Seattle 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.
From 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).
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
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.”
As more Americans gain insurance under the federal health law, hospitals are rethinking their charity programs, with some scaling back help for those who could have signed up for coverage but didn’t.
The move is prompted by concerns that offering free or discounted care to low-income uninsured patients might dissuade them from getting government-subsidized coverage.
“Applicants who refuse to purchase federally-mandated health insurance when they are eligible to do so will not be awarded charitable care.”
Most hospitals are still wrestling with that question, but a few have gone ahead and changed their programs, Cunningham says. Continue reading
Tips for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Going 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
From the Office of Researcher on Women’s Health
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and muscle disorders are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement.
Some estimates suggest that TMJ disorders affect over 10 million Americans and appear to be more common in women than men.
The exact cause of TMJ is not clear. Trauma to the jaw or temporomandibular joint plays a role in some TMJ disorders but, in most cases, symptoms seem to start without obvious reason.
A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint is the most common symptom. Continue reading
Low-income consumers struggling to pay their premiums may soon be able to get help from their local hospital or United Way.
Some hospitals in New York, Florida and Wisconsin are exploring ways to help individuals and families pay their share of the costs of government-subsidized policies purchased though the health law’s marketplaces – at least partly to guarantee the hospitals get paid when the consumers seek care.
But the hospitals’ efforts have set up a conflict with insurers, who worry that premium assistance programs will skew their enrollee pools by expanding the number of sicker people who need more services.
“Entities acting in their [own] financial interest” could drive up costs for everyone and discourage healthier people from buying coverage, insurers wrote recently to the Obama administration. Continue reading
By Roni Caryn Rabin
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
Dr. Robert Galvin is chief executive officer of Equity Healthcare, where he works with executives of nearly 50 companies that purchase health coverage for 300,000 people.
Galvin says the 2010 Affordable Care Act has made employers more engaged in health benefits while encouraging their workers to be savvier health care consumers.
“I think what the ACA has done more than anything is it has made every employer examine their strategy and in every case it’s bringing the CFO and the CEO” into decisions about the company’s health care, which often didn’t use to happen, he said.
Galvin also sees the move to offer workers plans with limited numbers of doctors, hospitals and other providers as increasing, but says most companies are eager to make sure those networks offer adequate quality assurances and that employees are given the option of using other providers if they want to pay more for their care.
Equity Healthcare is a wholly owned subsidiary of Blackstone, a global investment and advisory firm.
Galvin spoke recently with KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey to discuss the Affordable Care Act and how it is changing the way companies of all sizes purchase health insurance. What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation. Continue reading
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