Ballet stretches her body’s limits, insurance brings peace of mind

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By Heidi de Marco
KHN Staff Writer

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Allynne Noelle has had two metatarsal stress fractures, a torn foot ligament, and two broken ribs. Yet, the 32-year-old ballerina considers herself pretty lucky.

Allynne Noelle 3 300Noelle says not to be fooled by the graceful movements on stage − ballet is a full-contact sport.

“As beautiful as the art form of ballet is, it’s extremely demanding on the body,” said Noelle, a principal dancer with the Los Angeles ballet. “It works every single muscle and fiber.”

The annual injury rates at ballet companies run between 67 and 95 percent.

The annual injury rates at ballet companies run between 67 and 95 percent, according to a study by the American Journal of Sports Medicine.  But ballerinas and their male counterparts often dance through the pain.

“You’re kind of raised with the idea that you’re stronger than any pain you feel,” said Noelle, who once danced with a 103-degree fever that led to her hospitalization with pneumonia. Continue reading

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Fleming leaving public health post

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Dr. David Fleming

Dr. David Fleming will step down as director of Public Health – Seattle & King Count effective Aug. 11. Fleming has agreed to stay on during the transition on an interim basis as County Health Officer.

Patty Hayes, director of the Community Health Services Division in Public Health, will serve as interim director of Public Health beginning Aug. 11. Continue reading

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Survey finds 1 In 5 uninsured don’t want coverage

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Dye with Yes, No and Maybe of the three visible sidesBy Phil Galewitz
KHN / JULY 29TH

Though millions of people gained health coverage this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act, millions more remain unaware of their options or have no interest in getting insured, a new survey has found.

Among those who were uninsured last year and remain uninsured, only 59 percent were familiar with the new Obamacare marketplaces and 38 percent were aware of federal subsidies to lower their insurance costs, according to the survey conducted in June by the nonpartisan Urban Institute.

20 percent say they don’t want health insurance or would rather pay the fine.

About 60 percent of respondents list cost as the main reason for not having insurance. But 20 percent say they don’t want health insurance or would rather pay the fine for not having coverage. Continue reading

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Cord Blood: What You Need to Know – FDA

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Consumer Update from the US Food and Drug Administration

RedBloodCellsCord blood is found in the blood vessels of the placenta and the umbilical cord, cord blood is collected after a baby is born and after the umbilical cord is cut—an important point.

“Because cord blood is typically collected after the baby is delivered and the cord is cut, the procedure is generally safe for the mother and baby,” explains Keith Wonnacott, Ph.D., Chief of the Cellular Therapies Branch in FDA’s Office of Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapies. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – July 30th

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Keep your cool in hot weather – CDC

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Sun Orange Orb by Cris DeRaudGetting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can’t compensate for it and properly cool you off.

Heat exposure can even kill you: it caused 7,233 heat-related deaths in the United States from 1999 to 2009.

Learn about heat-related illness and how to stay cool and safe in hot weather

.Main things affecting your body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather:

  • High humidity. When the humidity is high, sweat won’t evaporate as quickly, which keeps your body from releasing heat as fast as it may need to.
  • Personal factors. Age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use can play a role in whether a person can cool off enough in very hot weather.

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Panel recommends sweeping changes to doctor training system

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An expert panel recommended Tuesday completely overhauling the way government pays for the training of doctors, saying the current $15 billion system is failing to produce the medical workforce the nation needs.

“We recognize we are recommending substantial change,” said health economist and former Medicare Administrator Gail Wilensky, co-chairwoman of the nonpartisanInstitute of Medicine panel that produced the report. “We think it’s key to justifying the continued use of public funds.” Continue reading

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Medicare experiment could signal sea change for hospice

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Diane Meier 176By Michelle Andrews
KHN / JUL 29, 2014

Diane Meier is the director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, a national organization that aims to increase the number of palliative care programs in hospitals and elsewhere for patients with serious illnesses.

Meier is also a professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

We spoke about a recently launched pilot program under the health law that allows hospice patients participating in the pilot to continue to receive life-prolonging treatment. This is an edited version of that conversation.

Q. There’s a lot of confusion about how hospice care differs from palliative care. Maybe we should start by clearing up what those terms mean. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – July 29th

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Global health news – July 29th

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Good News for Boomers: Medicare’s Hospital Trust Fund flush until 2030

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Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which finances about half the health program for seniors and the disabled, won’t run out of money until 2030, the program’s trustees said Monday.

That’s four years later than projected last year and 13 years later than projected the year before the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading

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Limits of new health plans rankle some enrollees

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Photo: Willi Heidelbach

This KHN story also ran in .

Nancy Pippenger and Marcia Perez live 2,000 miles apart but have the same complaint: Doctors who treated them last year won’t take their insurance now, even though they haven’t changed insurers.

“They said, ‘We take the old plan, but not the new one,’” says Perez, an attorney in Palo Alto, California.

In Washington state, administrative rules announced this spring require insurers to provide enough primary care doctors so enrollees can get an appointment within 10 days and 30 miles of their home or workplace.

In Plymouth, Indiana, Pippenger got similar news from her longtime orthopedic surgeon, so she shelled out $300 from her own pocket to see him.

Both women unwittingly bought policies with limited networks of doctors and hospitals that provide little or no payment for care outside those networks. Continue reading

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Global health news – July 28th

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New hepatitis C treatments – FDA Consumer Update

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fda-logo-thumbnailFrom the US Food and Drug Administration

At the approval of several new drugs for hepatitis C is  welcome news for baby boomers—who make up three of four adults with the hepatitis C virus—and millions of other Americans, many of whom don’t yet know they are infected and carriers, says the US Food and Drug Administration in this Consumer Update.

Hepatitis C can be cured, and today’s drug therapies are very effective and easier for patients to take, says Jeffrey S. Murray, M.D., the deputy director of the Division of Antiviral Products in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Murray is an internist who specializes in infectious diseases.

A Preventable and Curable Disease

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Health news headlines – July 28th

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