Top five stories of the week

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Students to Service Program can cut med school debt

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Are you a medical student in your final year of school?

Doctor at deskThe National Health Service Corps Students to Service Loan Repayment Program provides up to $120,000 to medical students (MD and DO) in their final year of school in return for a commitment to provide primary health care full time for at least 3 years or half time for at least 6 years at an approved National Health Service Corps site in a Health Professional Shortage Area of greatest need. To learn more, go here.

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Fairs and petting zoos are in season: tips to avoid animal-spread illnesses

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Rooster looking through the wires of a cage

Photo by dragonariaes

From the Washington State Department of Health

Millions of people go to agricultural fairs and petting zoos this time of year, and children of all ages love to be around the animals.

Taking a few safety precautions can help reduce the chance of getting sick after spending time with animals or their surroundings.

“We encourage people to enjoy their local fairs and petting zoos,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “Just make sure your visit is a safe one. Washing your hands is the number one way to do just that.”

Handwashing is the most effective way to reduce chances of getting sick. The spread of illnesses from animals, such as those caused by E.coli and Salmonella, are commonly linked to hand-to-mouth contact. Continue reading

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Are you missing out on co-pay, deductible assistance?

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Study: 2 Million Exchange Enrollees Miss Out On Cost-Sharing Assistance

By Michelle Andrews
KHN

Twenty-dollar bill in a pill bottleMore than 2 million people with coverage on the health insurance exchanges may be missing out on subsidies that could lower their deductibles, copayments and maximum out-of-pocket spending limits, according to a new analysis by Avalere Health.

Those who may be missing out are people with incomes between 100 and 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($11,770 to $29,425).

Under the health law, people at those income levels are eligible for cost-sharing reductions that can substantially reduce their out-of-pocket costs. But there’s a catch: the reductions are only available to people who buy a silver-level plan. Continue reading

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Smoke from wildfires pose health threat, officials warn

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From the Washington Department of Health

fire-moves-through-forestSixteen large wildfires and many smaller ones now span about 400,000 acres of Eastern Washington.

State health officials warn that smoke from the fires raise health concerns for people in the 11 affected counties.

This is especially true for children and those with health conditions.

People in areas affected by wildfire smoke are encouraged to monitor air quality using current information found on the Department of Ecology’s website.

Breathing smoky air can cause shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain in healthy people. However, people with asthma or other lung diseases may experience more serious symptoms. Continue reading

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Back to school with type 1 diabetes – Special event tonight

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MKTG_JDRFlogo

Special event: Back to School and T1D
Friday, August 21, 2015
6:00-7:30pm

JDRF and Seattle Children’s Hospital are hosting an event for patients and families to discuss best practices to successfully manage type 1 diabetes through the next school year.

This event includes a panel of knowledgeable professionals that will address your questions and concerns from a variety of perspectives.

Please RSVP at backtoschool-t1D.eventbrite.com

Our panel includes:

  • Grace Kim, MD–Pediatric Endocrinologist, Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Lindy MacMillan, JD — Attorney with the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Paul Mystkowski, MD–Endocrinologist, Clinical Faculty, University of Washington
  • Cathryn Plummer, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C–Former school nurse and T1D mom

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Main Campus–River Entrance
4800 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105

To register, please visit www.backtoschool-t1d.eventbrite.com or contact Karine Roettgers kroettgers@jdrf.org or 206.708.2240

JDRF is the largest nonprofit funder of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research in the world. Our goal is to eventually cure and prevent T1D entirely. Along the way to a cure, we seek to deliver an ongoing stream of therapies until we have turned Type One into Type None.

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States where pot is legal struggle with ‘drugged driving’

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Cannabis_leaf_marijuana_potBy Sarah Breitenbach
Stateline

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Mark Crandall half-jokingly says he can tell a driver is under the influence of marijuana during a traffic stop when the motorist becomes overly familiar and is calling him “dude.”

The truth in the joke, Crandall says, is that attitude and speech patterns can be effective markers for drugged driving. Continue reading

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Can health care be cured of racial bias

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Jane Lazarre was pacing the hospital waiting room. Her son Khary, 18, had just had knee surgery, but the nurses weren’t letting her in to see him.

“They told us he would be out of anesthesia in a few minutes,” she remembered. “The minutes became an hour, the hour became two hours.”

She and her husband called the surgeon in a panic. He said that Khary had come out of anesthesia violently — thrashing and flailing about.

He told Lazarre that with most young people Khary’s age, there wouldn’t have been a problem. The doctors and nurses would have gently held him down.

“But with our son, since he was so ‘large and powerful,’ they were worried he might injure the medical staff,” Lazarre said. “So they had to keep sending him back under the anesthesia.”

Khary was 6 feet tall. But he was slim.

“He wasn’t the giant they were describing him as,” Lazarre said.

Lazarre is white. Her husband is black. Lazarre says there’s no doubt in her mind that the medical team’s fear of Khary was because of race. Continue reading

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New tool helps you check on doctors’ licensure info

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Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 12.46.16 PMFrom the FSMB

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) has launched a free online resource to provide consumers with important background information on the more than 900,000 actively licensed physicians in the United States, including whether or not a physician has been disciplined by a state medical board.

The Docinfo physician search tool (www.docinfo.org) draws data from the FSMB’s Physician Data Center, the nation’s most comprehensive database of physician licensure and disciplinary information. Continue reading

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Providence and Walgreens to open new retail clinics

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29897_Logo3_310x137Walgreens and Providence Health & Services increase the number of their retail clinics Oregon and Washington to 25.

“Providence and Swedish Express Care at Walgreens will offer a fast, easy and affordable option for treating common illnesses and injuries.

The clinics will operate extended hours seven days a week, allow for walk-ins and same-day scheduling and provide an after-hours option for care on evenings and weekends,” Providence said in a statement.

The clinics will be owned and operated by Providence and its affiliates, and become the first to open at Walgreens stores under a new collaborative services model.

Providence Express Care at Walgreens, or Swedish Express Care at Walgreens in the Seattle area, will open three clinics in both the Portland and Seattle areas in early 2016, with plans for further expansion within the next two years.

In the first six clinics, Swedish providers will staff Issaquah, Kirkland and Renton, Wash. locations and Providence providers will staff Beaverton and Milwaukie, OR. and Vancouver, WA locations.

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Americans favor government action on drug prices – poll

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KHN

Most Americans value the prescription products the drug industry produces, but they sure don’t like the prices and want the federal government to take action, according to a new survey.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: August 2015

Just over half of Americans (54 percent) are currently taking a prescription drug. While most say their drugs are easy to afford, consumers in general (72 percent) believe drug costs are unreasonable, according to the poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent part of the foundation.)

More people (51 percent) think competition would do a better job of controlling prices than federal regulation (40 percent).

But large majorities said they would favor allowing Medicare to negotiate with companies on prices and allowing people to buy medicines imported from Canada. Continue reading

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