Tanya Spoon examines children during one of her visits to Sierra Leone with Children of the Nations. (Courtesy Photo)Some people spend vacations traveling, others perhaps prefer to catch up on home remodeling or other projects. For many Kitsap medical providers, however, vacation time is an extension of their professional lives — helping others, only not as close to home.

Whether they are physicians, surgeons, dentists, nurses or medical technicians, these local professionals choose to spend their time doing pro bono medical work overseas. read more »


A greenhouse at the Martha & Mary Health and Rehab Center in Poulsbo is used for the hoticulture therapy program run by volunteer Joann Komedal, left, and Tracie Walthall, resident life services director. Komedal started the program when she worked at the care center more than 10 years ago, and she returned as a volunteer at Martha & Mary after she retired two years ago.Cleanliness is essential in a medical care facility, but patients enjoy getting their hands dirty at the Martha & Mary Health and Rehab Center.

They get the chance to do that — in a therapeutic way — with Joann Komedal, a volunteer who has returned to her roots.

When she went back to college later in life to get an associate’s degree in horticulture therapy at Edmonds Community College, she needed a place to put her knowledge and training to good use. read more »


Expecting that a significant number of people will turn to the library for information on the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, Kitsap Regional Library reference librarians are mobilizing to connect Kitsap residents with the resources they need to answer their questions about the new law.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange created in response to the Affordable Care Act becomes active Oct. 1. Most people will have until Jan. 1 to obtain qualifying health insurance, either through an employer, a government program, the private marketplace or through the exchange. U.S. citizens who do not obtain health care coverage for 2014 will pay a penalty on their 2015 federal income tax. read more »

Cover Story

Cover Story: For members, the doctor is inDr. Blain Crandell spent a year finding out what health care is like in another country. Now that he’s back, he still isn’t working in a family practice that’s typical of the U.S. medical system, but that suits him just fine.

He recently joined the Bainbridge Island practice that Dr. Gregory Keyes started 10 years ago, a clinic where patients get a lot more face time with the physicians and can even call their cell phones 24/7 if an urgent need arises after business hours.

Patients get what they pay for with Member Plus Family Health Care. What they pay for — in the form of an annual membership fee read more »


SEATTLE — Qliance Medical Management Inc. and Physician Care Direct (PCD) announced the nation’s first health insurance plan for Direct Primary Care, an increasingly popular model of flat-fee medical care. The offering wraps a proven insurance product around an innovative primary care platform — provided by multiple Puget Sound physician groups — to let employers better manage healthcare costs while benefiting patients and providers alike.

The Employer Health Ownership Plan (EHOP) is a healthcare purchasing strategy from PCD that combines Direct Primary Care with a method of providing self-insurance for small — and medium-size businesses. Currently, only large companies have deep enough pockets for self-insurance, which requires employers to have the cash to cover catastrophic losses but also lets them share in the savings when their workforce stays healthy and out of the hospital. read more »


A cheerful little girl named Chance will soon be ubiquitous in Washington state, reminding everyone just how unpredictable and terrifying life can be at times — especially without health insurance.

Chance is the new character created to promote the state’s health exchange, an online insurance marketplace call the Healthplanfinder.

In TV and web ads, she will personify the risk of going without health insurance. The videos will show people in everyday situations taking a chance with their health — including a snowboarder about to bail out on a jump and a woman who has a near miss in a raccoon attack.

In each case, Chance cheerfully plays a card game or rock, paper, scissors to determine their fate. Not unlike a character from “The Twilight Zone,” she can turn up any time, any place. read more »


OLYMPIA — Thousands of consumers who buy their own health insurance will soon receive letters from their insurance company telling them their old health plan is going away and that they will have to pick a new one. Knowing your rights and options will help you get the best plan to meet your needs.

All of the insurance companies selling individual health plans are replacing their current plans with plans that have these new consumer protections. They must give their policyholders a 90-day notice that outlines their options, including:

  • Buying a new plan from a different health insurer either directly or through the
  • Buying a new plan from your current health insurer either directly or through the

If you’ve received a notice from your insurer about picking a new plan and you do not take action, your insurer will automatically move you to the plan that most closely resembles what you currently have. This new plan could cost more, but it’s not your only option. read more »


The Orthopaedic Center at Harrison is hosting an orthopaedic health talk series entitled “Is it time?” The free seminars help attendees learn more about joint replacement and spinal surgery from surgeons, who will talk about treatment options and detail what to expect from both the surgery and the recovery process.

All health talks will be hosted at the newly opened Orthopaedic Center at Harrison in Silverdale, 1800 NW Myhre Road. The health talks will be held on the following dates read more »


All employers that are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), whether they offer health insurance coverage for their employees or not, are required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to send notice by Oct. 1 to all employees about the Health Insurance Marketplace in their state. Also, starting Oct. 1 all new employees must receive the notice when they are hired.

The Health Insurance Marketplace, known as a state’s health insurance exchange, is a centralized location to find and compare private health plan options and information about subsidies that may be available for qualifying purchasers. Coverage for individuals and employees of small businesses obtained through the insurance exchanges will take effect Jan.1, 2014. read more »

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