April 16 is designated National Healthcare Decisions Day

The National Healthcare Decisions Day Initiative is a collaborative effort of national, state and community organizations committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity in the United States have the information and opportunity to communicate and document their healthcare decisions. The objectives of NHDD are to provide much-needed information to the public, reduce the number of tragedies that occur when a person’s wishes are unknown, and improve the ability of healthcare facilities and providers to offer informed and thoughtful guidance about advance healthcare planning to their patients.

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SHIBA works

Thursday, April 6, Todd Dixon and Stella Ng from the Washington Insurance Commissioner’s Office met with twelve volunteer insurance counselors from San Juan and Skagit counties to review SHIBA (Statewide Health Insurance Benefit Advisors) program success and present service awards. Island Hospital, the area program contractor, hosted the breakfast meeting as part of the regular monthly update training session for volunteers.

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How to protect yourself from CO poisoning

Carbon monoxide detectors are the best way to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning. According to the Center for Disease Control: CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.

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Hospital Board dismisses complaint about members' ethics

Michelle Loftus and Megan Vivenzio filed a "Formal Complaint of Violation of San Juan Public Hospital District Code of Ethics" against three commissioners - Monica Harrington, Bill Williams and Barbara Sharp. The five-member PHD board consulted with its attorney during an executive session Wednesday, March 22, 2017 and then discussed the matter during their regular meeting. The board voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint citing its lack of merit due to erroneous statements. 

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Tips on avoiding hantavirus

Two cases of hantavirus in King County, one fatal, serve as a reminder to be careful when opening up closed cabins, working in crawl spaces, and dealing with rodent infestations in engines. Hantavirus can cause a rare but deadly disease called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS). In Washington State hantavirus is carried primarily by deer mice. In Washington state it is not carried by rats. 

White-footed deer mouse is native to the San Juan Islands.  Photo from kwiaht.org

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Murray, Cantwell deliver warning to Speaker Ryan, House Republicans: We're Not Going to Help You Erode Health Care Coverage

WASHINGTON, DC – As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined 40 of their Senate colleagues in sending a letter today to House Speaker Paul Ryan warning that he will not have their support for legislation to eliminate essential health benefits and consumer protections as outlined in the Speaker’s “three phase” plan of repealing the ACA.

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CBO Report: 21 million more uninsured by 2020, 24 million by 2026 if Trumpcare enacted

The Congressional Budget Office released its estimates of the cost of the American Health Care Act - also know as Trumpcare or Ryancare on March 13, 2017. An estimated 24 million people who are currently insured under the Affordable Care Act - Obamacare - would be uninsured by 2026. That would bring the total of uninsured citizens to 52 million.

In San Juan County, 13.4 percent of residents are on medicaid and 7.8 percent are uninsured. The county's percentage of population on medicaid is the lowest in the state. Almost half of the county's population 48.9 percent are on private insurance and 29.9 percent are on medicare. The medicare percentage comes in second in the state behind Jefferson County which has 32.2 percent of its population on medicare. 

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