health care

SALEM, Ore. – A bill in Salem would make it harder for Oregon parents to opt out of immunizing their children. Virginia Alvino reports.

SALEM, Ore. – An Oregon Senate panel has given the initial go-ahead to a measure aimed at reducing the cost of medical malpractice insurance. The proposal would set up a mediation system aimed at heading off costly litigation between injured patients and their doctors.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber testified in favor of the plan Thursday. He held up a signed agreement between two long-feuding rival groups.

SHELTON, Wash. - It’s one of the most vexing problems state lawmakers face: how to curb the rising cost of healthcare. In Washington, there’s one specific line item in the healthcare budget that’s startling, but few at the Capitol are talking about: taxpayers now foot the bill for more than half of all births in Washington. But why is that number is so high?

A new report finds Latinos in Idaho are struggling with many of the same health problems as the rest of the state’s population, but to an even worse extent. The wide-ranging demographic study is intended to guide policymakers on issues that affect Hispanics.

OLYMPIA, Wash. –Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants state lawmakers to move “quickly” to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. At a news conference Wednesday, the Democratic governor described expansion as a “no brainer” that will save the state money.

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon is working to expand medical coverage under the federal health care overhaul. But advocates of universal health care say it doesn’t go far enough. They rallied on the steps of the state capitol in Salem Monday -- the first day of work for the 2013 legislative session.

Among the rally's speakers was Wes Brain from southern Oregon. He said he has had cancer, and his daughter died of Leukemia four years ago. He believes there were unnecessary barriers for her treatment.

SALEM, Ore. - For decades, Oregon’s trial lawyers and doctors have battled over medical malpractice. Now, the state’s physician governor has brokered a deal aimed at reducing medical malpractice lawsuits. It’s one of the high-profile issues in the legislative session that gets underway Monday. But the state's medical community is deeply divided over the proposal.

A long-festering dispute between Oregon doctors and trial lawyers may be closer to a resolution. The two groups have reached a deal aimed at reducing the cost of medical malpractice litigation. It’s one of many subjects of debate when Oregon lawmakers return to the capitol Monday. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

A shipbuilding executive with no social work experience will head Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services. Governor-elect Jay Inslee announced that appointment and four other cabinet picks Thursday. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A shipbuilding executive with no social work experience will head Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services. Governor-elect Jay Inslee announced that appointment and four other cabinet picks Thursday.

Inslee’s choice for DSHS Secretary is former Democratic State Senator Kevin Quigley. He’s far from an agency insider. In fact most recently he was a president with Vigor Industrial, a major shipbuilder. At one point Quigley ran the company’s Everett shipyard.

Tennessee Department of Health website

We're into the flu season in the Pacific Northwest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers will consider a possible cure for a chronic pain in the neck for doctors and hospitals. Governor John Kitzhaber says he's helped broker a deal between lawyers and doctors about curbing the cost of liability insurance.

Patients Rush To Have Surgery Before New Year Resets Clock

Dec 24, 2012

One of the busiest places to be this time of year is the operating room. But it's not because of holiday accidents. Huge numbers of patients have surgery in December by choice.

Dr. Tim Smith is a sinus surgeon at Oregon Health and Science University. The week before Christmas this year, he performed 10 surgeries in three days.

“We joke with one another that people think it's busy at the mall this time of year, they ought to check out their outpatient surgery centers.”

Little information is available yet to conclude whether the shooter in Newtown, Connecticut was diagnosed with or treated for mental illness. But last week’s incident has raised questions around the country about mental health--specifically, funding for mental health treatment and services. Ruby de Luna looks at how Washington’s mental health services have fared over the years.

http://www.ars.usda.gov

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Washington dairy industry is fighting a report from the Environmental

Protection Agency. The report found that dairies are likely contaminating residential wells in the Lower Yakima Valley.

Washington And Oregon Get CHIP Bonuses

Dec 19, 2012

Oregon is going to get an extra $25 million dollars from the federal government this year for the state's efforts to insure children.  Washington will get $12 million.

Photo courtesy University of Washington

Researchers have discovered something they didn’t expect in the air above an Oregon mountain: hundreds of tiny organisms from Asia. The study suggests the atmosphere is filled with life capable of traveling long distances. Jessica Robinson reports.

In less than 10 months, Washington State will launch its own health exchange. The exchange is part of the Affordable Care Act. It’s an online marketplace where people can buy health insurance. It’s like Expedia for health plans. But as Ruby de Luna reports, insurance brokers are apprehensive about the exchange. Many fear it will have a negative impact on their livelihood, just like Expedia removed the need for travel agents.

It’s official. Washington has reached a milestone in creating its own health exchange. Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Washington is among six states to make significant progress in developing an online market for health plans.

Medicare open enrollment season ends Friday for those looking to change or sign onto a health program. A Washington state agency has open arms for those scrambling for insurance advice.

Photo by John Ryan / Northwest News Network

One Washington state senator says it is past time for lawmakers to increase safety at the state’s two psychiatric hospitals. Paige Browning reports Senator Mike Carrell announced he will propose legislation in the coming term.

Bluedisk / Wikimedia Commons

Next fall, Washington’s health exchange is expected to be up and running. The exchange is an online market for health plans. Right now the Health Exchange Board is trying to figure out how to pay for itself. On Friday, the Board is considering different options.

Low income parents will soon have a way to get treatment for their children with autism. Starting in January, Washington state will cover applied behavior analysis therapy for kids with Medicaid coverage. The new benefit is part of a legal settlement between the state, and a local advocacy group for children with autism.

CDC

Public health experts are now recommending that pregnant women get the vaccine for whooping cough during pregnancy. The recommendation is in response to the growing outbreak of the disease in the U.S.

Whooping Cough Epidemic Grows

Oct 9, 2012

Washington state’s whooping cough epidemic continues to grow. State health officials say the latest number of reported cases has topped 4,300.

Program Aims To Make Kids More Critical Of Junk Food Ads

Oct 8, 2012

Researchers in Washington are trying a new approach to the growing problem of childhood obesity. They plan to teach kids to be more media savvy, and less susceptible to all those junk food ads.

National Institutes of Health

Public health officials in the Northwest are raising concerns about a relatively new type of synthetic marijuana that’s been linked to a series of kidney failure cases in the region.

Photo Credit: Nathan Bevier/Wiki Commons

At a convention today Thursday, tribes from around the Northwest released a joint statement calling for a full environmental analysis of five proposed coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington.

Photo courtesy Dept. of Health and Human Services

About one out of five Medicare patients returns to the hospital within a month after being discharged. Those readmissions are often preventable. As Ruby de Luna reports, starting in October, Medicare will penalize hospitals with high readmission rates.

The new policy is part of the national health care law to reduce hospital readmissions. The goal is to reduce cost and improve patient care.

Dr. Nancy Fisher is Chief Medical Officer with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, for Region 10. She says three-quarters of these readmissions are preventable.

Surrounded By Wildfires, Schools Try To Keep Smoke Out

Sep 24, 2012

Wildfire smoke is becoming the “new normal” for some parts of the Northwest. In central Washington, health officials are urging residents to keep their doors and windows closed and stay inside. Bad air has forced at least one school district to take some unusual measures to keep class in session.

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