Obamacare helps slash hospital charity costs in state | Local News | The Seattle Times

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$100-dollar bill inside a capsuleWashington hospitals provided nearly $154 million less in charity care in the first half of this year than in the first half of 2013, in many cases boosting the hospitals’ bottom lines.

Hospitals attributed the plunge in charity care — about 30 percent — to the Affordable Care Act’s focus on reducing the number of uninsured patients.

via Obamacare helps slash hospital charity costs in state | Local News | The Seattle Times.

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Public exposure to measles at Sea-Tac Airport

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Alert IconFrom Public Health – Seattle & King County

Local public health officials are investigating a confirmed case of measles infection in a traveler who was at Sea-Tac airport during the contagious period.

The traveler was likely exposed to measles outside of the United States.

What to do if you were in a location of potential measles exposure  Continue reading

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Health news headlines – September 15th

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Global health news – September 15th

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Global health news – September 14th

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Southern states now the epicenter of HIV/AIDS in the US

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HIV prevalence map of US - CDC
By Teresa Wiltz
Stateline

New Yorker Deadra Malloy was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, but she remained healthy for so long she wasn’t completely convinced she was positive.

 Today, the face of AIDS is black or Latino, poor, often rural—and Southern.

When she finally started getting sick in 2006, she decided to embrace her “ancestral roots” and accepted a job down South, where her mother was from.

Malloy didn’t know that the move, first to North Carolina and then to Columbia, South Carolina, would make it much more difficult to manage her disease. Continue reading

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Ebola cases could top 10,000 by month’s end, Fred Hutch researchers say

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The number of cases with Ebola, shown here, could double by the end of the month. There is a one in five chance it will reach the U.S. in that same time, researchers predict. Photo:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The number of cases with Ebola, shown here, could double by the end of the month. There is a one in five chance it will reach the U.S. in that same time, researchers predict. Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Disease modeling shows virus is spreading ‘without any end in sight’

By JoNel Aleccia / Fred Hutch News Service

The deadly Ebola epidemic raging across West Africa will likely get far worse before it gets better, more than doubling the number of known cases by the end of this month.

That’s the word from disease modelers at Northeastern University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who predict as many as 10,000 cases of Ebola virus disease could be detected by Sept. 24 – and thousands more after that.

“The epidemic just continues to spread without any end in sight,” said Dr. Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the the University of Florida and an affiliated member of Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease and Public Health Sciences divisions. “The cat’s already out of the box – way, way out.”

It’s only a matter of time, they add, before the virus could start spreading to other places, including previously unaffected countries in Africa and developed nations like the United Kingdom — and the U.S., according to a paper published Sept. 2 in the journal PLOS Currents Outbreaks. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – September 13th

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Photo by Jean Scheijen

Photo by Jean Scheijen

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Global health news – September 13th

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UW pushes back against WSU’s proposed medical school – Puget Sound Business Journal

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UW “We’re disappointed by WSU’s announcement today to pursue a separate, independent medical school aside from the existing Spokane medical school we’ve worked hard to build together in partnership with the Spokane community,” said UW Regent and spokesman Orin Smith in a statement Thursday.

via UW pushes back against WSU’s proposed medical school – Puget Sound Business Journal.

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WSU ‘well positioned’ to open medical school in Spokane – Puget Sound Business Journal

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WashingtonStateCougarsA study, which was commissioned by Washington State University, stated that if planning starts soon, the school’s charter class could begin in the fall of 2017. The state would need to kick in $1 million to $3 million initially to get things started. Once the school is up and running, it would cost an estimated $47 million annually, $24 million of which would be in state funding above current levels.

via WSU ‘well positioned’ to open medical school in Spokane – Puget Sound Business Journal.

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States Seek to Protect Student Athletes from Concussions, Heat Stroke

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A Wet Bulb Globe Temperature calculator in use last week during a football practice of the Oconee County High School in Watkinsville, Georgia. The device, which measures temperature, humidity and radiant temperature is used to govern sports activities at all Georgia high schools. Photo © Stateline

By Michael Ollove
Stateline

Athens, Georgia—When Georgia public high schools were asked several years ago to devise a policy to govern sports activities during periods of high heat and humidity, one school’s proposal stood out: It pledged to scale back workouts when the heat index reached 140.

Those who understood the heat index, the combined effects of air temperature and humidity, weren’t sure whether to be appalled or amused. “If you hit a heat index of 140,” said Bud Cooper, a sports medicine researcher at the University of Georgia who examined all the proposed policies, “you’d basically be sitting in the Sahara Desert.”

The policy reflected an old-school, “no pain, no gain” philosophy, a view that athletes need to be pushed to their physical limits—or beyond them—if they and their teams are to realize their full potential.

In some places, state, school and sports officials are recognizing that the zeal of coaches, players, and parents for athletic accomplishment must be subordinated to safety. Increasingly, they are adopting measures to protect student athletes from serious, even catastrophic injuries or illnesses that can be the consequence of a blinkered focus on competitiveness. Continue reading

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Health law shows little effect in lowering children’s uninsured rate, study

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The uninsured rate for kids under age 18 hasn’t budged under the health law, according to a new study, even though they’re subject to the law’s requirement to have insurance just as their parents and older siblings are.

Many of those children are likely eligible for coverage under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The Urban Institute’s health reform monitoring survey analyzed data on approximately 2,500 children, comparing the uninsured rate in June 2014 with the previous year, before the health insurance marketplaces opened and the individual mandate took effect.

It found that rates remained statistically unchanged at just over 7 percent for both time periods.

Part of the explanation is that even before the health law passed, the uninsured rate for children was already quite low, says Genevieve Kenney, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and the lead author of the study. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – September 12th

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