brought you Meghan Wildman’s inspirational story last June. The 13-year-old was paralyzed in a car accident last year. At the time, Meghan’s dance teacher made her dream to dance again possible, helping her to learn to dance in a wheelchair.

In addition to dancing, Meghan also loved bike riding, but hasn’t been able to since her accident. Her friends at school decided to change that.

Seventy-eight National Honors Society students organized Miles for Meghan – a rally to raise the money to buy her an adaptive hand cycle.

In the last year, Meghan has been doing a lot of physical therapy to get stronger.

“It was a really hard year, really hard,” said Meghan’s mom, Trina Holley Wagoner. “We’ve actually taken a turn toward hope.”

Hope that Meghan will walk again with the help of braces.

Her family is overwhelmed by the show of support from Eagle Middle School.


Susan G. Komen gives 250k for cancer screening and assistance

by Andrea Lutz


Posted on March 24, 2014 at 7:25 PM

“click here for full article”

BOISE– There continues to be a need in Idaho to get women screened for breast cancer, and Race for the Cure is right around the corner in May.

Money raised from that event as well as others is given to Idaho hospitals and clinics for breast cancer screening and financial assistance to patients.

This year Susan G. Komen Idaho is dispersing $250,000 in grants on April 1.

Mission Manager Jody Weak said that money is used in any and every way possible.

“We are granting to various hospitals clinics other non profits that are helping people with free mammograms, diagnostics services, patient assistance,” Weak explains. “It will help people pay for things like utility bills, travel to and from treatment, things like that.”

According to Weak fundraising is down from the previous year, and that is a problem.

“Idaho is last in the nation for women getting screening mammograms,” said Weak.  “It’s something that we are not proud of. It’s a number we really want to change.”

That alarming statistic is something Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center is among those trying to change as well.

Saint Al’s will get $52,000 of the Komen grant money, and $20,000 of it will go toward funding their mobile mammography buses.

“We are putting it to our greatest need,” explains Sharma Benard with the Saint Al’s Breast Cancer Center.

There are now two pink buses in their fleet. Several times a week they travel to rural areas of Idaho and Oregon bringing preventative care to women who might not otherwise get the chance to be screened.

“We want to catch it when it’s small so early detection is the best prevention,” said Benard. “They never say stop having mammograms. As you get older, your chances increase.”

Inmates give donation to injured Kuna football player

by Karen Zatkulak


Posted on March 12, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Updated today at 8:26 AM

“for full article click here”

KUNA — A group of inmates from the Community Work Center gave a special donation to injured football player Boone Bartlome, Wednesday morning.

There are 100 inmates at the Work Center, all nearing the end of their time behind bars.

One of them is Thomas Massey. He’s been locked up since 2005 on meth charges but says he’s worked hard to change his life around.

“This is the last step before you get back to society. This place here helped me to change my life, and to put me back on the right path so Idaho did help me to do something in my life, to change,” said Massey. He’s been at the work center for the last three years, working as the head cook.

Massey said he watched the news coverage of Boone’s accident and followed along during his recovery.

Vince Samares was also following Boone’s story.

Both decided they wanted to help Boone and decided to raise money for a donation.

Samares says the inmates are one step away from being released and want to show that they can be a helpful piece of society.

“People get to work in the community, save money, and when they get out they aren’t a burden on the resources,” said Samares.

Massey and Samares had been waiting for weeks to meet Boone and hand over their donation.


Amid jokes and laughter, both inmates helped Boone inside the visitor area. Massey, Samares and Boone talked about football and trucks.

They also shared pieces of their personal journeys, and something they have in common with Boone — getting through difficult times.

Massey said he understood Boone’s situation, as he’s dealt with challenges in his own life.

“I know you have a change to do and it’s hard but I commend you because you didn’t stop, and I’m not going to stop either,” said Massey.

Boone said he may remember this donation most, because of the people behind it.

“When we were told we were getting a donation from here, you don’t hear anything about that and so they don’t know you guys are doing good for the community,” said Boone.

The check was for $760, money donated from those still paying for their crimes.

Some, like Massey, make just $100 a month. Others on work release have full time jobs but are charged 35 percent of their wages for room and board.

Boone said he really enjoyed meeting Massey and Samares.

“When you hear something like this, you find that really cool, I thought out of all the donations, this was one of the coolest ones,” said Boone.

The donation seemed to have touched Massey just as much.

“It helps us understand that we are humans too. Even though we did make mistakes in our life and meeting Boone was really one of the highlights of my life,” said Massey.