Author Archives: LocalHealthGuide

Led by medical school, UW ranked No. 15 among world’s best universities – Puget Sound Business Journal

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University-of-Washington-Logo-300x300UW was ranked No. 3 in clinical medicine and pharmacy in 2014, behind Harvard and the University of California, San Francisco, and ahead of Johns Hopkins University. UW was ranked No. 6 in life sciences in 2014.

via Led by medical school, UW ranked No. 15 among world’s best universities – Puget Sound Business Journal.

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More Hospitals Use the Healing Powers of Public Art – WSJ

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Researchers are learning more about the precise ways paintings and other works of art help patients and families in the healing process. With studies showing a direct link between the content of images and the brain’s reaction to pain, stress, and anxiety, hospitals are considering and choosing artworks based on the evidence and giving it a higher priority than merely decoration for sterile rooms and corridors.

via More Hospitals Use the Healing Powers of Public Art – WSJ.

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Premera, Seattle Children’s Hospital reach agreement; Regence is in the works

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MKreidlerPhotoBy Mike Kreidler
Seattle Children’s Hospital and Premera Blue Cross today reached an agreement to include the hospital in its medical networks, effective Sept. 1.

Seattle Children’s Hospital initiated legal proceedings about a year ago when Premera, Regence Blue Shield and Coordinated Care decided against including the hospital and research facility in their medical networks because of cost concerns.

Regence is working with the hospital on its own agreement, which could be done this week. Continue reading

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Premera to include Children’s in its networks – PSBJ

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Seattle Children's Whale LogoSeattle Children’s Hospital will be included in the Premera Blue Cross health insurance networks through 2017 as a result of an agreement that ends a lengthy legal dispute.

via Legal wrangling pays off: Seattle Children’s, Premera make nice – Puget Sound Business Journal.

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West Nile virus infection confirmed in Washington resident

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West nile virus wnvFrom the Washington State Department of Health

A Walla Walla County man is the first Washington resident in 2014 known to have been infected with West Nile virus in our state, Washington State Department of Health officials said Monday.

The man in his 20s was likely exposed near his home and was hospitalized. The infection was confirmed by testing at the Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline.

So far, 34 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus in 2014, including Benton County (11), Franklin County (11), and Grant County (12).

Two other Washington residents have been diagnosed with the infection this year, both with exposures in other states.

A King County man in his 70s and a Grays Harbor woman in her 50s were infected with West Nile virus this year while traveling out of state.

Additional reports of possible infections are currently under investigation. Continue reading

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Are nurse practitioners, physician assistants encroaching on specialists’ turf?

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One of the hopes embedded in the health law was to expand the role of nurse practitioners and physician assistants in addressing the nation’s shortage of primary care providers. But a new study questions whether that’s actually happening in doctors’ offices.

Mid-level providers – PAs and NPs – “are doing invasive procedures and surgery. I’m not sure they were trained to do that.”

Of the more than 4 million procedures office-based nurse practitioners and physician assistants independently billed more than 5,000 times in a year to Medicare – a list including radiological exams, setting casts and injecting anesthetic agents – more than half were for  dermatological surgeries. Continue reading

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Six tips for college health and safety – CDC

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Tips for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

BooksGoing to college is an exciting time in a young person’s life. It’s the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. College is a great time for new experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. Here are a few pointers for college students on staying safe and healthy. Continue reading

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Variation in hospital charges for blood tests called ‘irrational’

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RedBloodCellsBy Roni Caryn Rabin
KHN

One California hospital charged $10 for a blood cholesterol test, while another hospital that ran the same test charged $10,169 — over 1,000 times more.

For another common blood test called a basic metabolic panel, the average hospital charge was $371, but prices ranged from a low of $35 to a high of $7,303, more than 200 times more.

The wide disparity in hospitals’ listed charges for routine blood tests at California hospitals was revealed in a study published in the August issue of BMJ Open. The study examined the listed charges for routine blood tests performed in 2011. Continue reading

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Deadline looms to provide proof of citizenship for health insurance

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Alert Icon with Exclamation Point!If you have received a letter from the federal health insurance exchange asking for proof of citizenship, you have until September 5th to reply or you will lose your health insurance coverage by the end of the month, the government warns:

Here are the details from HealthCare.gov

Continue reading

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ObamaCare premiums slated to rise by an average of 7.5 percent | TheHill

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Twenty-dollar bill in a pill bottlePremiums on ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges will rise by an average of 7.5 percent next year, according to a new analysis.

The average national increase of 7.5 percent is “well below the double-digit increases many feared,” HRI Managing Director Ceci Connolly wrote in an email.

via ObamaCare premiums slated to rise by an average of 7.5 percent | TheHill.

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Premera will include Swedish’s health services in plans | Local News | The Seattle Times

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Swedish Logo LargeOn Monday, Premera announced it will bring Swedish into the fold, including all of Swedish’s hospitals, clinics and doctors in 2015 individual and small-group health-plan networks for Premera and its subsidiary, LifeWise Health Plan of Washington.

via Premera will include Swedish’s health services in plans | Local News | The Seattle Times.

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Health Care For $4: Are You Ready For Walmart To Be Your Doctor?

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Walmart logoAfter years of “Will they or won’t they?” discussion, Walmart is making its long-awaited move into delivering primary care: The retailer has quietly opened a half-dozen primary care clinics across South Carolina and Texas, and plans to launch six more before January.

via Health Care For $4: Are You Ready For Walmart To Be Your Doctor?.

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Cut the Crapshoot | RAND

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From the RAND Corporation:

U.S. policymakers need to counteract the perverse financial incentives that induce inventors and investors to bet big on new medical technologies that offer the highest payouts without substantially improving health.

Dice pair

Costly new technology is a primary driver of health care spending. This should come as no surprise, because all players in the dicey U.S. market for new medical technologies — inventors, investors, payers, providers, and patients — face long odds if they want to put money on products that could curb health spending while also boosting health.

The rules of the game need to change.

via Cut the Crapshoot | RAND.

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