Hurry, hurry. Open enrollment for state health insurance ends Feb. 15
The Washington Health Benefit Exchange is urging people to renew their health coverage, expressing concerns that insurance companies have not been clear about what is required. It is also offering free, in-person events to help consumers.
Public, patients kept in dark about superbug outbreak at Virginia Mason
Endoscopes tainted with drug-resistant superbugs infected at least 32 patients at Virginia Medical Center between 2012 and 2014, The Seattle Times reports. Problems with dirty endoscopes have been tied to superbug infections in Chicago and Pittsburgh in recent years, raising questions about the design of the device.
Women’s high rates of opioid use raise worries about birth defects
Nearly one-third of women of reproductive age had had an opioid painkiller prescription filled annually from 2008 to 2012, The New York Times reports. Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the C.D.C., said their use creates a substantial risk for birth defects. “These are dangerous drugs that are addictive, and we are substantially overusing them,” Frieden told the newspaper.
Boost mood, ease stress with a lunchtime stroll
Walking is healthy, of course, but during the workday, a stroll can help sharpen one’s focus and reignite some enthusiasm, according to a new study. And this can help, because “there is now quite strong research evidence that feeling more positive and enthusiastic at work is very important to productivity,” Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani, the study’s lead author and a professor at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, told The New York Times.
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.
- State Highlights: New Mass. A.G. Steps Into Fray Over Partners HealthCare Deal; Emergency Overdose Treatment To Cost Cities Less
- Viewpoints: Medicare’s Cost Cutting; Paying For Obamacare; Warren Misguided In Pharma Plan
- Administration Seeks More Money To Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
- 3.2 Million Newly Eligible Adults Enrolled In Medicaid In Early 2014, CMS Reports