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Think Out Loud

Using Universal Screening And Assessment In Schools

After the shootings at Clackamas Town Center and the Sandy Hook massacre of 20 elementary school children, we've been exploring various responses and approaches to preventing such violence in the future. The idea of early assessment and intervention was an aspect of prevention that came up briefly in our show about getting mental health care to transition age youth (16 -24). The basic idea is that along with reading tests grade school kids get, there would also be a formal behavior evaluation. But what would that look like? Who would do it? How early would it start? What are the benefits? We'll ask those questions and more of Jeffrey Sprague, from the University of Oregon, one of the principal researchers in the area. And we'll check in with one of the early adopters of this idea in Corvallis to see how it's working there. 

Think Out Loud

Looking Back On 2012

It's been a big year in a lot of ways. There was the presidential election and the London Olympics, but there was also a lot going on in our neck of the woods. Oregon saw its biggest wildfire in almost 150 years. We dealt with a mass shooting in our own back yard and felt the aftermath of shootings in other parts of the country.  Oregonians began implementing changes to the healthcare system by setting up some of the first Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs). And we saw some new things happening on the individual level as well. Portland author Cheryl Strayed, for example, had a great year. She had not one, but two, books on the New York Times bestseller list: her memoir Wild and a collection of her "Dear Sugar" columns called Tiny Beautiful Things.

Think Out Loud

Are Violent Video Games Related to Violence in Real Life?

In the wake of the recent shootings at the Clackamas Town Center and Sandy Hook Elementary School, we're looking into some of the potential ways to prevent such tragedies in the future. We've discussed security in schools, mental health resources for parents and kids, gun laws and, most recently, mental health care available to "transition age youth." Next we will explore whether or not there is a relationship between violent video games and violence in the real world. As the national conversation around gun violence progresses, video games have been cited as a contributing factor. But while some are blaming violent video games, others assert that there is no link between playing violent games and actually being violent. And while there seems to be agreement that violent behaviors are rarely spurred by a single factor, the role and weight of each factor, including violent video games, is still being debated.

Think Out Loud

Oregon Hospital Rankings

The August issue of Consumer Reports has ranked Salem Hospital as the safest hospital in Oregon. The hospital was given a composite score of 63 out of 100 in six categories that measured everything from radiation use to mortality rates. The hospital shined particularly when it came to infection-prevention across departments.  Dr. John Santas, the director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, told us Oregon hospitals on average did better than hospitals nationally. Hospitals across the country had an average score of 49. But he also says hospitals in Oregon and around the country have a lot of work to do when it comes to communicating with patients about new medicaitons and discharge policies.  He attributes Oregon's above-average score in part to the state's laws requiring hospitals to be transparent about infection rates and other data. 

Think Out Loud

Our Town: Roseburg

Roseburg, Oregon is a city of 21,790 in the southwestern part of the state. It's within 100 miles of three of the state's national forests, which is why its history is so closely entwined with the that of the timber industry. After World War II, Roseburg was known as the Timber Capitol of the Nation, due to the abundance of Douglas Fir lumber produced in and around the small city. The spike in demand for housing, and lumber to build it, also made way for the philanthropy that still continues in Roseburg today. Family-owned timber companies still employ many Roseburg residents, but these businesses are no longer the backbone of the community they once were. The recession has been particularly rough for the industry, especially due to the decline in home-building. The choices students are making about what to study at Umpqua Community College (UCC) are a good indicator of what's next for this town. Healthcare, particularly nursing, is a popular field and there's a brand new addition to the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at UCC. The program offers a one-year certificate and an associate's degree. Both paths teach students how to cultivate grapes and how to make them into wine. The local wine industry has experienced a recent growth spurt, but it also has a rich history in the region, which has always been home to fertile farmland. We've put together a companion website for the Our Town series. Head over there to check out our interactive map,  which includes interviews and photographs of the people and places of Roseburg. Here are some photos from our live show at Joe Monkey:

Think Out Loud

Circumcision Decisions

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement Monday that has reignited the debate over whether or not boys should be circumcised. The AAP stopped short of a blanket recommendation on whether or not to remove the foreskin from the tip of the penis, saying the decision should be left to parents. The academy did say the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. According to the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, 55-56 percent (PDF) of newborn American males were circumcised in 2009 (the most recent year for which numbers were available). That rate is even lower in the western United States and the practice has been on the decline nationwide. Some adament detractors protested outside of an AAP chapter office after the academy announced released their statement. In Oregon, arguments over circumcision flared up a few years ago when a custody case evolved into a legal battle over whether or not a 12-year-old boy should be circumcised.

Think Out Loud

Health Care Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Since the arguments three months ago, there has been much speculation about how the ruling could turn out and what that would mean for ordinary Americans as well as presidential candidates. The ruling is far from simple, but the individual mandate that was at the heart of the challenge to the law, has been upheld. The court ruled that the requiring individuals to purchase healthcare or pay a penalty fine is constitutional if it is treated as a tax.

Think Out Loud

Supreme Court Hears Health Care Challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the Obama administration's health care overhaul. Lower courts around the country have heard the case and decided different ways, with the 11th Circuit Court finding it unconstitutional. The high court will take up the 11th Circuit's decision. In a remarkable move, the Supreme court scheduled five and a half hours (instead of the usual one hour) for the arguments in March. Before the Supreme Court term began, we discussed the possibility of the case being heard with law professor and Supreme Court watcher, Lisa McElroy. Now that the justices have indeed taken the case, we'll check back in with her about the specific issues they'll be looking at and the impact their ruling — one way or the other — is expected to have.

Think Out Loud

Ron Wyden's Medicare Overhaul

We haven't seen too many bipartisan efforts in the last few months in the rancorous world of national politics — especially for an issue as polarizing as healthcare. But then, on Wednesday, here come Oregon senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat, and Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, a Republican, with a plan to overhaul Medicare. The proposal is based on an idea called "premium support," which basically means that Medicare money would subsidize premiums being paid to private insurers. (Seniors would also be able to stick with the traditional fee-for-service model.)  The other big part of the plan: the growth of Medicare would be capped, and would have to grow at about the same rate as the economy.

Think Out Loud

Candidate Conversation: Portland City Commissioner

We'll talk with the two leading candidates for Portland City Commissioner Position No. 1: incumbent Amanda Fritz and challenger Mary Nolan. Fritz has held the job since 2008. Nolan has spent the last 12 years in the state legislature. They've both made efforts to highlight their leadership in local government during the campaign. Nolan focused on education and healthcare as a state representative from SW Portland. She was also majority leader for the House Democrats. Before being elected to the legislature, she served as head of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services and co-founded a GPS technology business. She's been criticized for her blunt communication style. Nolan is originally from Chicago. She moved to Portland in 1976. Fritz heads up the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the relatively new Office of Equity and Human Rights, among other bureaus. She also championed a cheaper way to comply with the EPA regulation requiring Portland to treat its water, a move that's in line with her image as a fiscal watchdog. Fritz has faced some criticism over the Office of Equity, which has a $1 million budget and not much to show for it yet. She has a background as a nurse and a neighborhood activist. She's originally from Yorkshire, England and she moved to Portland from New York in 1986. Fritz successfully used the city's public financing system when she was first elected. This time around, even though that system is no longer in place, she's imposing a $50 limit on individual campaign donations and she's not accepting donations from PACs or corporations. Nolan, who began fundraising last summer and has not set donation limits, has raised far more than Fritz at this point.

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Results for OPB

Health | News

The Lund Report: Dr. Robert Dannenhoffer Could Become Next OHA Leader

Everyone’s lips were sealed about who’ll be tapped as the next director of the Oregon Health Authority when 1,300 people gathered at the Oregon Convention Center on Wednesday for a conference on improving healthcare innovation.

Health | Politics | local | News

State Hopes Oregonians Re-enroll By Insurance Deadline

Oregonians who want to keep their Affordable Care Act insurance running without interruption, have one more week to sign up with healthcare.gov.

News | local | Education

Portland College Scores High For Graduates' Earning Potential

New college rankings from the Brookings Institution are shining a light on a lesser-known Portland college. Concorde Career College runs healthcare preparation programs at 16 locations across the country.

Politics | News | Gov. Kitzhaber Resigns In Wake Of Ethics Scandal

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's Legacy

In light of the governor's resignation, we sat down with political analyst Jim Moore to discuss the legacy and work left in four major political areas, healthcare, environment, education and business.

Health | Politics | local | News

How This Subsidiary Produces A Fundraising Gold Mine For Oregon Hospitals

Earlier this month, an obscure company known as Oregon Healthcare Enterprises donated $400,000 to the Oregon Hospital Political Action Committee.  

Health

Worlds Without Pain: Virtual Reality

Oregon's largest healthcare providers see both promise and challenges in virtual reality as a non-opioid treatment for pain.

Health | local | News

Federal Health Care Premiums Drop For Oregonians With Subsidies

Oregonians who bought insurance at HealthCare.gov this year and qualified for a subsidy have an average net premium of $138 per month. That's a reduction from last year.

Roseburg VA Director Reassigned To Facility In West Virginia

Doug Paxton, who served as director of the Roseburg VA Healthcare System, has been reassigned as assistant director at the Huntington VA Medical Center in West Virginia. 

Health | local | News

After Director's Resignation, More Leadership Changes At OHA

More leadership changes are coming for the Oregon Health Authority after newspaper reports uncovered a communications plan to discredit a Portland healthcare provider.

Health | local | News

Individual Oregonians' Health Insurance Rates May Increase By Nearly 22 Percent Next Year

Individual Oregonians who buy health insurance through Healthcare.gov may see rates jump by nearly 22 percent next year.

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