Ruby de Luna

Reporter

Ruby de Luna is a features reporter at KUOW. She had originally planned to go into TV, but ditched the idea after discovering public radio.  Ruby has reported on immigrant communities. She currently covers health care issues.  

Ruby is a transplant from Taipei, Taiwan. She holds a BA in communication from Seattle Pacific University. 

In the age of computer/digital audio editing, Ruby is proud to be one of the few old–schoolers who can still edit tape with a razor blade. In her free time she practices her knife skills on new recipes. 

Ways To Connect

The clock is ticking for those who haven’t bought health coverage for 2015.

The deadline for open enrollment is Feb. 15th. So far, Washington state is falling short on its enrollment goals. To date, more than 40,000 residents have bought health plans through Washington Healthplanfinder, the state’s health exchange. The state’s goal was more than twice that.  

A poster at Rainier Beach High School's teen clinic lets students know they have a safe place to talk.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

It used to be that students went to their school clinic to have their sore throat checked or get a vaccine. But many kids today have needs that go beyond physical health, whether it’s dealing with exposure to violence or having suicidal thoughts.

In response, a growing number of schools have started offering mental health services.

A bill in the state Legislature would prevent people under age 18 from buying vaping products
Flickr Photo/Joseph Morris (CC-BY-NC-ND)

This week a state senate committee will hear a proposal that would make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes and vapes to minors.

Last fall Sen. Judy Warnick got a tip from a police officer from her district in Moses Lake. He noted that students were buying e-cigarettes easily. “They were modifying them so they could use marijuana in those cigarettes," Warnick said. 

File photo of a flu shot.
Flickr Photo/Fort Meade (CC-BY-NC-ND)

The flu season has been more severe than expected, with 42 deaths in Washington state so far.

The main virus that’s circulating in the community, known as H3N2, causes more illnesses and deaths, especially among young kids and the elderly.

When the Legislature convenes next week, Rep. Sherry Appleton plans to introduce a bill for a silver alert system in Washington state.

Similar to the Amber Alert for children, this alert would be for elderly people with dementia who wander off. Appleton says 60 people went missing in the past year.

“Six-zero,” says Appleton. “I think it’s a lot of people.”

Doctor
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-NC-ND)

For the past two years primary care doctors who saw Medicaid patients were given a pay increase. The extra money was an incentive for doctors to take in new patients who became eligible under Medicaid expansion. But starting January 1, 2015, that pay increase expires. Marcie Sillman talks to KUOW’s healthcare reporter Ruby de Luna about how this change might impact Medicaid patients.

Joanne Hubacka has been doing hair for four decades at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Getting your hair done can be good medicine. It’s one reason why Joanne Hubacka, 69, is so busy. For four decades, Hubacka has been fixing people’s hair at life care center, a nursing home in Kirkland. Her profile is part of an ongoing series of audio portraits of people who challenge our assumptions of old age. 

Governor Jay Inslee unveiled a new transportation plan at a Eastside Transit Project site atop SR520 on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Governor Jay Inslee has been traveling around the state to unveil portions of his budget proposal. Tuesday morning he stopped in Medina, where workers are completing the Eastside Transit Project atop the 520 floating bridge, to announce his transportation plan.

This Saturday, Liberian Americans living in the Northwest are hosting a fundraiser for Ebola relief efforts in West Africa.

The proceeds will pay for essential supplies. But for the Liberian community in the Puget Sound region, the event is a way to stay involved from thousands of miles away.

Kevin Stormans, owner of Ralph's Thriftway, is at the heart of a seven-year legal over whether pharmacists can withhold prescriptions for religious reasons. The debate began over whether pharmacists may refuse to dispense the contraception pill Plan B.
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Whether pharmacists must dispense controversial prescriptions goes before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday. The case pits patients’ access to medication against healthcare providers’ religious beliefs. 

In 2007, pharmacy owner Kevin Stormans and two pharmacists sued Washington state. The Washington Pharmacy Board had just adopted rules to insure that patients had access to prescriptions in a timely manner.

Flickr Photo/neovain (CC-By-NC-ND)

You might think the elderly are targeted by strangers, but more often, it’s someone they know.  

Now prosecutors say that crimes against vulnerable adults are on the rise.

Courtesy of Washington Healthplanfinder

Open enrollment for health insurance started last Saturday. It’s the time for people to buy a health plan, or to renew what they already have. And for the first time this year, the state’s health exchange is offering health plans for small businesses. 

Marcie Sillman interviews KUOW health reporter Ruby de Luna about some of the changes the Washington state Health Exchange has made. Last year more than a million Washington state residents signed up for health insurance through the Washington Health Plan Finder website.  Saturday is the first day of open enrollment. People need to sign up or renew their health care plans by February 15, 2015. 

Fourteen year-old Shaylee Chuckulnaskit died just before 5 p.m.Friday from her injuries.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Community health centers have been busier than usual. They’re seeing more patients, many of them newly insured.

The centers, which provide care for mostly low income families, are meeting the demand by branching out to remote, underserved communities. But the challenge now is finding enough providers to staff these clinics.

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