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The King County Medical Society (KCMS), founded in 1888, is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to representing Seattle and King County physicians and their patients by promoting best practices in medicine and raising public awareness of issues critical to quality patient care and public health.

 

News

Seattle scientists step up Zika research

With the Zika virus now in more than 25 nations, scientists at the University of Washington and Kineta are intensifying their efforts to create an antiviral drug to treat RNA viruses, The Seattle Times reports. These include Zika, as well as West Nile, Ebola, hepatitis C and type-A influenza. In another article, the Times reports that a Seattle expert said that he’s seeing a pattern of unusually severe cases tied to the Zika virus.

Deaths from preventable injuries shorten U.S. lives

Injuries from guns, drugs and motor vehicle crashes account for about half the difference in men’s life expectancy between the United States and other high-income countries such as Austria and the United Kingdom. For women, the difference is about 19 percent, Reuters reports, citing a JAMA study.

Whooping cough booster not long-lasting

A study in Pediatrics found that when vaccinated children got the pertussis booster vaccine, it was 69 percent effective after the first year, but then dropped to less than 9 percent two to three years later, The New York Times reports. The waning effectiveness of the Tdap booster could help explain recent outbreaks of whooping cough.

Eating seafood can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s

For people who carry the ApoE4 gene variation, which increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, eating seafood reduces the risk of dementia-associated brain changes. The consumption of fish-oil supplements had no apparent impact, The New York Times reports.


Zika virus

AMA: Zika virus resource center

CDC: Zika virus

Washingon state Dept. of Health: Zika virus


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:

  1. Review and ensure implementation of proper infection control procedures during all stages of the patient encounter;
  2. Review triage protocols for early identification to trigger appropriate infection control response; and,
  3. Take extra steps specifically for Ebola.

Resources for physicians

Resources for patients

News and other resources

News on Ebola

The argument against an Ebola quarantine for health-care workers

Ebola safety video available soon

Tapping mobile phone records could help monitor Ebola

Health Care Coverage Enrollment Help

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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.

Education & Events

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.