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.

Small business owners are also trying to gauge what the health care ruling means for them. Their views are sharply divided.

Allen4names / Wikimedia Commons

People across the Northwest have been reacting to today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s health care overhaul. Correspondent Anna King spoke to people outside the Kadlec Medical Center in Richland in southeast Washington.

Bailey-Boushay House turns 20 this year. The residential care facility in Seattle’s Madison Valley was the first of its kind in the country. It focused on the health care needs of people with AIDS. It was born out of a crisis. Over the years the patients’ medical needs have changed. The facility has evolved, too. Ruby de Luna traces the history of Bailey-Boushay.

The Washington state Hospital association is weighing in on their concerns about the possible aftermath of a US Supreme Court ruling that could overturn all or part of the Affordable care act.  Steve Jackson has more.

Franz Jantzen / supremecourt.gov

The U.S. Supreme Court could rule any day now on the Constitutionality of President Obama's health care overhaul. The decision could have broad implications for state health care policies in the Northwest.

Western State Hospital CEO Resigns

Jun 14, 2012

The head of Washington's largest psychiatric hospital is stepping down. Western State Hospital CEO Jess Jamieson announced his resignation to hospital staff Tuesday. The announcement came as the Tacoma-area hospital deals with the aftermath of two patients' violent deaths in April. KUOW's John Ryan has the story.

Photo credit: Julia Flucht / Northwest News Network

When you get cancer, hopping on a treadmill is probably the last thing on your mind. But a growing pile of evidence shows exercise is precisely what doctors should advise you to do.

The American Cancer Society has released new guidelines urging patients to get active, even as they endure exhausting chemotherapy and radiation treatments. This is a big change, one that some believe isn’t happening fast enough.

Laura Rosencrantz is a personal trainer for Inpower Fitness in Portland. She’s certified to work with a specialized group, cancer patients.

HHS.gov / Northwest News Network

Oregon needs to do a better job at making sure that low-income children are getting the mental health services they’re eligible for. That's the finding of a new audit by the Oregon Secretary of State's office.

The report applauds the Oregon Health Authority for bringing tens of thousands of additional children into the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan over the past three years.

But auditors found that some groups of children were using mental health services at a disproportionately low rate. They include girls under age 13, and Hispanic youth of all ages.

Photo courtesy HHS.gov

Washington State’s health insurance exchange got a boost. Wednesday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the state more than $127 million in federal grants. That money will help develop and implement the state’s Health Benefits exchange. The exchange is a marketplace where consumers will be able to compare and shop for health insurance plans.

Secretary of health Kathleen Sebelius says so far 34 states are in different stages of creating their own exchange…

University of Oregon Student Dies of Meningitis

May 15, 2012

Health officials say it's unlikely those who had casual contact with a University of Oregon student who died Friday are at risk of contracting bacterial meningitis. The disease is believed to have caused the death of 21-year old Lillian Pagenstecher. KLCC's Rachael McDonald reports.

Fewer Pre-Term Babies In Washington

May 9, 2012
USAID / USAID

Mothers in Washington are carrying their babies longer in the womb to protect against complications. Just a few years ago, if a baby was born at 37 weeks which is two weeks early it was still considered full-term. Now, research has shown babies born two weeks early are more likely to have medical problems.

Photo credit: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

More people are dying from overdoses of prescription painkillers. Some Northwest hospitals say they're combating the problem by drastically reducing the amount of prescriptions they write for the medications. Salem Hospital is the latest.

Experts say many users become addicted after initially taking painkillers for legitimate medical reasons. That's what happened to Matt Harp. He hurt his back playing college baseball. His doctor realized Harp was becoming addicted, but the Oregon man told a Salem news conference he simply visited different doctors and hospitals.

Oregon, Washington and Idaho are among the 44 states splitting a $100 million settlement with pharmaceutical giant Abbott Labs. The agreement announced Monday resolves a dispute over the company's marketing of a drug called Depakote .

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has sent two epidemiologists to Washington State. The investigators will try to find out what’s causing the state’s rapid rise of whooping cough cases. We get more from Ruby de Luna.

The chance of a woman getting ovarian disease may be tied to the toxic chemicals her great-grandmother was exposed to. That’s according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University. As Jessica Robinson reports, the study could help explain the role of environmental factors in inherited diseases.

The federal government has agreed to pump nearly $2 billion into Oregon's experiment at changing the way it delivers health care to low income people. The news Thursday came after Governor John Kitzhaber and three other state officials flew to Washington to personally lobby for the cash.

Gov. Chris Gregoire is reaching into emergency funds to help contain the state's whooping cough epidemic.

Violence On The Rise At Western State Hospital

May 3, 2012

Three employees at Western State Hospital near Tacoma were attacked by a patient Wednesday morning. Officials say the three were taken to the emergency room but could not provide more details.

Western State Hospital is Washington's most violent workplace. 335 assaults were reported there in the past 12 months. That’s a slight increase from the year before but lower than prior years.

One nurse at Western told John Ryan what it's like to become a statistic.

Photo courtesy of the William P. Gottlieb Collection

In the late 1930s, a sweet-voiced singer from the Northwest helped propel the nation into a new era of music, known as swing. Her name was Mildred Bailey -- sometimes called the “Rockin’ Chair Lady,” for her signature song ...

Bailey went down in history as a white vocalist who helped popularize jazz singing. Except, she wasn’t white. Bailey was half Coeur d’Alene Indian – a fact that received little attention, until recently. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has this story of two women, both named Julia, who Mildred Bailey brought together decades after her death.

Photo courtesy Andrew Taylor

Seventy. That's how many terminally people hastened their deaths in 2011 with the help of a doctor’s prescription in Washington, according to a report out Wednesday from the state Department of Health. Since 2009, a total of 255 terminally ill adults have ended their lives in this way. One of them was Meg Holmes.

Seventy people in Washington legally ended their lives in 2011 with the help of a physician. That continues a steady increase in each of the last three years. The latest numbers come from a report out Wednesday on Washington's so-called Death with Dignity Act. The annual release of statistics on the law says 80 physicians wrote a total of 103 such prescriptions in 2011.

Photo courtesty UI

The University of Idaho has entered into the public phase of the largest fundraising campaign in its history.

File photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control

The federal government’s top health officers are making an appeal to the Northwest’s medical community to boost vaccination rates. The deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control’s immunization branch spoke at a public health conference in Coeur d’Alene Friday as part of the national campaign.

A second patient at Western State Hospital has died violently in less than a week.  Lakewood Police say 20-year-old Megan Templeton hanged herself with a bed sheet at the state's largest psychiatric hospital.

Photo credit: Sarah Gilbert/ Flickr / KUOW

The state has been trying to crack down on ER visits for conditions that are not critical. But health care providers say the state’s policies go too far, they’re unsafe for patients, and will shift costs to hospitals.

Hospitals and emergency room doctors want to address the problem their own way. They’ve put together what they call best practices for reducing unnecessary ER visits. A key component of that is using an electronic health information system.

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