InHealth

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Living longer, slimming down and new Spokane options for dental care

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 4:20 PM

With new dental clinics opening in Spokane, emergency room visits due to dental distress will hopefully go down.
  • With new dental clinics opening in Spokane, emergency room visits due to dental distress will hopefully go down.

Tooth troubles
More than 3,600 people headed to local emergency rooms in 2015 to get help with dental pain. Most of those visits could have been avoided if better preventive and specialized care were more readily available. Unfortunately, many of the region’s Medicaid patients aren’t able to access dental treatment due to a provider shortage in the region.

That’s why Providence Health Care, CHAS Health and the Spokane District Dental Society are teaming up to open two new dental clinics, as well as offer up to six dental residency slots to train future specialty dentists. A large outpatient clinic will be situated near Providence Holy Family, while a smaller hospital-based clinic at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center will assist dental patients who have other medical issues, such as cardiac disease, cancer and dementia. Getting the clinics up and running will cost $5 million. They are expected to open next year.

Read more about how teeth affect your health here.

New high in life expectancy — but not in U.S.
How long will you live? If you are a woman in South Korea, a lot longer according to a new study published in the Lancet. For the first time, life expectancy for a population group has topped 90 years. The country is noted for investing in “childhood nutrition, education and technology, as well as low blood pressure, low levels of smoking and good access to health care.”

The United States had the lowest life span prediction among high-income countries, checking in at a little more than 83 years for women, and 79.5 for men.

Slim Down
Looking for some new ideas on how to lose weight? Healing Spokane will present a forum, “Weight Loss: Beyond the Ordinary Approach,” on February 28 from 6 to 7:30 pm at the WSU/EWU Auditorium at 668 N. Riverpoint Blvd. Healing Spokane is a group of healthcare providers, including doctors, as well as representatives from other fields including chiropractic, massage, naturopathy and acupuncture. The goal is to provide insights from complementary and integrative specialties about a variety of topics.
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

New issue's must-try soup recipes; plus, how deductibles affect your health

Posted By on Thu, Feb 9, 2017 at 11:14 AM

The new issue of InHealth features four great soup recipes from local chefs, perfect for a snow (or ice) day. Try this Italian Wedding Soup from Clover. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • The new issue of InHealth features four great soup recipes from local chefs, perfect for a snow (or ice) day. Try this Italian Wedding Soup from Clover.

New Issue!
Soup is the new "it" food and the new issue of InHealth is brimming with recipes from local chefs to spark your creativity. Explore bone broth — it can cook all week in your slow cooker. Or a fragrant Ginger Carrot Curry using ingredients you probably have in your pantry. What about a one-pot lentil chili? Or learn the secrets of Clover's Italian Wedding Soup. Bonus? It's packed with healing veggies. We’ve got you covered with four great recipes from local chefs in our brand new issue, online and on stands now!

What’s your health worth?
Would you go to the ER if you thought you were having heart problems? If you have a high-deductible insurance plan, new research shows you might forgo a visit to avoid paying thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Researchers monitored health care decisions after a Fortune 100 company moved 75,000 “well-paid, tech-savvy” employees into high-deductible plans. They found that the employees cut back on all types of healthcare spending, including preventive care, medication and imaging. Even after the company put $3,750 into a health savings account for each employee and provided web-based assistance to compare prices, a researcher says, “We found no evidence that consumers were learning to price-shop after two years of high-deductible coverage.”

InHealth covered the story of a local woman’s struggle with a high deductible insurance plan last year.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Starting a CoMotion, healthcare gender bias and Ross Printing's gift to Sacred Heart

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 2:24 PM

UW continues to increase its Spokane presence, now with an entrepreneur center called a CoMotion lab.
  • UW continues to increase its Spokane presence, now with an entrepreneur center called a CoMotion lab.

Create a commotion
The University of Washington has opened a “collaborative innovation hub” called a CoMotion lab in Spokane. The goal is to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the community by bringing the university’s substantial resources to bear. The Spokane center will likely emphasize health care, as well as robotics, agriculture and manufacturing. There are plans for an entrepreneurial speaker series, as well as providing mentoring and advising, all aimed at helping people with great ideas to turn their dreams into viable businesses. Three CoMotion labs already up and running in Seattle are responsible for 126 start-ups.

The center will be located at the UW Spokane Center in downtown Spokane.

Blind Advice
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For a variety of reasons researchers are still looking into, evidence shows women and minorities may not receive the same level of effective medical care as men. The bias appears to be accidental: doctors aren’t even aware they are treating patients differently. A new computerized checklist helped doctors at Johns Hopkins erase that gender-related bias, and saved women’s lives in the process.

Sick kids and stressed parents
Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital got a nice gift this week to assist parents who are grappling with a sick child. Ross Printing donated $35,000 to create the Ross Printing Pediatric Patient Emergency Fund. The fund will help cover “necessities such as groceries, utility bills, travel expenses, auto maintenance and essential home repairs for families with children being treated at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital.”

Ross Printing is a family-owned business founded in 1917.
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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Little-known snow facts, making life changes easy and a free fitness field trip with NFL stars

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 10:30 AM

The more pleasant side of snow — playing with your kids. - CHRISTIAN WILSON
  • Christian Wilson
  • The more pleasant side of snow — playing with your kids.

Not crazy about the snow?
After months of dealing with the white stuff, you may think you know snow. But here are some little-known facts. Pay attention to number 19.

Small Steps Lead to Big Things
InHealth lifestyle coach Dr. Robert Maurer
  • InHealth lifestyle coach Dr. Robert Maurer
InHealth's own life coach columnist, Dr. Robert Maurer, reported a milestone recently. His book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, made it onto Google's Top 100 books of year for 2016. So what is the Kaizen way?

Here's how Maurer explains it in the book's preface: "Contrary to popular opinion, change — whether personal or in in business — doesn’t have to be agonizingly painful. Nor must it happen only as the result of scare tactics employed to shock ourselves — or our colleagues — into meaningful action. The pages you are about to read will shatter the math that change is hard…This book will show you how to harness the power of kaizen: using small steps to accomplish large goals.”

Gridiron in the Classroom
The NFL is teaming up with the American Heart Association and Discovery Education to offer a "virtual fieldtrip" on January 31 for kids in American classrooms. The 60-minute, live-streamed class will feature NFL players and a cardiologist who will demonstrate the "science behind cardio and strength exercises that NFL players use throughout the season to stay fit and active." It's free!
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Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter health woes, glaucoma awareness month and more

Posted By on Fri, Jan 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM

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Winter Woes Are Upon Us

The research is in and it turns out cold weather is not that great for your health. While cold weather may make you less inclined to think violent thoughts, you are also less inclined to be kind and forgiving. Intimacy is out the window, but that might be okay since your skin is like sandpaper anyway. And just as the risk for falls and serious injury is real, so is the increased risk for getting sick with a cold or the flu.

Annoying optimists try to put a positive spin on it —“Cold weather reduces the number of tree-killing bugs!” “It’s great for sleeping!” But there’s really not much to like. Still, the days are getting longer and in just a few months your driveway may feature bare pavement again.

Blindsided 
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January is glaucoma awareness month and if you think you don’t have it, you may want to think again. The NIH reports that 50 percent of people who have glaucoma don’t know they have it. That’s because early on, there are no symptoms, just gradual damage to the optic nerve that eventually causes blindness. Only a doctor’s eye exam can rule out the disease.

If you’re over the age of 60 (or age 40 if African American), or have a family history of glaucoma, get screened. Early detection and treatment can save your vision.

Peanut Possibilities
Life-threatening reactions to peanuts (and school offices filled with epi-pens) may someday be a thing of the past. New research sheds light on how parents can help children avoid a peanut allergy simply by introducing peanuts into babies’ diets at a very young age.

Try Out Fitness
Now's the time to sign up to sample a workout class at Spokane Health and Fitness Expo. Here’s a chance to try something new— from KangooJumps to Bootcamp to Pound.Rockout.Workout. There’s no need to stick with a dull workout routine in 2017. Seminars are also offered on an array of nutrition topics, including how to make nut milks. $8 admission includes unlimited classes; Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, January 14-15.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Carrie Fisher's death inspires a heart-health checkup for women; plus, flex-spending and kid time

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 at 11:40 AM

Actress Carrie Fisher died this week after a heart attack.
  • Actress Carrie Fisher died this week after a heart attack.

Heartbroken

For Star Wars fans, the news of the death of Princess Leia, actress Carrie Fisher, at age 60 from a heart attack seemed astonishing. But here are some surprising facts from the Women’s Heart Foundation:
• 83,000 American women under the age of 65 have heart attacks each year
• Heart attacks account for a third of all deaths in women
• 71 percent of women experience early warning signs of heart attack with sudden onset of weakness that feels like the flu—often with no chest pain at all.

About the only good news? “Women’s hearts respond better than men’s to healthy lifestyle changes."

Flexible Spending account about to expire?
If you have set money aside in a flexible spending account to cover health care expenses, be aware that the time to use it is rapidly diminishing as the year draws to a close. On the upside, you might be surprised at all the things you can buy. Some require a doctor's note, but there are many things you can purchase without a note. So don’t waste that hard-earned cash, spend it!

Kid Time
Worried your kids aren’t make the most of their potential during this holiday break? Take a tip from the Danes, and let them play, unhindered by adult intervention. You’ll enjoy it, and so will they.
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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Joyful reading, healthy happiness and empowering patients

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2016 at 3:30 PM

The Dalai Lama and Archbish0p Desmond Tutu are featured in a new book that might be the perfect last-minute gift you need.
  • The Dalai Lama and Archbish0p Desmond Tutu are featured in a new book that might be the perfect last-minute gift you need.

Book of Joy

If you’re still short of a gift for someone impossible to buy for, consider the Book of Joy. The book recounts the rendezvous of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. From the silly to the sublime, the search for joy has made the book an Amazon No. 1 bestseller. Log on at the website to take the 30 day challenge — “micromissions” will be delivered to phones each day guide participants to find the “joy they desire.”

Does Happy Make Healthy?
Researchers want to know why happiness seems to correlate with health. In April, a “health and happiness” center opened at Harvard. Noting that American medicine is primarily focussed on disease, the new center’s mission is “to make discoveries that can inform personal behaviors, medical care, public health programs, and wide-ranging public policies not traditionally associated with health care and medicine but that can help people live longer, happier, and healthier lives.”

Penalties for Infection
As part of a Medicare emphasis aimed at decreasing hospital-acquired infections, three area hospitals are scheduled to lose 1 percent of all Medicare payments for the fiscal year that started in October 2016 and runs through September 2017. “Each year, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, including nearly a quarter million cases in hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 23,000 people die from them,” according to a December 21, 2016 Kaiser Health News story. Locally, Deaconess Medical Center, Providence Holy Family and Valley Hospital made the list of “769 Hospitals Penalized for Patient Safety.”

Read more about hospital safety in InHealth’s Empowered Patient series.
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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Divided doctors, Santa Express and not-so-merry mumps in Spokane County

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Tom Price, a controversial choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration.
  • Tom Price, a controversial choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration.

Just in time for the holidays…
Two new cases of mumps have been reported in Spokane County. The Spokane Regional Health District reports the affected 10-year-old and 20-year-old were fully immunized. The two new cases are not linked to four cases that occurred at Whitworth University earlier in the fall. 
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Mumps, which spreads easily and causes swelling of the cheeks and jaw, along with fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite, is generally mild in children but more serious in adults. Before 2016, the last reported mumps case in Spokane County was in 2009. There have been more than 70 cases statewide this year. Two doses of the MMR vaccine greatly reduce the likelihood of contracting the mumps, and the disease is usually milder in vaccinated individuals.

Doctors Divided
The American Medical Association offered a warmly supportive statement of support for Georgia Congressman Tom Price, nominated to head the Department of Health and Human Services. “Dr. Price has been a leader in the development of health policies to advance patient choice and market-based solutions as well as reduce excessive regulatory burdens that diminish time devoted to patient care and increase costs.”

But this week, more than 5700 practicing physicians signed a petition titled “The AMA does not speak for us.” Among other contentions, the petition states, “We believe that in issuing this statement of support for Dr. Price, the AMA has reneged on a fundamental pledge that we as physicians have taken — to protect and advance care for our patients.”

Kids shop to help kids
The Santa Express offers a chance for area children (ages 4-12) to purchase affordable gifts, with all the proceeds going to the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery. The nursery offers drop-off childcare for parents who are having trouble caring for their kids, whether from substance abuse, domestic violence, homelessness or just being "exhausted and worn out from the demands of parenting." Santa Express is open Monday through Friday until December 23 in the skywalk level at 707 W. Main; the phone number is 340-0479.
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Friday, December 9, 2016

Healthcare at risk, coding opportunities for kids and gingerbread build-off

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 2:30 PM

The annual Gingerbread Build-off at the Davenport on Sunday benefits Christ Kitchen's work providing work, training and fellowship for women in poverty.
  • The annual Gingerbread Build-off at the Davenport on Sunday benefits Christ Kitchen's work providing work, training and fellowship for women in poverty.

A Healthy Experience?
Big changes seem to be on the horizon for health care. There’s plenty of speculation about what Congress and a new president will do to the Affordable Care Act in the next year. But the Kaiser Health Foundation reports the secretary of Health and Human Services, an agency with a $1 trillion budget, has surprisingly broad powers to affect the health of every American all by himself. ‘“Virtually everything people do every day is impacted by the way the Department of Health and Human Services is run,” said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in the report. Tapped to head the department is Tom Price, a six-term Republican congressman from Georgia (a state currently ranked 46th in health cost, outcomes and access). If confirmed, Price could eliminate the ACA’s coverage of birth control at no additional cost, “water down” rules about tobacco products, and expand the scope of “conscience objections” by health care providers, among other things.

Get Coding
With the discouraging news that not only has life expectancy declined for the first time in decades, but also that kids today are much less likely to earn more than their parents, here’s a bright spot. Hour of Code encourages students of all ages to become familiar with computer programming. There are dozens of one-hour lessons to choose from. Though demand for programmers is subsiding from the red-hot trend of the early 2000s, median income for programmers was still more than $79K in 2015. But does money really buy happiness and health? Not always, but it doesn’t seem to hurt. According to a MacArthur Foundation Policy Brief, those living in more affluent neighborhoods enjoy better health and are happier.

Gingerbread House
Check out the annual gingerbread build-off on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm at the Davenport Grand Hotel. Watching the teams create their majestic works from lowly cookies and Royal Icing is free; build and take home your own creation for $7. Proceeds benefit Christ Kitchen, which provides work, training and fellowship for women in poverty.
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Friday, December 2, 2016

Healthier health insurance, cutting-edge radiology and new issue on the street

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Former EWU professor Larry Kraft, 91, is one of six local athletes profiled in the new issue of InHealth illustrating a workout/life balance.
  • Former EWU professor Larry Kraft, 91, is one of six local athletes profiled in the new issue of InHealth illustrating a workout/life balance.

InHealth new issue on stands now!
Six local athletes-who-work share the secrets of balancing a career and fitness.

Healthier Health Insurance
In spite of all the political fretting about health insurance, NPR reports that the number of Americans who report they are struggling to pay medical bills has "plummeted" — down by 22 percent in the last five years.

In Washington State, the health plan exchange is "thriving" according to a report by the Wakely Consulting Group. Each Dec. 1, state law requires a formal update on the health of the Washington Health Plan Exchange. This year's report showed the exchange has attracted more insurers, creating more competition and stabilizing rates. "We hope our experience informs federal discussions as we transition to a new administration seeking to repeal the ACA,” says the Exchange's CEO Pam MacEwan in a press release.

The Spokane Shriners Hospital opens a new radiology suite Friday.
  • The Spokane Shriners Hospital opens a new radiology suite Friday.

On the Down Low

The Shriners Hospital for Children in Spokane is cutting the ribbon today on a new radiology suite, with equipment designed to dramatically lower the dosage of radiation children receive from imaging. Shriner's new imaging system, unique in Washington state, can decrease radiation exposure by as much as 85 percent over the course of treatment.
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