Health

K-12 Employee Health Care
9:12 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Battle looms over control of teachers' health care

Washington schools superintendent Randy Dorn is expected Tuesday to endorse a state takeover of K-12 employee health care. But the union that represents Washington teachers is prepared to defend its decades-long role as a provider of health insurance.

The teachers’ union calls it a taxpayer “rip off” and government “boondoggle.” Fiery language to describe a plan to put the state of Washington in the driver’s seat when it comes to K-12 employee health benefits.

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Health
4:59 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Health clinics for the poor look to middle class for income

Clinics and hospitals that serve low-income people are holding candle-light vigils in Seattle, Yakima and Spokane this week to draw attention to proposed budget cuts they call devastating. After education, the second biggest slice of the state budget goes to health care, totaling about a third of the general fund.

Some community clinics are taking the desperate step of marketing themselves to people with private insurance. That's a big change for non-profits with a mission to serve the poor.

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Higher Education
3:21 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Should colleges ban smoking on campus? Many in NW think so

Soon, you might not see college students smoking on campus. Schools are increasingly giving cigarettes the boot.
montchr Flickr photo

The ability to smoke a cigarette on college campuses is becoming a subject for the history books.

Several colleges in the Pacific Northwest have banned smoking – not only in and around buildings as required by law – but everywhere on school grounds.

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Mentally Ill Juveniles
9:10 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Brotherly bond clouded by schizophrenia

Dell May, at age 7, holds his new-born brother Ben
Zoe Cooley

Some of the longest relationships are the life-long ties between siblings. But that connection can get complicated when one sibling suffers from a mental illness.

Many support programs don’t focus much on the sibling relationships. Northwest News Network reporter Jessica Robinson recorded the story of two brothers: one in Moscow, Idaho, the other in Anchorage, Alaska. One has schizophrenia. The other grew up in the shadow of it.

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Mentally Ill Juveniles
9:27 am
Wed November 16, 2011

In rural northwest mentally ill teens struggle for services

In Adams County, Washington, and many other rural places in the Northwest, it’s difficult for mentally ill teens to get adequate services
Rajah Bose Northwest News Network

Experts say mental health services for teens are especially inadequate in rural areas. That describes huge swaths of our region.

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Mentally Ill Juveniles
10:00 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Early intervention key to treating mentally ill teens

Karen Howard says her family has been fighting to get help for her nephew, Eric, for more than a decade.
Michael Clapp Northwest News Network

The research is clear that the key to keeping a mentally ill teen in treatment and out of trouble is early intervention. Yet, most counties in the Northwest do not offer comprehensive treatment to kids in the initial stages of a mental breakdown.

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Mentally Ill Juveniles
10:37 am
Mon November 14, 2011

Mentally ill juveniles cycle in and out of detention

Every year in the Northwest, thousands of mentally ill teenagers get caught up in the juvenile justice system. In fact, some counties estimate more than half of the kids they place behind bars have a diagnosable mental health condition like schizophrenia, bi-polar or personality disorder. Yet many of these teens do not get the treatment they need. Instead, they cycle in and out of detention.

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Radiation Exposure
10:08 am
Thu November 10, 2011

Idaho National Lab workers exposed to plutonium

Test Reactor Area west of Idaho Falls is home to the Advanced Test Reactor
Idaho National Lab

The Idaho National Lab is monitoring 16 of its workers who were exposed to Plutonium 239. That isotope is used in nuclear weapons.

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Health care
9:03 am
Wed November 2, 2011

New State Website Offers Info on Health Rates

If you’ve ever wondered why your health insurance rate has gone up, that information is now public. Washington State’s Office of Insurance Commissioner has a new website that can help explain that.

Whenever an insurance company wants to raise rates for individual or small group plans, the Insurance Commissioner's Office reviews those requests. In the past, the agency could approve or reject the new rates, but it couldn't release any information behind the decision.

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Environment
8:30 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Demand that Duwamish River be cleaned up enough to eat the fish

Duwamish Cleanup Coalition Coordinator, James Rasmussen, says the EPA's plan for restoring ecological health to the 32 square miles of Seattle's Superfund site should include the goal of being able to eat a fish out of the river.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

There’s a major milestone this week in the cleanup of Seattle’s Duwamish River. Excavators are removing toxic sludge from one of the most polluted spots in the city’s industrial core. Completion of this work will allow cleanup on the rest of the river. 

But critics say there are already signs it won’t go far enough.

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Health
2:55 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

State limits non-emergency ER visits by Medicaid recipients

The emergency room sign at the Ballard branch of Swedish Hospital. 4/19/07
"zoomar" flickr.com

The state of Washington is limiting Medicaid recipients to three non-emergency Emergency Room visits per year, beginning October 1st.

Visits over the limit won't be covered by Medicaid, and hospitals will be allowed to bill patients for those services.

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Native American Health
10:10 am
Wed September 14, 2011

NW 'healing' totem pole heading to National Library of Medicine

Jewell James, holding baby, and the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Indian Nation in front of the healing totem at a blessing ceremony at the Seattle Center.
Robin Cedar KPLU

A brightly colored totem pole was given a send off celebration at the Seattle Center. The carved cedar log is embarking on a 4,000 mile journey.  It’s headed to the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., where it will be the centerpiece of an exhibit on Native American concepts of  healing. 

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Health
11:36 am
Thu June 2, 2011

Rare Bacterial Strain Identified As Cause Of European Outbreak

A couple of E. Coli bacteria captured in an image from the Helmholtz Center for Research on Infectious Diseases in Berlin earlier this week.
Manfred Rohde Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 3, 2011 6:06 am

Update 3:58 p.m.: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director for the division of foodborne, bacterial and mycotic diseases, tells NPR's Richard Harris the bacterium seen in the European outbreak isn't brand new. Tauze identified it as E. coli O104:H4. "This organism that's been isolated from the sick people in Germany has been seen before," he says.

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Healthy Lifestyle
7:18 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Ready, set, walk!

Hundreds turned out at Seattle city hall for National Start Walking Day
Paula Wissel

How about going out for a stroll? Today is National Start Walking Day.  The American Heart Association, which sponsors the day,  says taking just 10 minutes three times a day to walk will help you live longer.

Several hundred people turned out at Seattle city hall to kick off Start Walking Day by taking a 30 minute walk around downtown. Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine led the way.

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Medicine
10:21 am
Fri March 11, 2011

Health procedures scrutinized for costs, benefits

If you've had arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis, maybe you shouldn't have.  And if you've tried any of these treatments, there are questions, too, about whether it was worth it:

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