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Medicare

"Oh my God, we dropped her!" Sandra Snipes said she heard the nursing home aides yell as she fell to the floor.

She landed on her right side where her hip had recently been replaced. She cried out in pain.

A hospital clinician later discovered her hip was dislocated.

That was not the only injury Snipes, then 61, said she suffered in 2011 at Richmond Pines Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center in Hamlet, N.C. Nurses allegedly had been injecting her twice a day with a potent blood thinner despite written instructions to stop.

The woman arrived at the emergency department gasping for air, her severe emphysema causing such shortness of breath that the physician who examined her immediately put her on a ventilator to help her breathe.

The patient lived across the street from that suburban Denver ER. The facility wasn't physically located at a hospital, says Dr. David Friedenson, the physician who took care of her that day. But it was affiliated with a hospital several miles away — North Suburban Medical Center.

Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos (CC-BY-SA-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/22ZC4Jx

Last week, KUOW listener Carole Glickfeld reached out to us with a story.

She had come down with walking pneumonia. “I was very weak, feverish, I felt like it was the end of the world,” Glickfeld said.

The Capitol Hill health care fight sure seemed dead. After Republican proposals to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, failed to pass a Republican-controlled Congress, lawmakers looked poised to move on to other topics, like a tax overhaul. But this week, proposals from both the left and the right are grabbing headlines.

Prescription drug prices continue to climb, putting the pinch on consumers. Some older Americans appear to be seeking an alternative to mainstream medicines that has become easier to get legally in many parts of the country. Just ask Cheech and Chong.

Mountlake Terrace resident Jennifer Calnon, 67, recently discussed her advance directive with her doctor. Starting January, Medicare plans to pay physicians for end of life counseling.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

For Jennifer Calnon, end-of-life discussions boil down to this: “This is my life,” she says. “I should be the one who gets to make the decision.”

Calnon, of Mountlake Terrace, is 67 years old and fairly new to retired life. These days she has a list of projects she wants to finish. Like finishing the pillowcase she started years ago for her daughter’s birthday and cleaning out her junk room. 

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.

Walter Bianco has had hepatitis C for decades. He's known about it for 20 years. And now he's reaching the end of the road.

"The liver is at the stage next to becoming cirrhotic," the 65-year-old Arizona man says.

Gather At The Table: A Dialogue On Race

Jan 7, 2013
Thomas DeWolf and Sharon Leslie Morgan
Kristin Little Photography

When you look at a person, do you "see race?" Sharon Leslie Morgan and Tom DeWolf have been asking that question as they sat down at dinner tables around America. They found the lingering pain of slavery, and some paths to healing. They join us for a conversation about the journey toward racial equality.

Same-Sex Marriage Arrives In Washington State

Dec 6, 2012

Washington state began handing out same-sex marriage licenses last night; the weddings will start on Sunday. We talk with some of the couples who showed up in downtown Seattle at midnight to be among the first to get a marriage license.