health care

Bridget Coila / Flickr

Investigators still aren’t sure what is causing a cluster of birth defects in central Washington. The rate of the rare defect is four times the national average. Health officials met today to figure out what to do next.

Counties across the Northwest are heavily dependent on timber revenue from federal lands have been struggling to provide public health services. Now, one county in Oregon has told the state it will no longer provide those services. That's left state officials scrambling to figure out how to cover the gap. Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

State High Court Hears Pyschiatric Boarding Case

Jun 26, 2014
Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

Parking mentally ill patients in the ER is controversial yet common. Now the state Supreme Court is considering whether that’s constitutional.

Washington State University

While I have been dinking around for months, trying to lose five pounds, two of my friends have gotten serious about weight loss. Each of them is down 50 pounds.

I’m pleased for them, of course, and truly impressed by their accomplishments. Successfully combating overweight and obesity is one of the best things people can do for their health. It can help everything from joint pain to heart function, from Type 2 diabetes to certain aspects of mental health.

How To Remove A Tick - And Why A Hot Match Won’t Work

May 23, 2014
Washington State Department of Health

Memorial Day weekend in the Northwest coincides with prime time for ticks. These arthropods can drink your blood for days without you knowing.

Washington Needs Your Help In Birth Defect Mystery

May 15, 2014
Courtney Flatt / Earth Fix

Over the past three years, a rare birth defect has shown up Central Washington at about four times the national average. Now, the state health department is turning to the public for clues about what’s causing the fatal defect. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt has more.

Ragesoss / Wikimedia Commons

Over the past three years, central Washington has seen unusually high numbers of babies born with a rare birth defect. No one has determined a cause. Public health officials are holding two listening sessions this week to learn more from community members.

CDC

A disease-causing fungus thought to be confined to the deserts of the Southwest has been discovered in soil samples from eastern Washington. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now trying to figure out if the fungus may be living in other parts of the Northwest.

Northwest Public Radio

Nothing could be better—or healthier—than a walk through the countryside, right?  Wrong.  New research reveals that walking briskly could be better.  "Rock Doc"  Kirsten Peters explains.

My Labrador-mix from the pound, Buster Brown by name, loves to walk with me. On the weekends we often do a six-mile walk around town or along the Snake River where Buster can be off leash (as Mother Nature intends).

Oregon Considers Dumping Health Website

Apr 24, 2014
Cover Oregon

Oregon got more than $300 million from the feds to set up a state-of-the-art website to enroll people in health insurance. About $250 million has already been spent and Cover Oregon thinks it may cost another $78 million to fix the current website that has never been fully functional. 

If you went to see the Kings of Leon concert on March 28 in Seattle, let's hope you came home with nothing but great memories.

wikimedia

You only have until the end of this month to sign up for coverage using one of the new health insurance exchanges. And if you’re planning to do it online at the last minute, how easy that will be depends on where you live in the Northwest. 

Idaho's 2013 Medicaid Rolls At Highest Level Yet

Mar 5, 2014
Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare/ Emilie Ritter Saunders

The number of low-income Idahoans on Medicaid increased 3.5 percent in 2013, a figure the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says marks a slow-down in growth of the program. On average, 236,352 Idahoans were signed up for Medicaid each month of 2013. That's the highest average monthly enrollment the state has ever recorded.

Washington’s Insurance Commissioner wants to notify consumers if their insurance company is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Idaho started licensing midwives in 2010 under the Midwifery Practice Act so midwives could deliver babies in homes and at birthing centers legally. 

Officials at Oregon's largest medical center want state lawmakers to help fund a massive expansion of their cancer research facility.

The Washington Senate passed a bill this week that’s had a tough time in recent years -- even just reaching the floor for a vote.

Christian Scientists who treat their sick children with faith healing, instead of medical care, have special protection under Washington law. But that could soon change.

Nearly a thousand people who bought discounted health plans on Washington’s exchange have learned they won’t be getting their promised subsidies in January. Officials with the exchange blame technical problems. They say customers will get the subsidy when they do their taxes in 2015.

Public health officials in the Northwest say a series of gonorrhea outbreaks shows little sign of letting up. In fact, in some places, rates of the STD may be getting worse. The timing of the increases has experts worried.

Governor John Kitzhaber says the state signed a contract Thursday, with a company for an independent assessment of the problems with Oregon's health insurance exchange website.

Cover Oregon Hires Lawyer To Get Money From Software Company

Dec 16, 2013
oregon.gov

Oregon's health insurance exchange is trying to hold software giant Oracle accountable for failures of the Cover Oregon website. But at the same time, the state also wants Oracle to keep working on the site.

The holiday frenzy isn’t the only deadline looming. For people who expect to have health coverage when the new year starts, the deadline to enroll for a health plan is December 23rd. But signing up through the state’s health exchange has been rough for the last several days. As of Tuesday morning, the site is back up and running.

Oregon's insurance commissioner is defending a decision to allow health insurance companies to keep policies in place for a year even if they don't comply with the Affordable Care Act.

Head Of Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Takes Medical Leave

Dec 2, 2013

The director of the Oregon Health Authority will take temporary control of the embattled health insurance exchange. Since Cover Oregon was supposed to start enrolling new customers on Oct. 1, Rocky King has faced substantial criticism.

Ken Lund / Flickr

A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel has awarded back pay to a former federal law clerk in Oregon who was denied health benefits for her same-sex domestic partner. 

Oregon lawmakers want to know why the state's beleaguered health insurance exchange has yet to enroll a single applicant through its website.

Slow Start, Mixed Bag For Health Care Law In The Northwest

Nov 13, 2013
Washington Health Benefit Exchange

The first numbers on enrollment under the new health care law confirm a slow start and mixed results in Northwest states. In Idaho, 338 people have signed up for health insurance that will start January 1. Washington's health exchange has enrolled 7,091 people. Oregon, meanwhile, comes up blank in the new federal report.

U.S. Senate

Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley Wednesday signed on to legislation to allow people to keep their current insurance plans under the new federal health care law. It's the latest example of how the Affordable Care Act could be a hot topic in next year’s election.

ILRI/Flickr

Public health officials say recent measles cases in the Northwest highlight the need to be vaccinated against the infection. While the highly-contagious illness remains rare, the Centers for Disease Control is reporting an uptick nationally in the number of cases this year.

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