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HealthCare Checkup

The Seattle Times health-care team tracks the local impact of the Affordable Care Act.

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Carol M. Ostrom.

July 29, 2014 at 8:20 AM

King County Public Health chief stepping down

Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King  County, has resigned, effective Aug. 11. In a statement, Fleming, 60, said his “personal plans and needs” don’t allow him to make the long-term leadership commitment the agency now requires. Fleming, who has led Public Health for seven years, recently endured severe budget…

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Comments | More in General News | Topics: Fleming, Health Department, resign

July 22, 2014 at 8:45 PM

PeaceHealth stops affiliation plans in Snohomish and Skagit counties

PeaceHealth, a Catholic health-care system, has delayed indefinitely its planned affiliations with small hospitals in Snohomish and Skagit counties, citing higher-than-expected costs in the effort to roll out a medical information-technology system. Nancy Steiger, PeaceHealth CEO and chief mission officer for its Northwest network, said PeaceHealth could not make a final commitment at this time to Cascade Valley…

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Comments | Topics: Cascade Valley Hospital, Nancy Steiger, PeaceHealth

July 18, 2014 at 6:23 AM

Hospital union: Why offer workers 1 percent raise, while CEO gets 18 percent?

Union members at EvergreenHealth medical center Thursday highlighted the comparison between the 1 percent pay raise they say the Kirkland hospital is offering them versus the 18 percent raise received by the CEO of the public hospital district facility last year. The informational picket and rally was held by SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, which represents Evergreen’s cooks, nursing assistants, lab techs,…

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Comments | Topics: EvergreenHealth, executive compensation, pay raises

July 17, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Lawmakers quiz health insurance exchange on glitches, budget

Lawmakers grilled officials from Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange Thursday, making it clear they’ve heard plenty from constituents who say they’ve paid their premiums but still don’t have health coverage — in most cases because premiums, which they paid to the exchange, aren’t getting to the insurer. “We’ve all heard a lot,” said Rep. Eileen…

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Comments | Topics: Healthplanfinder, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

July 16, 2014 at 9:52 PM

Plenty of room to improve, says report rating health plans

Group Health Cooperative was the overall top-scoring health plan among five graded by the Washington Health Alliance, a collaborative of employers and others working to improve health-care transparency through measurement. What does the Alliance measure in its eValue8 report? For an insurance plan, it looks at processes aimed at ensuring patient safety, closing gaps in…

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Comments | Topics: Group Health Cooperative, Premera Blue Cross, Washington Health Alliance

June 12, 2014 at 7:30 AM

Enrollment surge reduces state’s uninsured by more than 370,000

This year, more people bought individual plans outside the Washington Health Benefit Exchange than inside, for a total of more than 327,000 plans sold during open enrollment. In the latest number-crunching exercise, analysts from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) found that 79,000 more people are enrolled in individual insurance now than in 2013. Overall —…

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Comments | Topics: enrollment, Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

June 11, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Insurers want judge’s decisions thrown out

Two insurers involved in a case that suddenly ground to a halt after intrigue and the precipitous removal of the judge handling it are demanding that the case start over from scratch. In a motion filed Wednesday, Premera Blue Cross argued that the “extraordinary set of circumstances” surrounding the removal of Chief Presiding Officer Patricia Petersen, the…

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Comments | Topics: BridgeSpan Health Company, ex parte, Office of the Insurance Commissioner

June 4, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Beleaguered insurance judge to speak at upcoming Senate session

Patricia Petersen, recently suspended as the state insurance office’s chief hearings officer, will break her silence to speak at a Senate work session later this month. Her lawyer, Phil Talmadge, a former state Supreme Court justice who as a state legislator helped create a state office for administrative hearings, said she will speak about judicial independence,…

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Comments | Topics: Jim Odiorne, Mike Kreidler, Office of the Insurance Commissioner

May 24, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Harrison may close Bremerton hospital, move to Silverdale

Harrison Medical Center is considering closing its inpatient hospital services in Bremerton and moving them to nearby Silverdale, officials from Harrison and Franciscan Health System announced Friday. In announcing the potential move, hospital leaders pointed to the need to cut costs, and singled out changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, an aging population and requirements of…

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Comments | Topics: Bremerton, Franciscan Health System, Harrison Medical Center

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