Rita Landgraf

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - The Department of Health and Social Services says Democratic State  Rep. Michael Barbieri has been named director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

Secretary Rita Landgraf announced the appointment Monday, saying it is effective on Aug. 4. Barbieri, ,who has represented the Newark area since 2008, will resign from the House on Aug. 3.

Barbieri, a social worker, is chief executive officer of Crossroads of Delaware, a youth treatment center in Wilmington. He says he will relinquish his ownership in Crossroads.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials have received conditional approval from the federal government to switch to a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

While receiving approval Monday, officials cautioned that a final decision on moving to a state-run exchange has not been made.

Delaware currently is one of seven states that operate exchanges with the help of the federal government, including using the federal web portal to enroll people.

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While Delaware draws big crowds for NASCAR and musical events, in Dover that may have an adverse effect on the homeless.

With attendees willing to pay high prices for hotel rooms hundreds of homeless may not find shelter under programs which do not pay as much.

Christy Gordon, vice president of the Foundation for a Better Tomorrow, told the Wilmington News Journal that hundreds of homeless including mothers and small children can find themselves pushed out and back on the streets.

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Only 23 percent of millennials in Delaware are signing up for the Affordable Care Act.

And that is among the lowest in the nation and 5 percent below the national average.

These are people between the ages of 18 and 34.

Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf told the Wilmington News Journal that she was hesitant to think that there has not been enough outreach.

Landgraf said that Medicaid enrollment may have contributed to the low signup rate for millennials.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state of Delaware reports two more people have died of the flu, bringing the season's total so far to 23 fatalities.

The Division of Public Health says Delaware is close to exceeding its highest number of lab-confirmed flu cases in 10 years. The state has had 2,172 lab-confirmed cases to date this winter.

Health Secretary Rita Landgraf says the number of new lab-confirmed cases is slowing, although that doesn't mean flu season is over. She says sudden increases in new flu cases are not uncommon, even after a season seems to be slowing down.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Democratic Gov. Jack Markell is fleshing out a proposal in his State of the State speech to improve substance abuse treatment and prevention programs in Delaware.

Markell plans to join Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf, Department of Correction Commissioner Robert Coupe, Democratic Attorney General Matt Denn and other officials on Monday to talk about his plan.

He's also scheduled to tour an Oxford House program in Newark for people in recovery.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Public health officials say the number of flu-related deaths in Delaware has climbed to 14.

Officials on Thursday reported two new deaths this week and 1,526 confirmed flu cases so far this flu season.

All but one of the deaths involved people over the age of 65, with the other victim being 53.  All 14 had underlying conditions, and five were in long-term care facilities.

The number of deaths exceeds the total for the previous three flu seasons combined, and is more than double the six deaths reported last season.

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Delaware state officials say they are making progress signing up residents for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

They say they have seen 209 sign ups and plan renewals in the first two weeks of open enrollment.

Health Secretary Rita Landgraf said yesterday that people are coming in and are highly motivated.

Landgraf says that preliminary surveys from the statewide marketplace guides and agents say the interest is there.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware health and social services officials are asking for about $22 million in additional funding next year to serve the mentally ill, developmentally disabled and other vulnerable populations.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials are talking about steps they are taking in response to the public health threat posed by the Ebola virus.

Gov. Jack Markell planned to join Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf and public health director Dr. Karyl Rattay on Wednesday for a briefing on Delaware's efforts in response to the Ebola outbreak.

The briefing is being held in conjunction with the third annual Public Health Preparedness Symposium hosted by the Division of Public Health.

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Governor Jack Markell announced yesterday that there will be a detox center for residents in southern Delaware.

It is set to open early next year.

The center will be located in Lewes which still needs to give the project zoning approval.

The state Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf says the center should have 16 beds that should be available by March.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the project will cost $1 million which was added to the current state budget to help those trying to kick their drug addiction.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials say just fewer than 14,400 people have enrolled in Delaware's health insurance exchange under the federal Affordable Care Act. That's up from about 11,300 reported last month.

Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf also reported Thursday that 4,217 Delawareans were eligible for coverage under expanded Medicaid rules that the state adopted as part of an effort to reduce the number of uninsured.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials say a second employee of the Delaware medical examiner's office has been suspended amid an investigation of evidence tampering in the state criminal drug testing lab.

Chief medical examiner Richard Callery was recently suspended with pay as officials investigate possible misuse of state resources.

Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said Wednesday that a second state employee who worked as an evidence technician in the medical examiner's office also has been suspended. She did not provide further details.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State lawmakers are meeting to discuss tampering of evidence in the state's drug testing lab.

Members of the Senate Public Safety Committee were to receive a briefing on the drug lab Wednesday from Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf and Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Lewis Schiliro.

State police closed down the lab, which is a part of the medical examiner's office, in February amid a criminal investigation of evidence being tampered with or missing.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - State officials say about 7,000 Delawareans have chosen private insurance plans under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf told the state Health Care Commission on Thursday that 6,994 people had selected plans in Delaware's health insurance exchange as of Feb. 28, an increase of about 38 percent over the previous month

Officials are no longer reporting how many people have actually paid for coverage, as opposed to simply choosing a plan.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials are set to provide an update on enrollment in the state's new health insurance exchange.

Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf planned to update the Delaware Health Care Commission on Thursday on the state's implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Officials also planned to provide an update on the marketing campaign aimed at encouraging people to enroll in the exchange before the March 31 deadline.

Officials last month said 1,145 people had enrolled in the exchange and paid their first premiums.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's health and social services secretary is updating a state panel on the federal health care reform effort in Delaware.

Secretary Rita Landgraf was scheduled to brief the Delaware Health Care Commission on Thursday about enrollment in the state's new health insurance exchange.

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Delaware residents and millions around the nation flooded the computers of the health insurance exchanges on Day 3 of open enrollment.

Delaware has decided to add two multi-state plans to the 19 that it already offers under the Affordable Care Act.

Delaware’s Secretary of Health and Social Services Rita Landgraf says that 4-thousand paper forms have been ordered to meet demand.

But those will only be used by higher-income buyers who earn too much to quality for a federal subsidy.

Landgraf says she hopes to have more than 70 guides and navigators in place.

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Former South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint railed against the Affordable Care Act yesterday during a national stop in Brandywine Hundred calling it un-American.

The Republican left office to head up the conservative Heritage Foundation and has been active in calling for repeal of the law.

Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd he warned that the law will not allow doctors to be paid enough to provide quality care and said he had other solutions to providing increased medical coverage such as tax cuts to businesses for health care coverage.