by Dr. Daniel Low
“I’ve never had a doctor ask,” he quipped. “Well, taxes are important, Mr. Jones,” I chuckled. Like many others, Mr. Jones had recently summoned the courage to come to his first clinic visit in nearly two years, previously avoiding the medical establishment as COVID-19 raged across the country. With so much time between our last visits, he was expecting questions about his diabetes management and colon cancer screening (which we covered), but whether he needed help filing taxes? That was not what he was expecting.
Continue reading OPINION: Wellness = Health + Financial Literacy
by Agueda Pacheco Flores
The annual free medical clinic that was formerly held at the Key Arena, before it was bought by Amazon and renamed to the Climate Pledge Arena, will not return in full this year.
The Seattle/King County Clinic, usually scheduled during the month of October, provided vision, dental, and general medical care to hundreds of patients who were either low-income, underinsured, or homeless.
Continue reading Annual Free Clinic at Climate Pledge Arena Canceled for Scheduled Concerts
by Sally James
On a recent tour of the new Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) in Othello, artist Ari Glass came to see his own colorful work inside.
Along with creating a multistory mural for the clinic, Glass is also a father whose 4-year-old son is a patient at the existing clinic on Yesler. The new site operated by Seattle Children’s will open gradually over several weeks, with the first patients arriving on March 7.
Continue reading Inside the New Othello Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic
by Agueda Pacheco Flores
When Nathan Yemane’s father passed away two years ago, his father’s hospice experience wasn’t good enough. “Clinically it was competent, but culturally it was not,” he said.
“They looked at his last name and didn’t think the family spoke good English,” said Yemane over a Zoom call. “I just want to point out there’s definitely cultural incompetence that occurred.”
Continue reading Washington’s First Black-Owned Hospice Agency Waits for State Approval
by Megan Burbank
When hospital systems merge, it can result in patients losing access to critical medical treatments, including reproductive health care and medical aid in dying. But a new bill introduced in this year’s legislative session offers a potential solution: a system of strengthened oversight and transparency that would require hospitals to spell out policies on these types of care before a merger is even approved.
Continue reading Stalled Bill Would Have Protected Reproductive Health When Hospitals Merge
And Is COVID Situated to Make That Scenario Even Worse?
by Liz Covey, LMHC
Nearly every day, therapists in private practice steel themselves for the inevitable: an email inbox that overflows with new patient requests from people who have been desperately looking for long weeks or months for an opening to begin to work on psychological issues or problems that are either long-standing or pandemic-related, or more commonly, both. Clients seeking to use their health insurance for therapy are likely to find themselves in a deadlock these days thanks to staffing shortages. If a potential client uses the state Medicaid program, Apple Health/Molina, the chance of finding an opening is even slimmer, since the amount of red tape plus lower pay mean even fewer therapists are available to these patients.
And if no one is available in-network, prospective clients will likely find themselves on the open market for therapy and can be startled by the price tag. Private pay therapy in Seattle in 2022 can cost between $100–$250 per session. Many therapists offer sliding fee scales, meaning that they reserve spots for lower-fee work, but these are limited so they can be even harder to find.
This has many today asking: Why does therapy cost so much? Let’s consider some of the factors that contribute to this high fee:
Continue reading Ask a Therapist: Why Is Therapy So Expensive?
by Amanda Ong
Ahmed Ali came to the New Holly neighborhood of southeast Seattle in 1998 with his family as Somalian refugees. Twenty years later, in 2018, Ali opened Othello Station Pharmacy in the very same neighborhood. It is one of the only independent, Black-owned pharmacies in Seattle. And unlike huge pharmacy chains, Othello Station Pharmacy offers a community approach and understanding to the labyrinth of the health care system.
“I managed a Walgreens for some time, and I just decided that I really wanted to do something different, because I saw a lot of disparities in access, availability, and resources for a large number of the Black population in southeast Seattle and south King County,” Ali said in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. “To actually reduce disparities when it comes to Black and Brown folks, I think the easiest and fastest way to actually address those issues is through community-owned health systems.”
Continue reading Community Care at Independent, Black-Owned Othello Station Pharmacy
by Sally James
The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) warned the public on Jan. 6 that rising cases of COVID-19, as well as staff shortages due to illness, are challenging the ability to provide care.
The group held a media event via livestream on Jan. 6. Later the same day, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) held a separate press event and explained how millions of home-testing kits for COVID-19 will be distributed beginning late next week.
Continue reading Hospitals, Medical Orgs Warn of Rising Crisis; Officials Promise Masks, Home COVID Tests
by Sally James
Nurses and other hospital-based workers joined union officials Dec. 13 to launch a lobbying effort aimed at creating minimum standards for staff numbers in hospitals.
In an emotional press conference by livestream, several workers shared their own experiences with covering gaps left by short staffing. There were staff shortages before the pandemic began, but the crucible of the outbreak made it worse. The project is called the Washington Safe and Healthy Campaign.
Continue reading Too Many Patients, Too Few Staff Members Create Unsafe Conditions, Unions Announce
by Amanda Ong
Community Action for Liberation Medics (CALM) is a street medic collective that has been in our streets since the summer of 2020, following George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent uprising. This October, CALM established a street medic hotline through which the community can contact them. The goal of the hotline is to support the extended community with medical and psychiatric decision-making.
Continue reading CALM Launches Medic Hotline to Provide Community Health Navigation