After months of concern that Harborview Medical Center was planning to close or relocate its primary-care clinics, officials Wednesday said the existing clinics would stay put. In December, Harborview clinic faculty and staff said they had been told that officials wanted to move primary-care clinics out of the hospital. The news prompted opposition by faculty and…More
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Eileen Whalen, a noted trauma-services expert who has served as executive director of Harborview Medical Center since 2008, has abruptly resigned. In a short memo to staff on Friday, Johnese Spisso, chief health system officer, UW Medicine, and vice president for medical affairs, University of Washington, said Whalen’s resignation became effective on Thursday. Spisso said she will…More
The Washington State Hospital Association, representing 98 hospitals around the state, has sued the state over new rules that add state scrutiny of hospital affiliations and mergers to a law that previously allowed the state to review only hospital “sales, purchase or lease” arrangements. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Thurston County Superior Court, asks the court to invalidate…More
The Seattle-based Polar Star, the Coast Guard’s only active heavy polar icebreaker, is on its way to the Antarctic to assist a Russian ship and a Chinese icebreaker reportedly stuck in thick ice. The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, which helped with the rescue of 52 passengers from the Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy earlier in the week, is…More
The horse may be out of the barn on this one, with most hospitals in Washington settled into mergers and affiliations with bigger systems — many of them Catholic, with the attendant restrictions on reproduction and end-of-life care. Even so, the state’s Department of Health has hatched new rules requiring that any hospital changing control in…More
Nobody doubts that when Dr. Maxine Hayes retires at the end of this year she’ll still be giving advice about how to avoid catching the flu.
“Wash your hands!” the state health officer is fond of saying at this time of year. For 16 years, Hayes has advised governors and secretaries of health not only on influenza outbreaks, but on a wide variety of public-health issues, including disease investigation, health promotion, chronic disease prevention, and emergency response.
“Maxine has served our agency, the people of our state, and the public-health system incredibly well and will be greatly missed,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman in a statement. “She’s well-known and admired on a national level, and we’re grateful to have had such a wonderful leader and champion of public health in our midst for all of these years.”
Dr. Kathy Lofy, an agency medical epidemiologist, will serve as acting state health officer beginning Jan. 1. As a consultant to the health department’s offices of communicable disease epidemiology and infectious disease, Lofy oversees influenza surveillance. She is the state’s former epidemic intelligence service officer and foodborne disease epidemiologist.More
A 70-year-old Alaskan pilot and charter-business owner convicted of alcohol importation could face a $1 million fine and jail time, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports. Ken Jouppi and his business, KenAir, were found guilty of turning a blind eye to the illegal alcohol carried in his Cessna 206 by a passenger flying to Beaver,…More
The Coast Guard evacuated an injured crew member Saturday morning from the commercial fishing vessel Jackpot west of Grays Harbor. The man had been knocked unconscious, the Coast Guard was told, when a block came apart and struck him in the head. After a federal observer aboard the fishing boat performed CPR, the crew member reportedly began breathing…More
A proposed affiliation between Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton and the Franciscan Health System will not be reviewed by the state and can move ahead, the Department of Health said Tuesday. The decision prompted criticism by the ACLU of Washington, which said the state is “abdicating its role as a watchdog for health care transactions,” because…More
Since Washington’s Death with Dignity Act took effect in March, 2009, the number of patients using it to acquire lethal medication, and the number of doctors prescribing it, has grown slowly but steadily. In 2010, the first full year for the law, which allows adult residents of Washington with six months or less to live…More