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August 24, 2013 at 3:50 PM
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, a community in Northwestern Alaska that has passed laws banning the sale of alcohol. In such “dry” communities, a 750-milliliter bottle can bring up to $250.
Prosecutors said Jouppi’s actions amounted to willful ignorance of the communities’ alcohol ban. The conviction, for misdemeanor alcohol importation, could bring a fine of between $200,000 and $1 million because the Alaska Legislature recently increased penalties for corporations convicted of crimes, according to prosecutor Gustaf Olson with the Alaska Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals.
August 24, 2013 at 1:25 PM
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 again but did not regain consciousness.
The rescue, before 7:30 a.m., involved a Coast Guard 47-foot motorboat crew from Westport and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Astoria. The man was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, where his condition was unknown.
August 6, 2013 at 7:32 PM
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 of restrictions on access to legal reproductive and end-of-life options imposed by Franciscan, a Catholic health-care system.
“The proposed affiliation will have significant impacts on patient access to lawful health care and is precisely the type of transaction which should undergo government review,” the ACLU said in a statement.
Harrison officials earlier this year said the medical center would remain “secular” but would be governed by the ethical standards of Catholic Health Initiatives, Franciscan’s national parent company. However, the affiliation proposal calls for a holding company to ensure that Harrison remains secular.
The proposed arrangement, whose final details were not spelled out Tuesday, was announced in October, 2012, and is the latest in a string of partnership proposals between secular and religious health-care systems.
In late June, Gov. Jay Inslee directed the Department of Health to update rules for its Certificate of Need process, which governs major changes to hospitals, saying it should focus on how such transactions affect patient access to health services, not on the wording used by the parties for their affiliations.
June 20, 2013 at 6:14 PM
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 to request lethal doses of medication from doctors, 87 patients filled the prescriptions, written by 68 different doctors.
Last year, 121 people filled the prescriptions, which were written by 87 different doctors, according to the annual report released Thursday by the state Department of Health.
As has consistently been true throughout the years, the vast majority of the patients had cancer, were white, non-Hispanic, had at least some college education, and had private or public insurance. Nearly all reported to their doctors concerns about loss of autonomy and dignity.
Dr. Tom Preston, a retired cardiologist who has written several books about assisted dying, said he is disappointed that more doctors aren’t prescribing for their patients. As he does in his books, Preston advises patients to talk to their doctors early in their disease process, because many patients wait too long.
The law requires a series of steps and waiting periods, including forms patients and doctors must complete and which must be filed with health department, which monitors compliance with the law.
June 17, 2013 at 4:21 PM
Need help managing challenging dementia-related situations while caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other memory-impairing disease? Experts from Emeritus Senior Living are holding a live chat Tuesday morning, offering candid tips for the challenges now faced by some 15 million caregivers.
Topics include how to diminish wandering, agitation, aggression, and inappropriate sexual verbal and physical behavior, as well as tips for overcoming resistance to the chores of daily living such as eating and bathing, handling continence issues and communicating with someone who doesn’t know who you are.
The chat, featuring Diana Engle, Emeritus’ memory care training specialist, will begin at 11 a.m. Tuesday. To register, go to the Live Chat link on the home page of www.emeritus.com, and enter the meeting room 15 minutes before the event begins. Questions may be submitted online during the chat, or in advance at Live.Chat@emeritus.com.
June 13, 2013 at 5:27 PM
The King County Board of Health may take action next week to enact a proposal to require drug companies whose medications are used in King County to finance and provide a secure medicine-return system.
The proposed program would be the second such system in the country. It would affect manufacturers of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs for residential use, and would add an estimated 2 cents per prescription, the board of health said. Public Health – Seattle & King County would oversee the return system, which would rely primarily on secure drop boxes at retail pharmacies and law-enforcement offices. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) has opposed such efforts.
The board, which will convene at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, in the Metropolitan King County Council Chambers on the 10th floor of the Courthouse at 516 Third Ave. in Seattle, will take public testimony after an executive session, which is expected to last about 30 minutes.
Written comments can be submitted in writing or to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/BOH.aspx.
May 31, 2013 at 11:49 AM
The ACLU of Washington and 10 other advocacy organizations have asked Gov. Jay Inslee to enact a six-month moratorium on state approvals of hospital mergers, saying religious-secular affiliations put patients at risk of being denied legal health services because of Catholic religious restrictions.
Recently, the state Department of Health, through its Certificate of Need program, approved an application by PeaceHealth, a Catholic health system founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, to lease and operate United General Hospital, owned by a tax-supported public hospital district in Sedro Woolley, Skagit County.
In its evaluation, the state noted that the proposed arrangement had drawn criticism from those concerned about access to women’s reproductive services and end-of-life care options. But the state said that under the status quo the hospital was in danger of having to close, and it did not expect the lease-operation agreement to close any existing services.
The arrangement is the latest in a string of affiliations between secular and Catholic hospital systems in Washington.
The ACLU letter to to Inslee cites “serious state constitutional concerns when public, tax-funded hospitals consolidate with religious health care corporations,” sometimes with arrangements that include long-term taxpayer subsidies going to religious health-care corporations.
Jason McGill, Inslee’s executive policy advisor, said: “The Governor does want to protect women’s access to reproductive services and ensure that we have a competitive health care environment, so he is concerned about some of the allegations.”
Inslee has asked staff to research “all available options” that will help ensure all Washingtonians maintain access to all health care services, from reproductive care to end-of life-services, said Jaime Smith, Inslee spokesman. “The options we’re looking into include the moratorium.”
May 20, 2013 at 3:35 PM
Small care packages and home safety checks for senior veterans are a Memorial Day present from Emeritus Senior Living, the large Seattle-based company announced, with a request for people to recommend a senior veteran or veteran spouse for the “Heroes Emeritus” program.
The care packages will include nightlights, first-aid kits, medication management containers, healthy snacks, water bottles and other items the company said it hopes will make a senior’s daily life and home more secure.
Emeritus team delivery people will also perform a home safety check to identify potential hazards. Veterans and spouses “have done so much to keep our nation safe,” said Chris Hyatt, Emeritus executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We would like to do what we can to help keep these heroes safe in their senior years.”
May 15, 2013 at 2:10 PM
Actress Angelina Jolie made the decision to undergo preventive double mastectomy, but for most women, early testing and detection of breast cancer is the way to drastically reduce their chances of dying of the disease. To ensure that more women can get that screening, Komen Puget Sound announced Wednesday it was awarding a total of $1.6 million to local organizations that provide services to low-income and uninsured women around Puget Sound.
The largest grant, $953,766, will go to the Washington State Department of Health’s Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnostic Program, which provides mammograms and diagnostic services to nearly 10,000 low-income women in the region.
Other grantees include Cancer Lifeline, Franciscan Foundation, International Community Health Services and seven other local organizations.
April 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM
At least $7.3 million in accounts receivable and deferred revenues should have been counted in annual financial statements by Public Health — Seattle & King County, according to Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley.
Accounts receivable were misreported in the annual financial statements, Kelley said in a report issued last week, and the health department underreported deferred revenue from federal and state sources.
In response, the health department said complex medical billing rules required it to account for receivables in a way that overstates what will be received. For example, Medicaid managed-care plans pay the health department a fixed amount for each patient. At the same, Medicaid requires the health department to itemize charges for each medical service it provided.
The itemized charges “are not billable and will never be paid,” given the fixed-payment agreement, said James Apa, health department spokesman. On paper, the practice results in an overstatement of actual accounts receivable, he said.
On deferred revenue, Apa said the issue was not about any misuse of funds, but was a question of when payments should be reported — the year they were promised or the year they were received.
“Where the auditors differed with us was on what year they should be reflected as being earned in,” he said. “It doesn’t reflect that we have more or less money.”
The health department said it will use the auditor’s criteria in the future when accounting for deferred revenue from the sources in question, which are two of more than 100 revenue streams accounted for in the health department’s statements.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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