State’s whooping cough epidemic did not boost vaccination rates

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child wincing while be given a shot injectionExperts have long believed that when the risk of a disease is high, people are more likely to accept a vaccine to prevent that disease. But recent research suggests that might not be uniformly true. Dr. Elizabeth Wolf, an investigator in Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development, led a study that determined Washington’s recent pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic did not influence the number of infants who were vaccinated against the disease.

via Infectious Disease Epidemics May Not Influence Vaccination Rates.

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Group Health ends 15-year relationship with Virginia Mason, switches to Swedish – Puget Sound Business Journal

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Group Health IconGroup Health has signed an agreement with Swedish Health Services to provide Group Health’s Seattle-based hospital services, a decision that will end a 15-year-long acute-care relationship with Virginia Mason.

via Group Health ends 15-year relationship with Virginia Mason, switches to Swedish – Puget Sound Business Journal.

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Some insurers refuse to cover contraceptives, despite health law requirement

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nuvaring contraceptiveBy Michelle Andrews
KHN

How much leeway do employers and insurers have in deciding whether they’ll cover contraceptives without charge and in determining which methods make the cut?

Not much, as it turns out, but that hasn’t stopped some from trying.

Kaiser Health News readers still write in regularly describing battles they’re waging to get the birth control coverage they’re entitled to.

“We’ve seen this happen, plenty.”

In one of those messages recently, a woman said her insurer denied free coverage for the NuvaRing.

This small plastic device, which is inserted into the vagina, works for three weeks at a time by releasing hormones similar to those used by birth control pills. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – August 22nd

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Global health news – August 22nd

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Healthplanfinder: ‘Moderately effective,’ could improve | HealthCare Checkup | Seattle Times

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report-card-thumbHow does Washington’s online exchange marketplace compare with those in other states?

As part of an ongoing study, the nonprofit Urban Institute assessed how well state exchanges created  under the Affordable Care Act provide the sort of information consumers want to know about insurance plans they’re considering buying.

via Healthplanfinder: ‘Moderately effective,’ could improve | HealthCare Checkup | Seattle Times.

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Always Hungry? Here’s the Real Reason Why | RAND

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French FriesMost Americans recognize the difference between “empty-stomach” hunger and urges caused by the smell of popcorn at the movies or the sight of candy in the checkout line. Nonetheless, it’s hard to resist. America is a food swamp, says Deborah A. Cohen, where cheap, convenient food is everywhere, and marketing exploits human tendencies.

Always Hungry? Here’s the Real Reason Why | RAND.

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Are your medical records vulnerable to theft?

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This KHN story also ran in .

A decade ago almost all doctors kept paper charts on every patient. That is changing quickly as laptops become as common as stethoscopes in exam rooms. Recent hacking attacks have raised questions about how safe that data may be.

Here are some frequently asked questions about this evolution underway in American medicine and the government programs sparking the change.

Are my medical records stored electronically? Continue reading

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Health news headlines – August 21st

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noodles ramen soupPhoto: Michal Zacharzewski

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Global health news – August 20th

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Can’t find a doctor in your hometown? Sen. Murray wants to help – Puget Sound Business Journal

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Washington MapSen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is making the rounds in her home state, meeting with local healthcare leaders to promote legislation that would help train 1,500 primary care doctors to help treat people in underserved communities in the U.S.

via Can’t find a doctor in your hometown? Sen. Murray wants to help – Puget Sound Business Journal.

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‘Pastoral counselors’ help fill mental health gap in rural states

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Mental health therapists most often leave issues of faith outside their office doors, even for patients who are religious. But one class of counselors believes a nonsectarian model doesn’t serve everyone equally well.

“On a feeling level, people want a safe, respectful place, to ponder the tons of questions that come begging in hard times,” said Glenn Williams, a pastoral counselor in Kentucky and chair of the Kentucky Association of Pastoral Counselors. “Where is God?  Why did this happen?  Is it karma, sowing-reaping, happenstance?  What purpose does this suffering serve?”

Six states allow these counselors – who include faith and spirituality in their work – to be licensed mental health counselors, which can make it easier for them to get health insurance reimbursements.

Williams, who works at the St. Matthews Pastoral Counseling Center outside Louisville, said many of his patients are quite “intentional” about their preference for pastoral counselors over other mental health professionals.

Kentucky recently became the sixth state (joining Arkansas, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Tennessee) to allow pastoral counselors to become licensed mental health counselors. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – August 20th

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Global Health News – August 20th

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Led by medical school, UW ranked No. 15 among world’s best universities – Puget Sound Business Journal

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University-of-Washington-Logo-300x300UW was ranked No. 3 in clinical medicine and pharmacy in 2014, behind Harvard and the University of California, San Francisco, and ahead of Johns Hopkins University. UW was ranked No. 6 in life sciences in 2014.

via Led by medical school, UW ranked No. 15 among world’s best universities – Puget Sound Business Journal.

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