health care

Bret Bowers/Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Spokane is on the front lines of rolling out a new electronic medical records system for veterans’ health care.

This week, two officials from the Veterans’ Administration are at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, training staff how to use the new system. Agency officials believe it will help veterans and active duty service members better navigate multiple health care systems.


A number of health care providers in Washington are coming together to ensure they are prepared to deal with climate change and its impact on patients.

The Washington Health Care Climate Alliance includes eight health care systems statewide that represent 40 hospitals.


Today on the Inland Journal podcast, seeing your doctor isn’t always a face-to-face exercise anymore.

More and more, clinics and hospitals are using communications technology to administer care to patients. Rural hospitals, for example, use video chats to connect patients with specialists in bigger cities. And now, on the individual level, IT firms have created apps for clinics to allow providers and patients to text back and forth or even conduct video chats.

One of the latest to get into that arena is MultiCare, the company that owns Spokane’s Deaconess and Valley Hospitals and Indigo Urgent Care.

Providence Health Care

Today on the Inland Journal podcast, we talk with the head of the Providence Health Care system in Spokane. Elaine Couture is the executive vice president for Providence in Washington and Montana.

Washington Sues To Stop Federal "Conscience" Rules

May 28, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Washington attorney general’s office today [Tuesday] sued the federal government to stop the enforcement of so-called “conscience” rules for health care providers. The lawsuit was filed in Spokane.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Monday on the Inland Journal podcast, to Olympia we go to talk about health care bills and a proposal to move Washington to Daylight Saving Time on a permanent basis. We’ll talk with a University of Washington law professor who is a big supporter of that idea. And we talk with a Spokane youth counselor who sponsored a fun run last Saturday to draw attention to the needs of teens and young adults.

WSU Clinic Treats Pets And Their Owners

Feb 25, 2019
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

When pet owners take their animals to the vet, it’s not often they can also get care for themselves. But Washington State University has introduced a “Healthy People, Healthy Pets” clinic that allows animal owners to take care of two things at once at no cost. The latest day was Friday.

Community Health Plan of Washington

A Washington health care company says it has created a health plan that consolidates care for people with complex medical conditions. Community Health Plan of Washington's program is called Whole Person Care and it is aimed at Medicaid patients.


Democrats in the Washington state Senate have chosen Andy Billig as the new Senate majority leader. 

Billig has been in the state Senate since 2010, and served as minority whip, deputy minority and deputy majority leader. He says being majority leader should put him a good place to work on issues important to Spokane.

WA Governor Signs Pacific Islander Health Bill

Mar 22, 2018
Doug Nadvornick/SPR/TVW

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law a bill that could help thousands of low-income residents, including several hundred from Spokane, buy health care.

Health care is a complicated topic. Even though the Affordable Care Act remains in place, changes in policy at the federal level mean its future is uncertain.

Living in the Health Care Maze Resources

Mar 19, 2018

For additional information visit:

Steve Jackson Previews SPR Health Care Forum

Mar 15, 2018

Doug Nadvornick/SPR/TVW

The Washington Senate today (Thursday) approved a bill that would help residents of Pacific Island descent, including several hundred in Spokane, gain easier access to state-subsidized health care.

Inland Journal, Dec. 21, 2017

Dec 21, 2017

Inland Journal for December 14, 2017

This week on Inland Journal:

    ▪    The Spokane City Council has approved a campaign finance ordinance that will govern campaign contributions in city races. We’ll hear some of the testimony from Monday night’s hearing.
    ▪    The Washington legislature will again be asked to approve more money for schools during its next session. We’ll get a short lesson about school funding from state school superintendent Chris Reykdal.
    ▪    And we’ll hear about efforts to ensure low-income members of Spokane’s Marshallese community can access subsidized health care.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

One of Spokane’s largest ethnic communities comes from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are located near the Equator between Hawaii and the Philippines.  

For thousands of years, the Marshallese people have had their own culture and traditions. But because of the islands’ perceived strategic importance, the Japanese military occupied them during World War II. When the Japanese surrendered, the U.S. took possession and immediately found a use for them.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

WEB SPECIAL: Excerpts from Greater Spokane Incorporated's annual legislative forum.

Moderator: GSI State Lobbyist Jim Hedrick

Panelists: Sen. Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville); Rep. Larry Springer (D-Kirkland); Rep. Mike Volz (R-Spokane); Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane)

Topics: K-12 education/McCleary decision; Water rights/Hirst decision; paid sick leave; sexual harassment; carbon tax/business climate; gas tax/pay per mile; health care costs

Inland Journal, August 3, 2017

Aug 3, 2017

Inland Journal for August 3, 2017

    ▪    We’ll recap Tuesday’s primary election in Washington. We’ll talk about which candidates will move on to the November general election and hear from some of the victors.
    ▪    We’ll talk with Luke Mayville, one of the founders of Reclaim Idaho, a group that wants to rebuild the middle class in the Gem State, including making health care more available for affordable for working families.
    ▪    And we’ll profile a new group that calls itself ‘Growing Neighbors’ in Spokane that’s promoting urban gardening and neighbors getting to know each other.

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has been looking at the numerous changes called for in the US Senate proposal on replacing the Affordable Care Act. His first concern, is the gradual reduction in the amount of money states receive from the federal government to pay for Medicaid. Kreidler says the plan calls for ninety percent funding until 2020, at which time it begins to be reduced until finally hitting just fifty percent.

Those who run the state of Washington’s community based health clinics are worried what the passage of the US Senate proposed health reform plan would mean.

Inland Journal, May 11, 2017

May 11, 2017

Inland Journal for May 11, 2017

    ▪    Health Care town hall meeting in Spokane Tuesday night; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was not there
    ▪    Hangman Creek research project
    ▪    Spokane Navy Week in conjunction with Lilac Festival Week
    ▪    Refugees run in Bloomsday and celebrate downtown

Photo courtesy of

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has misgivings about the republican’s American Health Care Act, which is being discussed in committee hearings.

Kreidler told SPR yesterday that removing the individual mandate that requires citizens to have medical insurance is likely to cause a chain reaction where healthy people pull out of insurance plans, and the premiums skyrocket.

(quote in audio file)

Kreidler says despite claims by republicans that Obamacare itself was in a death spiral, that has not been the case in Washington State.

The Republican-led House of Representatives has released more details of its replacement for President Obamas Affordable Care Act.  Opinions are mixed, depending who you talk to.

Among the key provisions, the Republican “American Health Care Act” would eliminate the individual mandate that requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

Four Agencies Receive New Health Care Grants

Dec 13, 2016

The Health Sciences and Services Authority of Spokane County has given new grants to four local organizations that provide healthcare services to underserved populations.

The agency has two missions. One is to invest in local health sciences research with the goal of developing that sector of the region’s economy. The second is to provide funds to local agencies that tend to the needs of people who can’t afford health care. During the last seven years HSSA has provided more than $1.5 million to do that. This year, the agency has given $300,000, spreading it among four agencies.

The open enrollment period for Medicare coverage ends December 7th. For many seniors, it’s an opportunity to review their current coverage, and for those turning 65, it’s time to decide what coverage you will need for the next year.

The current Medicare options are somewhat confusing to those not familiar with the system. The original Medicare offering began in 1966. It’s run by the US Government, and uses about 30–50 private insurance companies across the United States under contract for administration.

David Goehring via flickr

The period for signing up or renewing health insurance policies has begun through the Washington health plan. While some may see their premiums increase slightly, there may be sticker shock for some enrollees.

Three thousand or more people will get access to medical, dental, or eye care next week at no cost. An organization called Your Best Pathway to Health is bringing a mega-clinic to the fairgrounds Monday and Tuesday.

The Spokane city council shared initial renderings of a sick leave policy last week on the city website. Next week, they invite the public to a meeting on the proposal. The majority of city council members back the idea, but at least one (Mike Fagan) is voicing concern.

Spokane Public Radio

The non profit community health centers of Washington are concerned about the latest action by state lawmakers dealing with money from marijuana sales in the state. Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana, mandated that 5 percent of tax revenues from pot sales go to non profit community health centers in the state.

Mike Kreidler
Washington State Insurance Commissioner

This week marks the fifth year of the Affordable Care Act. This week the office of Insurance Commissioner released figures that tout the success of the Affordable Care Act. Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says the program has been an overwhelming success in the state.