Whooping cough cases up fourfold in Washington
Pertussis cases jumped to 387 in Washington state, compared to 85 for the same period last year, The Seattle Times reports. Health officials say that babies too young for vaccinations and teens with fading protection have been particularly hard hit.
Gonorrhea cases jump 40 percent in state
In 2014, there were 6,136 cases of gonorrhea reported, with infection rates in Washington more than doubling since 2009. Local and state health officials have no explanation for the steady increase, LocalHealthGuide reports.
Seattle Children’s plans downtown research facility
The 13-story project, called Building Cure, would have 440,000 square feet of research space, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports. On May 12, a citizens panel will hear from Seattle Children’s about the project planned at 1920 Terry Ave.
Women lead rise in heavy drinking
A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington found that heavy drinking among Americans rose 17.2 percent between 2005 and 2012. The rise was driven largely by women’s drinking habits changing with social norms, Kaiser Health News reports.
3-way paired kidney exchange is first in the Northwest
The complicated kidney swap, which involved six people, linked willing but mismatched donors with recipients in need. Three kidneys were removed and three transplanted on Dec. 8 in Seattle and Portland, with all six people doing well. “It was a really great thing,” Dr. Lisa Florence, director of the kidney-transplant program at Swedish Medical Center, told The Seattle Times. “It’s a testament to all of the surgeons in the transplant centers that they worked really well together.”
Physicians from around the world will gather in Seattle in early June, wielding not the tools of their profession, but their musical prowess. “We’re all jazzed to perform the music. There’s no talk of medicine when we’re together,” Dr. David Frank, a clarinetist and emergency-medicine specialist at Virginia Mason, told NewsBeat. The World Doctors Orchestra, whose mission is to raise money for human-service charities, will play at Benaroya Hall, Harborview Medical Center’s cafeteria, and in Vancouver, B.C.
Ebola: What clinicians need to know
Infection control and triage
Using proper infection control measures is crucial for preventing transmission of infectious diseases. Serious communicable diseases such as MERS and Ebola virus disease are making headlines, and flu season is looming. It’s crucial that appropriate infection control precautions are taken on a daily basis for every patient.
To protect your health care workers and patients from infectious diseases in health care settings:
- Review and ensure implementation of proper infection control procedures during all stages of the patient encounter;
- Review triage protocols for early identification to trigger appropriate infection control response; and,
- Take extra steps specifically for Ebola.
Resources for physicians
- Complete infection control guidance from the CDC
- A health care provider preparedness checklist for Ebola
- Department of Health’s key messages for providers regarding Ebola
- Department of Health’s guidance for safe handling of human remains of Ebola patients in the U.S.
Resources for patients
- Department of Health Ebola overview for patients
- Department of Health Ebola fact sheet (available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Ukrainian and Vietnamese)
- Patient resources for your practice on Ebola from the CDC
- CDC travel advisory
- Ebola facts (color pdf poster) from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
News and other resources
- Medscape’s Ebola resource center
- Washington State Department of Health’s Ebola virus disease information for public health and health care providers
- American Medical Association’s Ebola resource center
- Washington State Hospital Association’s Ebola resources for hospitals and the public
- Washington State Nurses Association’s Ebola resources for registered nurses
News on Ebola
Increasing regulation and awareness around the causes and effects of sports-related concussions is leading to greater safety among young athletes. Physicians Leah G. Concannon and Stanley A. Herring of the Seattle Sports Concussion Program explore the latest developments in youth concussion management in their Bulletin article PreventableTragedies. Click here to download the article.
Check out the latest addition to our Practice Resources: tips for how to make appropriate use of social media from the Washington State Department of Health, Federation of State Medical Boards and more.
The open enrollment period for health coverage under the Washington State Healthplanfinder is Nov. 15, 2014 to Feb. 15, 2015. Individuals may qualify for special enrollment periods outside of the open enrollment dates, depending on their circumstances. For those who qualify for Medicaid/Apple Health, enrollment is ongoing. Or if your life situation changes, you may be able to enroll in a subsidized plan.
What’s new this enrollment season? Many things, but here are two you should know about:
- Coverage renewals: Individuals who enrolled in a plan last year will need to renew their coverage during open enrollment. There are new options available this enrollment season and everyone — even those whose coverage was automatically renewed — is encouraged to review their plan and not just assume the one they had last year remains the most affordable one for them.
- Opportunity for small businesses to get coverage: King County small businesses will now be able to purchase coverage for their employees through Healthplanfinder. (Previously, only individuals in King County could purchase coverage.) The Washington Health Benefit Exchange offers information for employers.
King County’s website on health coverage has information on enrollment events in the county, how to get assistance with enrollment, and a Q&A about the new enrollment and renewal process. It will be updated regularly throughout the enrollment season. To find out more about how and where to enroll, consult Public Health – Seattle & King County’s enrollment event calendar.
More information can be found at Washington Health Benefit Exchange.
Visit our Education and Events page to learn more about:
- Upcoming Continuing Medical Education opportunities throughout the Seattle-King County region; and
- Free access to Heal-WA, an online medical library featuring tool kits, calculators, dictionaries, electronic textbooks, and journals.
- First Edition: May 5, 2015
- Patients Not Hurt When Their Hospitals Close, Study Finds
- Viewpoints: Medical Bills’ Gibberish; Meeting Patients’ Needs; Cutting Back On Antibiotics
- State Highlights: In Calif., Immigrants Would Qualify For Medi-Cal Under Pending Bill; N.Y. Medicaid Revamp Emphasizes Outpatient Care
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- USPSTF Says Not Enough Evidence to Recommend E-Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation (FREE)