health care

Can Congress Come Together to Build a Healthier Nation?

There's much more to health politics than the Affordable Care Act. Along with remarkable new advances in medicine by 2024, we will see Baby Boomers swamping the health care system, more veterans needing services, and the impact of climate change becoming ever more apparent. Leaders from both political parties in both houses of Congress should be shaping the vision, negotiating the legislation and committing the funding to improve the nation’s health. What can Congress do to promote better health for more Americans? How can our elected officials reach consensus?

William Frist, Thomas Daschle, Julie Rovner, Mickey Edwards

Personalized Medicine: The Future is Now

Personalized medicine is upending hierarchies with consumer products like Scanadu, designed to track physiological signals, and 23andMe.com, which provides raw genetic data. Meanwhile, our exploding knowledge means treatments can increasingly be custom-tailored — the genetic characteristics of a tumor can predict the most effective drug to fight it; a medical image can reveal which artery-opening device will be most effective for a particular individual. How does personalized medicine change the way medicine is practiced? Is it possible to know too much? Does the US need a new regulatory framework for this unprecedented era?

Women’s Health: The Unfinished Revolution

The phrase “women’s health” slips off the tongues of clinicians, public health experts, community advocates and legislators with ease, but the ideological battles of the past three decades have clouded this once-useful term. Reproductive health services and access to family planning promote health and combat poverty, but they do not represent the sum of women’s health needs or rights. Women also differ from men in how they develop, age, and respond to treatment, yet the science of their unique characteristics is alarmingly incomplete. What is “women’s health” really about, and how we do re-imagine its future?

Jane Otai, Sisonke Msimang, Courtney E. Martin, Betty King

THE ASPEN LECTURE When Experts Disagree: The Art of Medical Decision-Making

Despite medical advances and the application of scientific principles to modern medicine, there seems to be increasing controversy about the “right” diagnostic and treatment choices, even for very common medical issues – such as how best to treat high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, whether to take vitamins, especially vitamin D, and who should be screened for cancer with mammograms and PSA. And the debate is very public, fomenting confusion with almost daily stories in the media. Why are experts disagreeing? Why isn't there a clear “right” answer? And what support do patients need to make decisions in the face of such controversy?

Jerome Groopman, Pamela Hartzband

Colorado's "Right to Try" Law: A Lifeline or False Hope?

Colorado’s new “right-to-try” law, signed in May, allows terminally ill patients access to investigational drugs without federal approval. Similar legislation is being considered in other states. Supporters call it a ray of hope for people with few alternatives, while skeptics argue that the hopes could be false and the suffering worsened. The US Food and Drug Administration already has compassionate-use mechanisms in place, but action at the state level is a first. What are the clinical and ethical implications of Colorado’s action? Are states usurping federal authority? What are the rights of dying people here?

Elliot Gerson, Joe Garcia, Diane E. Meier

Residents in the Roaring Fork Valley have been the target of recent scams. We’ll have the latest.

Will tourists flock to mountain communities this summer? One resort analyst thinks so.

And, fire season is already underway in the Western U.S. Fire officials tell Roaring Fork Valley residents now is the time to get ready.

A former director of the Colorado State Lottery is entering the race for Congress...but, he’ll need more than just a scratch ticket to win the job in Washington.

Aspen Valley Hospital is in the middle of its switch from paper files to electronic patient records.

Finally, Governor Hickenlooper made law a pair of measures this week that tighten rules around marijuana.

That’s all coming up on Mountain Edition... right now.

Marci Krivonen

While hospitals across the country work to transition from old-fashioned paper records to electronic data, some doctors in Aspen have already “gone digital.” Aspen Valley Hospital is in the middle of this conversion, which is part of the Affordable Care Act. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Mountain Family Health Centers

Last month, several people raced to sign up for health insurance before the March 31st deadline. Many of those patients qualified for the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program. Turns out, more people signed up for Medicaid than for private insurance in the tri-county area that includes Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle Counties. Now, doctor’s offices that handle these patients are trying to keep up. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

Creative Commons/Flickr/401(K) 2012

Pitkin County staff and elected leaders will meet with the State’s top insurance official this week about pricey health insurance. A Kaiser Health News report says Colorado’s “rating area eleven” that covers Pitkin, Eagle, Garfield and Summit Counties, is the most expensive insurance market in the country. Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock says they’d like to see solutions.

www.gailschwartz.org

With about five weeks left in Colorado’s legislative session, lawmakers are going over the budget, looking into fighting wildfires and voting on internet access for rural areas. State Senator Gail Schwartz is involved with these efforts. She’s a democrat from Snowmass Village and Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen sat down with her on Sunday. Here is their entire conversation.

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