health care

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.

Smoke Creating Vicious Cycle In Northwest Skies

Sep 24, 2012
Jim Larson / Flickr

The fight against numerous large fires in central Washington is turning the corner. Since the weekend, fire bosses have been able to release nearly 400 firefighters from the blazes near Wenatchee. But forecasters say it may be a while before the Inland Northwest sees clear, blue skies again.

Photo Credit: Tom Varco/Wikimedia Commons

Just in time for open enrollment season—insurance companies are required to explain health benefits in plain language. The new requirement is part of the affordable care act that takes effect this week.

Portland City Council has unanimously approved fluoridating the city's water system. April Baer of Oregon Public Broadcasting reports, a challenge to the plan has already been set in motion. 

About a dozen signs dotted the room, with opposition slogans like "Public water, public vote." Several hecklers were thrown out.

Council members including Amanda Fritz said they felt some concerns raised by opponents were valid. 

Fluoridation On Tap For Portland City Council

Sep 13, 2012
Photo Credit: Stuart Seeger/Wiki Commons

Wednesday the Portland City Council is expected to pass an ordinance to add fluoride to the municipal water system. Anti-fluoridation groups have been outspoken in their opposition to the move but Mayor Sam Adams and two commissioners have already voiced their support, ensuring a majority on the five-member panel.

Kimberly Kaminski is Director of "Clean Water Portland." Her group opposes adding fluoride to city water supplies.

Madigan Army Medical Center Redefines Pain Care

Sep 10, 2012
Public Affairs Office Madigan Army Medical Center

Service Members and employees at Washington’s Joint Base Lewis McChord in Lakewood plan to observe a moment of silence at 5:46 Tuesday morning. That’s the time 11 years ago that the first plane hit the World Trade Center Tower.

Since that time, thousands of Service Members injured during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan live with chronic pain. Until recently, powerful and addictive pain killing drugs were the first line of defense. But the Army is trying to change that by taking a more nuanced and holistic approach.

Multnomah County Conducting Coal Train Study

Sep 10, 2012

Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen has ordered county officials to study the health impacts that coal exports could have on area residents. The county health department is expected to deliver its report next month.

Photo by John Ryan / Northwest News Network

Western State Hospital, near Tacoma, is the largest psychiatric institution in the Pacific Northwest. Its mission statement says the hospital--

Actor: "provides a healing environment free from danger, fear, hurt, injury, coercion, or intimidation for people with psychiatric disabilities. … Through vigilant attention and effort, WSH ensures a safe haven."

One week in April, Western failed to live up to those words, and the consequences were dire. Attention was less than vigilant, and two patients wound up dead. In part one of our public radio investigation, KUOW's John Ryan reported on the case of one of those patients. She committed suicide. In part two of our investigation, John looks at the safety improvements Western has, and hasn't, made since April.

Photo by Suzanne Kuhns

In the past decade, a dozen Western State Hospital patients have killed themselves. More than a hundred others have tried. Megan Templeton was the most recent. In April, she hanged herself in her hospital room. She had turned 20 the day before. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults in Washington.

Jim Gathany / Wikimedia Commons

Oregon health officials say test results are confirming that two people, on opposite sides of the state have come down with the West Nile virus. Officials aren't releasing the names of the patients, only that both are older than 50. One is a man in Coos County, the other a woman in Malheur County. Both are recovering.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Most public school students in the Northwest head back to class next week. And that has public health officials on alert. They're afraid that classrooms could be fertile ground for the spread of whooping cough, an infectious disease that's already being called an epidemic in some states.

Photo by Jim Gathany / Wikimedia Commons

A horse in Klamath County has tested positive for West Nile virus. It’s the first reported case in a mammal in Oregon this year. Amelia Templeton of Earthfix reports.

Third Oregon County Detects Presence Of West Nile

Aug 21, 2012

Health officials in Morrow County say they've detected West Nile Virus in mosquitoes trapped at county two test sites. That makes Morrow the third Oregon county this year to detect the presence of the virus.

Oregon Cities Debate Water Fluoridation

Aug 20, 2012

Across America, two-thirds of the population drinks water treated with fluoride. Oregon’s fluoridation rate is about 23 percent — 48th out of fifty states. Portland is now the largest city in the country without fluoridated water but a coalition of supporters is lobbying to change that. KLCC's Tiffany Eckert takes a look at this controversial subject.

Health officials are urging people to take steps to stay cool during the hot weather. Forecasters have issued a heat advisory for the next few days. Temperatures are expected to peak in the low-90s in Western Washington. Ruby de Luna reports Young children, elderly people, and those with chronic illnesses are especially vulnerable.

Photo by Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – In Salem, a former Army staff sergeant named Jarrid Starks has run out of the medications that keep him stable. He has severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental and physical wounds of war. But he’s currently not eligible for veterans’ health benefits that would include prescription refills. That’s because Starks was kicked out of the Army for bad behavior. He’s far from alone. Correspondent Austin Jenkins has this story in collaboration with the Seattle Times.

Rootology / Wikimedia Commons

People are walking more, especially in the West, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2005, 56 percent of adults reported walking for at least 10 minutes a week. Five years later, that percentage was up to 62 percent.

The state unveiled its new plan to coordinate and improve care for people with Alzheimer's Monday.

Northwest News Network

The number of whooping cough cases in Washington State has passed 3,000. Washington’s infection rate was rising so rapidly that health officials called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help. That was in May. Yesterday, the CDC issued a report on its findings. Scientists noticed an unusual pattern.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

An Idaho woman challenging her state’s anti-abortion laws has not received much attention from groups on either side of the abortion debate. But for the first time, one group is holding a rally to support her. It’s in Seattle Wednesday.

A new federal waiver for Oregon includes a provision aimed at luring doctors to small towns. The state won final approval Monday from the Obama administration for plans to move ahead with big changes in health care.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the health care law threw many members of Congress for a loop. Many northwest lawmakers were surprised that the Supreme Court upheld the law’s individual mandate and put limits on the government’s attempt to expand Medicaid. Matt Laslo reports from the nation’s capital.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

“Happy and relieved.” Those are the words Washington Governor Chris Gregoire uses to describe the Supreme Court’s decision on health care. The Democrat Thursday told a personal story about a health scare in her own family.

Oregon health officials say Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act “clears the runway” for big changes to the state’s health care system.

Three States React To SCOTUS Decision

Jun 28, 2012

People around the Northwest have been giving all kinds of reactions to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. State officials in Washington and Oregon were elated. Reactions were more muted in Idaho. We have three stories now from reporters in three state capitols.

Wash. Gubenatorial Candidates On Healthcare Decision

Jun 28, 2012

Both of Washington’s gubernatorial candidates claimed victory today [Thursday] after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Republican candidate Rob McKenna was one of 26 Attorney Generals arguing that it was unconstitutional to force uninsured people to buy insurance. This morning [Thursday] the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate is in fact constitutional. Democrats called it a defeat for McKenna. They said the decision could hurt his run for governor against Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee. But McKenna disagreed. KUOW's Leslie McClurg reports.

Pages