Ruby de Luna | KUOW News and Information

Ruby de Luna

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 1994

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

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

The first wave of memorial services honoring the victims who perished in the Oso landslide took place this weekend.

In Darrington, residents gathered to remember Linda McPherson, a longtime resident and librarian. After the service, the community gathered for a meal together. It's a special tradition that goes back many decades in this small community.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

For many families of victims of the deadly Oso landslide, getting information about the fate of their loved ones has been agonizingly slow.

That's because the work by medical examiners to confirm the identities of the deceased is painstaking and requires time.

Flickr Photo/GovInslee (National Guard) (CC-BY-NC-ND)

With 100 percent chance of rain in the forecast for Friday, Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots held a brief conference in the morning to update on the progress of the Oso mudslide.

Hots said the rain makes the efforts of the workers in the debris field, now in their seventh day of search operations, slow and complicated. “We’ve got a hard day ahead of us,” Hots said.

Courtesy of TB Voices Project

Some people may think tuberculosis has been wiped out, but the disease still infects one third of the world’s population.

Closer to home, tuberculosis is on the rise in Washington state, after years of decline. There were 209 tuberculosis cases reported last year.  

These days the disease is treated with oral medication.

But there was time, not too long ago, when TB patients were quarantined in sanatoriums, sometimes for years.   

Flickr Photo/Micheal J (CC BY-NC-ND)

A year after hospitals began discouraging Medicaid patients from making unnecessary emergency room visits, the results are promising. A new state report shows the number of unnecessary visits to ERs in Washington fell by 10 percent last year.  

“A 10 percent reduction is almost unprecedented,” said Dr. Nathan Schlicher, an ER physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma.

Courtesy of Washington Healthplanfinder

If you don’t have health coverage yet, you still have two weeks to sign up. But state officials are urging people not to wait until the last minute. They say there are reasons to enroll sooner — you’ll avoid the surge leading up to the deadline.

Flickr Photo/Still Burning (CC BY-NC-ND)

Health care enrollments so far have been focused on people without insurance. But there’s another population officials are trying to get covered – people locked up behind bars.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Scientists are hoping to learn more about a fossilized mammoth tusk that was uncovered two weeks ago at a construction site in Seattle’s South Lake Union area. The tusk has since been transferred to the Burke Museum for preservation and research.

Courtesy Greenwood Senior Center

Living with dementia can be isolating for both patients and their families. As social interactions get awkward, people begin to withdraw. Not only do their memories fade, but people themselves begin to fade from view.

At least that's the common perception.

Courtesy of Washington Healthplanfinder

Washington Healthplanfinder has rolled out a new series of snappy ads aimed at getting young adults to sign up for health care. To date, the enrollment participation for this group is still just above 20 percent.

Flickr Photo/Ralf (CC BY-NC-SA)

The Washington State Hospital Association has filed suit in Thurston County Superior Court over the state's new permitting process for hospitals.

Flickr Photo/Henry Alva

Pacific Medical Centers said Monday it plans to team with Providence Health and Services, the latest example of health care providers aligning with religious organizations.

Flickr Photo/Army Medicine

It’s one thing to get people to buy health insurance, something the state’s health exchange has been focusing on. But what happens when a patient can no longer pay monthly premiums — who would then be responsible for the medical bills? Doctors are worried they’ll be stuck holding the bag, and they’re taking their issue to Olympia this week.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

For years, businesses have tried different approaches to get workers to adopt healthy lifestyles: They’ve offered rewards; they’ve tried to get employees’ attention through their pocketbooks.

Flickr Photo/Michael B.

Starting Thursday, hospitals that plan to merge or form partnerships will now undergo state review as part of a new rule that takes effect this week. And nobody’s happy with the new regulations, not even the critics who called for change.

Flickr Photo/Katrine Kaarsemaker

When Rep. Cary Condotta campaigned for labeling genetically modified food last fall, he noticed reactions were different depending on the type of food: fish or plant. “When you start talking about modifying animals to grow faster and larger, boy, they light up,” he said. “People go, really? They’re not doing that, are they?”

Courtesy of Washington Healthplanfinder

You don’t often hear Justin Timberlake and health insurance in the same sentence. But this Friday, fans going to Key Arena to get their dose of Justin Timberlake will also get a chance to learn about health plans.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Washington residents who tried to buy health insurance through the health exchange weren’t the only ones to experience technical difficulties.

About 20,000 Medicaid recipients encountered similar problems when they went to the exchange in November, preventing them from renewing their coverage. That’s roughly a third of Medicaid patients for that month.

WSDOT Photo

An 8-inch-wide steel pipe.

That’s what is likely blocking Bertha, the boring machine creating a tunnel through downtown Seattle to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

More than 24,000 Washington residents lost their federal unemployment benefits late last month. Congress let expire an emergency federal jobless program that was created in 2008 during the great recession.

One Seattle researcher has been struggling to find work since last spring. 

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Medication has helped Jon Buckland’s symptoms, but the voices in his head never go away.

By his description, it’s like being in a loud, busy bar. “It’s like throwing that whole bar, and what you can’t control, into one moment inside your brain during that time that you’re still trying to hold on to conversation normally outside your head,” Buckland said.

Doctor
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/bt29wL

Marcie Sillman sits down with KUOW reporter Ruby de Luna to talk about the Monday health exchange deadline for coverage beginning on Jan. 1.

From Plum Bistro's Facebook page.

Washington small businesses got some good news Tuesday.

Senator Patty Murray and the Treasury Department announced they found a solution that will let small businesses get tax credits when buying health plans for their employees. Washington was one of few states that was going to miss out on the federal subsidies until now.

NPR Graphic/Matt Stiles

You wouldn’t know it given the technical problems that plagued Washington’s health exchange over the last several days, but the state is fifth in the country for enrollment based on population, according to the Department of Health and Human Services and the US Census Bureau.

Flickr Photo/kindagetmego

The holiday frenzy isn’t the only deadline looming.

For people who expect to have health coverage when the new year starts, the deadline to enroll for a health plan is December 23.

Fred Hutch Photo/Bo Jungmayer

Imagine if rivals Boeing and Airbus teamed up on a new plane, or Microsoft and Apple built a computer.

That’s a bit like what Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are attempting. Together, the two have launched a start-up, the goal being to develop a new cancer treatment that targets immune cells in the body and turns them into cancer-fighting soldiers.

BartellDrugs.com

When was the last time you called your primary care doctor and got in the same day? It doesn’t happen often.

“People often end up in the ER,” said Wellesley Chapman, a physician at Group Health, “or we like to have people go to an urgent care if they absolutely can’t get in to see us today.”

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

In the quest to improve gun safety, public health officials are borrowing a practice that’s common in car sales — talking up safety features. Now when people shop for guns, they’ll be encouraged to exercise safety and buy a lockbox as well.

Flickr Photo/Becky Striepe

More than a week after the election, backers of the measure to label genetically modified food finally conceded defeat – but promised they would be back in 2016. In the meantime, national efforts to label GMO foods continue.

insurance.wa.gov/

Within hours of President Barack Obama’s announcement that people could keep their old insurance plans – at least for another year – Washington state’s insurance commissioner said he wouldn’t abide.

Pages