health care

Cutting Through Obamacare Rollout Confusion

Aug 13, 2013

 The pace of implementation for the Affordable Care Act, known by critics and the president himself as Obamacare, is picking up this fall. Starting October 1 you can start shopping for a health plan in Washington state's new insurance exchange called Healthplanfinder. Obamacare is supposed to be fully in place by early next year. But there’s still a lot of confusion. Ross Reynolds tries to cut through some of that confusion by talking with Washington state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and taking listener calls.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Medical mistakes are a leading cause of death and injury in America. One of the most frequent mishaps in Washington hospitals: patients who fall. A fall in a hospital can lead to serious complications, even death. Medical experts say that kind of fall should never happen.

One Small Step, One Big Fall

Helen Funston lies on her back in a darkened room. She pushes her shoulder down into physical therapist Stella In’s hand until she gasps with pain.

Funston tells In the pain is an eight out of 10.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

About 30 times a year, a hospital in Washington state leaves a sponge or surgical instrument inside one of its patients. The accident known as a “retained foreign object” is one of the state’s most commonly reported medical mistakes.

Flickr Photo/Felipe Fortes

Providing Equal Health Care
The Human Rights Campaign released its 2013 Healthcare Equality Index. The HEI is a survey of how health care facilities treat patients from the LGBT community. Both UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance were recognized for being  a “leader in LGBT health care equality." What does it mean to provide LGBT patient-centered care? Nicki McCraw, the assistant vice president of human resources for UW Medicine explains.  

Art Of Our City
This year could be the last time audiences see Seattle Opera’s current production of the Ring Cycle.  The four-part opera marathon is the story of Norse gods and goddesses, love and greed. The final opera, “Twilight of the Gods," ends with the destruction of the world as the gods and goddesses know it. What does it take to end the world?  Seattle Opera technical director Robert Schaub knows. He’s the man who helped turn the artistic vision into stage reality. Schaub took Marcie Sillman behind the scenes and then sat down to talk about theater magic.

The Interfaith Amigos On The Role Of Ritual
All of us have rituals we engage in.  Maybe you eat lunch at the same restaurant every day.  Maybe you celebrate the holidays each year in a similar manner.  How important is ritual to the human experience? The Interfaith Amigos muse on this subject.

What You Need To Know About Long Term Care Insurance

Jul 8, 2013

  Long term health care insurance is becoming harder to come by. The number of providers is shrinking and premium costs are soaring. Obama’s Affordable Care Act doesn’t provide a solution either. The administration abandoned efforts to include affordable long-term care after concluding it was too expensive. So as baby boomers age, many are left with few options for long term care.  What to do?  Aaron Katz, a professor at University of Washington's Department of Health Services, spoke about it with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds.

Oregon and Idaho need more dentists. That's according to a new study out Tuesday from the Pew Charitable Trusts. It puts Oregon and Idaho among the top 10 states with the worst shortages.

Unless you live in a rural area, you probably haven't felt the dearth of dentists found in the Pew study. As Portland dentist Jill Price puts it, the problem isn't so much a shortage as poor distribution. She says, “We need to find ways to move people into the outlying areas.”

Debate Over Catholic Health Care Expansion In Washington State

Jun 4, 2013
Flickr Photo/Michael Holden

 Last year the secular Swedish Medical Center stopped performing elective abortions after affiliating with a Catholic health care provider, Providence Health & Services. Now some organizations in Washington state are calling for a moratorium on similar contracts between secular, publicly funded hospitals and religious providers. They fear patients in the state could see a reduction in access to services.

What happens when faith and health care mix? Should the state do anything about it? Ross Reynolds talks with Peter Adler, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Catholic provider Peacehealth, and Kathleen Turner, head of the ACLU of Washington.

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Seattle’s Café Racer is closed today in remembrance. 

It's been a year since a gunman shot five people inside the eclectic coffee shop and bar. Drew Keriakedes, Joe Albanese , Kimberly Layfield, and Don Largen were killed. The cafe's cook, Leonard Meuse, was the lone survivor.

After the gunman fled the scene, police say he made his way downtown where he  killed  Gloria Leonidas and stole her car before shooting himself in West Seattle. 

Swedish hospital entrance
John Ryan / KUOW

US hospitals harm one out of every seven patients they aim to help. So-called “adverse events” inside hospitals are one of the leading causes of death in America.

What You Still Don’t Know About Obamacare

May 21, 2013
Flickr Photo/401(K) 2013

 Over 40 percent of Americans don’t know Obamacare is the law according to a non-partisan study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Even more Americans don’t know what’s in the law or how the Affordable Care Act will affect them. To clear up the confusion, Ross Reynolds speaks with Mike Kreidler, the Washington state insurance commissioner about what the Affordable Care Act means for you.

Flickr photo/ kennethharper

In the decades leading up to the civil war, white Americans uncomfortable with the rising numbers of free blacks came up with a plan. Get rid of them. Specifically, convince them to resettle in Liberia. It was America's original "self-deportation" scheme. But things didn't go exactly according to plan.

List of stories from KUOW Presents,  May 15:

Flickr photo/Jose Goulao

The End Of The Seattle/Sacramento Kings Saga?
Months of speculation about the NBA’s return to Seattle could end today. League owners are in Dallas to vote on Chris Hansen’s deal to buy the Sacramento Kings and move the team to Seattle. Meanwhile, a rival group of NBA-backed Sacramento investors is waiting in the wings to keep the team in town. Seattle Times reporter Bob Condotta joins us from Dallas.

Seattle International Film Festival Opens
It’s mid-May, which means summer is around the corner. But before you frolic outdoors, you’ll probably head into a movie theater for the annual Seattle International Film Festival. Organizers bill it as the biggest film festival in North America. Get a sneak preview with the minds behind the madness.

The Cost Of Health Care
Last week the government released costs for 100 common procedures at hospitals around the country.  The numbers varied wildly between geographic regions, but also between hospitals in the same city. University of Washington professor Aaron Katz explains what that means for consumers.

KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

Every four weeks, Anna Stephens comes to Seattle Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy. But she’s not a child. Stephens is 23 years old, and she’s one of thousands of young people with cancer who wind up being treated in facilities that typically deal with much younger or much older patients.

Courtesy/Seattle Children's Hospital

Seattle Children’s Hospital is opening a new cancer unit Sunday specifically designed for teens and young adults. 

When young cancer patient age 15 to 29 goes in for treatment, they end up either in a pediatric or adult facility. A designated place for this age group could play a crucial role in their survival, according to Dr. Becky Johnson.

How Doctors Are Handling 'Death With Dignity'

Apr 11, 2013

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine looks at how one Seattle medical institution has managed the state’s 2009 Death With Dignity law. The report shows how rarely Washington state residents have pursued a legal prescription to end their own life, and describes the early debate among physicians over whether to participate. We talk with study author Dr. Elizabeth Loggers of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

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