health care

PeaceHealth And The Affordable Care Act

Oct 3, 2013
From PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center's Facebook page.

The battle over the Affordable Care Act has brought the federal government to a partial shutdown, but changes to our health care system due to the law have already begun reshaping the industry.  This includes private hospitals and public ones, for-profit and nonprofit, secular and faith-based institutions

PeaceHealth is a Catholic-affiliated nonprofit that runs nine hospitals and 73 medical practices in Alaska, Oregon and Washington. The company has entered into partnerships with public hospitals in Skagit and Snohomoish counties and recently agreed to send patients with complex issues to UW Medical facilities.

The ACA and the relationship between hospitals that operate under sometimes contradictory directives are top of mind for Alan Yordy, PeaceHealth’s chief mission officer. He talks with Steve Scher about what he calls one of the greatest social experiments in the history of developed nations around the world.

It was a rocky start to Obamacare in Washington. The state’s new health insurance website is up now, but it was shut down for most of the day because of technical glitches.

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Washington’s health exchange got off to a bumpy start on its first day yesterday. The website was temporarily shut down all morning. People who tried to access the website experienced slowdowns and technical problems. But there were some people who managed avoid the glitches and sign up for health coverage.

Flickr Photo/kindagetmego

The Affordable Care Act, colloquially called Obamacare, is here. Washington's health insurance marketplace, Healthplanfinder, is set to open Tuesday morning. In the marketplace, users can find, compare and sign up for health insurance. How does it work and what information will you need? David Hyde talks with Washington Health Benefit Exchange's director of communications, Michael Marchand.

Washington Health Insurance Exchange Set To Open

Sep 27, 2013
Stethoscope
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos

Starting October 1, uninsured people will be able to shop online for private insurance in health insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges. In Seattle, nonprofits and other organizations have been out educating people about how to sign up for insurance through the exchange.

It could cost the state of Washington more than $250 million over 30 years.to lease and operate the former headquarters of Amazon.com.

Jay Inslee's Facebook page.

Despite Republican efforts to block the health care reform plan known as Obamacare, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said he’s confident the plan is moving forward.

Speaking today on KUOW’s The Record, Inslee said the state is ready to roll out a major component of the Affordable Care Act. Next week, the state’s online marketplace for health plans will open for enrollment. Inslee said that the state is ready to push the green button on October 1.

The Republican-controlled House has voted to keep the government funded but its "continuing resolution" comes with a poison pill to defund the Affordable Care Act that Democrats have vowed is dead on arrival in the Senate.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Gene White of Des Moines, Wash., has had a litany of health problems in recent years: testicular cancer; cancer in his nervous system; pneumonia; the fungus Aspergillus infecting his lungs. The retired airline pilot says he got great care at Swedish Medical Center and the other Seattle hospitals that helped him survive those life-threatening diseases.

It’s Friday — time to talk over the week’s news with Joni Balter of the Seattle Times, The Stranger's Eli Sanders and Peter Jackson of the Everett Herald. This week President Obama said he'll ask Congress to approve a military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

 Governor Inslee floated the idea of another special legislative session to get a transportation package passed. Plus, Microsoft buys a $7.2 billion chunk of Nokia, Amazon's Jeff Bezos makes his first visit to the Washington Post as its newest owner and former president Bill Clinton tries to explain the Affordable Care Act to America. 

There are nearly 900 registered lobbyists in Washington state. These are the paid professionals who try to influence the outcome of the legislative process. But this year, a determined dad proved even outsiders can play the legislative game – with a bit of help.

So how does a Microsoft test manager become a citizen lobbyist? For Jeff Schwartz it all started back in 2007 when his son Jacob was about four months old.

“It was right about December that he started excessively throwing up and vomiting,” Schwartz recalls.

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

It will be another week before Washington consumers will know how many new certified health plans will be be sold in the exchange. The exchange is a web-based market for health insurance that’s part of the Affordable Care Act. The nine-member board that governs the exchange voted Thursday to delay certification until next week.

For decades, rural parts of the Northwest have found it difficult to lure doctors to small towns. Community leaders in Yakima, Wash. went so far as to found a small medical school to train doctors to practice in these underserved areas.

The Pacific Northwest University opened in 2006. But there is a problem. Small towns throughout the region just don’t have enough residency programs. And that means many of these doctors-in-training may move away.

A federal review team is taking a close look at the Snohomish County Jail in Everett this week. The review comes after last month’s death of a jail inmate. It was the eighth such death since 2010.

KUOW Photo/Madeline Ewbank

This week state and county officials met with local ethnic media. They hope the media will help them get the word out to non-English speakers about health care changes coming this fall.

The briefing was part of a statewide campaign to let consumers know that beginning in October, there will be 31 new health plans available for purchase at the state’s online marketplace. But the challenge for organizers will be more than just language barriers.

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