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slides: The 14 Biggest Health Stories of 2014

Friday, December 26, 2014


From groundbreaking medical discoveries by researchers, to studies that may change the way we look at maintaining our health - 2014 was a historic year for health in Oregon. 

Cities in Oregon were named as the be the best places to become healthy, while the state itself received unsatisfactory marks for emergency room times, mental health and elder care. 

There were a few stories that may surprise you.

This is Oregon healthcare news that you need to know - a snapshot of the year in health.

GoLocalPDX retraces the healthcare narrative of 2014.


Related Slideshow: Slideshow: 14 Biggest Healthcare Stories of 2014

Check out GoLocalPDX's list of top healthcare stories of 2014.

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Restaurants Violate Health Code Nearly Four Times More Than Food Carts

Between July 1, 2013 and Aug. 4, 2014, Multnomah County Health Department staff conducted 9,065 restaurant inspections and handed out 20,375 citations to restaurants. During the same period, the county conducted 2,424 food cart inspections and cited 1,438 violations.

It almost seems counterintuitive that food carts, often operated by young, firsttime business people, would have fewer health violations than established restaurants — but that is the case.

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Number of Oregonians Without Health Insurance Falls by 63 Percent

According to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon Health Authority, the number of uninsured in the state fell by 63 percent over the twelve-month period from June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

The study, which was aimed at estimating the number of uninsured individuals in Oregon as a result of changes that came in with the Affordable Care Act, estimated that in June 2013, that number stood at 550,000, or 14 percent of Oregonians.

That number declined to roughly 202,000 in June of this year, which correlates to just over five percent of the population.

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Salem Hospital Makes List of Top Orthopedic Programs

Salem Hospital was named one of 125  "hospitals and health systems with great orthopedic programs" by a leading national publication.

Becker's Hospital Review has put Salem Hospital on the list with Mayo Clinic, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic, to reflect its "excellence in orthopedics, quality of service, outstanding local and national reputations and high volume of orthopedic cases."  It's the only Oregon hospital to make the list.

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Gates Foundation Awards $420,000 to OHSU for Women’s Nutrition and Wellness Summit

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded nearly $420,000 to the Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellnessat Oregon Health and Science University to develop and host The International Summit on the Nutrition of Adolescent Girls and Young Women. The summit will be held in Portland, May 14-17 2015.

Over 60 global leaders in nutritional science and nutrition intervention programs will be invited to participate in the summit, which will work to address how food availability and choices among young women and girls can be improved, and international policies that would benefit the status of women across the globe and improve their access to nutritious food, according to OHSU.

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SLIDES: 30 Oregon Nursing Homes With the Most Deficiencies

Oregon nursing homes have been hit with $225,000 in fines for violations of federal health and safety standards over the last four years, national data shows.

In Oregon, a dozen nursing homes had serious deficiencies.

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Suicide: Leading Cause of Death for Oregonians 15 to 54 Years Old

Suicide was the leading cause of death for Oregonians aged 15 through 54 in 2012, according to a report issued last month by the Center for Disease Control.

The total number of suicides in the state increased to 716 deaths in 2012, up from 656 the year before.

More often than not, Oregon’s suicide rate for a given year is higher than the national average. Oregon’s rate was four percentage points higher than the national average in 2012.

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Oregon Emergency Room Wait Times 17th Worst in the Nation

It takes about 30 minutes for patients at Oregon emergency rooms to see a doctor, making the state the 17th worst in the nation for wait times, according to federal data.

Within Oregon, average wait times vary considerably. The longest wait is at Providence St Vincent Medical Center in Portland, where patients can expect to wait a whopping 118 minutes on average. The shortest wait is at Harney District Hospital in Burns, where patients only have to wait five minutes on average.

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SLIDES: 10 Worst Emergency Room Wait Times in Oregon

Check out this slideshow to see some of the longest hospital wait times people experience throughout the state of Oregon.

Did your hospital of choice make the list?

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PSU Virus Discovery Could Impact HIV Drug Research

New discoveries of a virus could lead to better drugs for treating HIV, Portland State University research revealed.

Researchers unlocked the structure of a virus that only lives in volcanic hot springs and is similar to HIV, according to PSU.

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SLIDES: Portland, 2nd Best U.S. City for Living an Active Lifestyle

Portland is the 2nd best city in the U.S. for living an active lifestyle, according to a study by WalletHub.

The study ranked the 100 most populated cities in the U.S. based on how well they accommodate or encourage an active lifestyle. WalletHub analyzed 25 key metrics for each city, from the average monthly fitness club fee to the number of sports clubs per capita.

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Eugene Among Top 10 Best U.S. Cities For Work-Life Balance

Eugene, Ore. ranks No. 8 on this year's list of the top 10 cities for healthy work-life balance, according to a study by the finance site NerdWallet.

The study ranked 536 U.S. cities based on the mean hours worked per week by an average employee, the mean daily commute time, as well as the mean earnings for full-time, year-round workers, and the median gross rent in each city.

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Beaverton-area High School Football Concussions Nearly Double National Average

The concussion rates of high school football players at some Portland-area high schools were nearly twice as high as the national average in 2013.

Players at Aloha High school sustained 24 diagnosed concussions during the 2013 season, according to data released to GoLocalPDX by the Beaverton School District.

Other Metro League schools also recorded double-digit tallies of traumatic brain injuries. Beaverton High School reported 22 concussions, while Sunset High School reported 21, according to school district data.

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Study Identifies New Autism Genetic Risks

Twenty seven new genes have been identified that, if mutated, will cause or contribute to the risk of autism, a new study headed by a faculty member of OHSU revealed.

As well as identifying the 27 risk genes, the study showed de novo mutations contributed to 25 percent of male autism and 45 percent of female diagnoses of the participants.  

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As Nursing Crisis Looms, Ore. Schools Turn Away 2,071 Nursing Applicants

Overcapacity Oregon universities turned away 2,071 qualified applicants last year, at the same time the state anticipates a huge new demand for nurses as the baby boom generation continues to age, according to a study by the American Association of Colleges of Nurses

Oregon is already starting to see the effect of a nurse shortage. In Oregon, 906,954 people live in areas with a shortage of health professionals, geographic or demographic groups that the U.S. Department of Health and Services have determined have too few primary care providers, high infant mortality, high poverty or a high elderly population compared to health care providers.

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