How does Washington’s online exchange marketplace compare with those in other states?
As part of an ongoing study, the nonprofit Urban Institute assessed how well state exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act provide the sort of information consumers want to know about insurance plans they’re considering buying.
Most Americans recognize the difference between “empty-stomach” hunger and urges caused by the smell of popcorn at the movies or the sight of candy in the checkout line. Nonetheless, it’s hard to resist. America is a food swamp, says Deborah A. Cohen, where cheap, convenient food is everywhere, and marketing exploits human tendencies.
A decade ago almost all doctors kept paper charts on every patient. That is changing quickly as laptops become as common as stethoscopes in exam rooms. Recent hacking attacks have raised questions about how safe that data may be.
Here are some frequently asked questions about this evolution underway in American medicine and the government programs sparking the change.
Are my medical records stored electronically? Continue reading
Photo: Michal Zacharzewski
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is making the rounds in her home state, meeting with local healthcare leaders to promote legislation that would help train 1,500 primary care doctors to help treat people in underserved communities in the U.S.
Mental health therapists most often leave issues of faith outside their office doors, even for patients who are religious. But one class of counselors believes a nonsectarian model doesn’t serve everyone equally well.
“On a feeling level, people want a safe, respectful place, to ponder the tons of questions that come begging in hard times,” said Glenn Williams, a pastoral counselor in Kentucky and chair of the Kentucky Association of Pastoral Counselors. “Where is God? Why did this happen? Is it karma, sowing-reaping, happenstance? What purpose does this suffering serve?”
Six states allow these counselors – who include faith and spirituality in their work – to be licensed mental health counselors, which can make it easier for them to get health insurance reimbursements.
Kentucky recently became the sixth state (joining Arkansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Tennessee) to allow pastoral counselors to become licensed mental health counselors. Continue reading
UW 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.
What’s in a name? When it comes to health plans sold on the individual market, these days it’s often less than people think.
The lines that distinguish HMOs, PPOs, EPOs and POS plans from one another have blurred, making it hard to know what you’re buying by name alone–assuming you’re one of the few people who know what an EPO is in the first place.
“Now, there’s a lot of gray out there,” says Sabrina Corlette, project director at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms.
Ideally, plan type provides a shorthand way to determine what sort of access members have to providers outside a plan’s network, including cost-sharing for such treatment, among other things.
But since there are no industry-wide definitions of plan types and state standards vary, individual insurers often have leeway to market similar plans under different names.
In general: Continue reading
SAN ANTONIO — It’s almost 4 p.m., and Officers Ernest Stevens and Ned Bandoske have been driving around town in their black unmarked SUV since early this morning.
When it first came out, I was very skeptical. I thought, well this is ridiculous.
The officers spot a call for help on their laptop from a group home across town.
“A male individual put a blanket on fire this morning, he’s arguing with them, and is a danger to himself and others, he’s off his medications,” Stevens reads from the blotter.
A few minutes later, the SUV pulls up in front of the group home in a run-down part of the city. A thin 24-year-old sits on a wooden bench in a concrete lot out back, wearing a black hoodie. His bangs hang in damp curls over his forehead.
“You’re Mason?” asks Bandoske. “What happened to your blanket?”
Eight years ago, a person like Mason would have been heading to the emergency room or jail next. Continue reading