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Healthcare

By Dr. Carl Ehresman

For some the idea of incorporating healthy bacteria into your diet is a relatively new one. I would say this is partially true. Supplementing with bacteria (probiotics) has become much more common in recent years. More and more of my patients coming in are already taking some form of probiotics when I initially interview them. read more »

 

Dr. Manfred Henne

It is important to be aware of the fact that you can become your own health care advocate, and to choose where and from whom you receive medical services. You have choices! You can select your physician, your medical group, your hospital and the provider of any other medical services such as imaging and physical therapy, etc. read more »

 

By Marie LaMarche read more »

 

Business Examiner

Two significant changes were announced recently for government employees whose health insurance is provided by the state Public Employees Benefits Board program. And both include possible cost increases.

Beginning July 1, persons covered will face a $25 per account surcharge if they or any of their covered family members use tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff or other forms. To avoid the financial levy, they can enroll in a PEBB sponsored tobacco cessation program.

There will also be a monthly $50 surcharge if enrolled spouses or domestic partners have chose not to enroll in a medical plan from their own employers that is comparable to a PEBB medical plan. read more »

 

OLYMPIA — The announcement this week by the Obama administration to allow non-compliant or previously cancelled health insurance plans to continue for another two years does not apply to Washington state.

The Obama administration first made the offer to extend non-complaint or cancelled plans for one year last November, but left the decision up to individual state insurance commissioners and the health insurers.

Washington state’s insurance commissioner decided that allowing cancelled health plans to continue would not be in the best interest of the health insurance market and would ultimately harm consumers. Since this announcement last fall, all of the health insurers in the state have confirmed that they support this decision. read more »

 

Union-represented professional and technical employees of Harrison Medical Center hold an informational picket outside the hospital in Bremerton on Feb. 19. Negotiations with Harrison for a new contract for nearly 800 workers began last July but have reached an impasse.There has never been a strike — and possibly never even the threat of one — by any of the union-represented groups of Harrison Medical Center employees, yet a disagreement over language relating to strikes is the primary reason for an impasse in contract negotiations with a group of nearly 800 employees.

Those workers in the “pro-tech” group — medical technicians and employees in a range of other hospital jobs — are represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21. read more »

 

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange began its final push before the March 31 signup deadline with a series of promotions targeting the younger demographic. The promotional outreach includes partnerships with hockey leagues and roller derby teams around the state, including Bremerton’s Slaughter County Roller Vixens.

“In order to break through and reach new audiences, we have to be in unexpected places,” said Michael Marchand, director of communications for Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “Ice hockey and roller derby bouts target our key demographic of young adults and families who may not be aware of the new opportunities that are available through our state.” read more »

 

One of the hottest buzzwords in health care is “big data” — the cure being touted for everything from bloated costs to disjointed patient care.

The promise is that the rising torrent of data on every diagnosis, treatment and medical bill can be analyzed to provide pinpoint patient care with less waste and more transparency.

But all this data won’t improve health care if the information is faulty or gets poorly interpreted — or becomes a substitute for quality patient interaction.

“We don’t want to just move garbage at the speed of light,” said Dr. Gary Kaplan, CEO of Virginia Mason. read more »

 
No fines for most employers until 2016 as firms pressure White House in wake of troubled rollout

Most employers won’t face a fine next year if they fail to offer workers health insurance, the Obama administration said Feb. 10, in the latest big delay of the health law rollout.

The Treasury Department, in regulations outlining the Affordable Care Act, said employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers won’t have to comply with the law’s requirement to provide insurance or pay a fee until 2016. Companies with more workers could avoid some penalties in 2015 if they showed they were offering coverage to at least 70 percent of full-time workers.

The move came after employers pressured the Obama administration to peel back the law’s insurance requirements. Some firms had trimmed workers’ hours to below 30 hours a week to avoid paying a penalty if they didn’t offer insurance. read more »

 
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