Thursday, June 19, 2014

Overlake Medical Center Targets Earlier Detection of Lung Cancer with Affordable Screening Alternative

Overlake Medical Center launched a new lung cancer screening program aimed to help identify lung cancer in its earlier stages. The hospital is hoping to increase the odds of surviving lung cancer with earlier detection. 

"Unfortunately, many patients we see are already in the later stages of lung cancer, when the chances of successful treatment are significantly reduced," said Todd Freudenberger, MD, an Overlake specialist in pulmonary medicine and one of the hospital's leading lung cancer experts. "With earlier detection, we know we can make a significant difference in the lives of our patients and tilt the odds back in their favor." 

"The discouraging reality about lung cancer is early stages of the cancer are not easily detected without such screenings," said Dr. Freudenberger. "Patients become aware of the disease when symptoms become apparent. Too often, this signals a later, less treatable, stage of disease. We know we can catch this earlier with the right screening technology."

The new lung cancer screening program uses an affordable, low-dose CT scan that uses only 10 to 30 percent as much radiation compared to a standard-dose CT scan. 

An Advisory panel to Medicare convened in May to discuss the low-dose CT screening for lung cancer and assess whether Medicare should cover the screening in high risk individuals. The panel voted against recommending national Medicare coverage for the annual screening for lung cancer.

“Having Medicare and other insurers cover screening would clearly save lives,” said Dr. Freudenberger. Overlake's goal is to keep low-dose CT screening as affordable as possible until these payers decide to offer coverage. Overlake Medical Center's low-dose lung cancer screening costs $199.

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in men and women. Lung cancer causes more deaths in the United States than breast, colon, pancreas, and prostate cancer combined. 

Should a screening reveal a patient does have lung cancer, Overlake Medical Center's Cancer Center provides the latest and most technologically advanced methods of treatment including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted drug therapy. 

Overlake's unique lung cancer program is distinguished by state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, leading-edge treatments and a skilled, interdisciplinary staff.

For more information about Overlake Medical Center's lung cancer program click here.

You can also read a more in depth story in the Puget Sound Business Journal!

Overlake Breast Cancer Program Achieves National Accreditation

Overlake Medical Center's breast cancer program has been granted a three-year/full accreditation designation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). The program is administered by the American College of Surgeons.

In order to get accreditation by the NAPBC, Overlake underwent rigorous evaluation processes and review of their performance. Receiving care at a NAPBC- accredited center ensures that a patient will have access to:

  • Comprehensive care, including a full range of state-of-the-art-services
  • A multidisciplinary team approach to coordinate the best treatment options
  • Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options
  • Quality breast care close to home.
"We are very pleased to have earned the accreditation from the NAPBC once again," said Overlake breast surgeon Kristi M. Harrington, MD, PhD. "It demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing the highest caliber of care to our breast patients."

The staff at Overlake's Breast Center is committed to providing compassionate, individualized care to its patients, believing this approach maximizes success and minimizes fears about living with and treating breast conditions. This philosophy has made Overlake the only breast center in the Seattle metro-area and one of just two in King County to be accredited by the NAPBC. 

Read more on this story in the Fort Mill Times!

WGU Washington's Teacher Preparation Program Earns Top Honors

WGU Washington's teacher preparation program has earned top honors from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ). NCTQ has ranked Western Governors University's secondary teacher preparation program as the top program in the nation out of 2,400 programs listed in its Teacher Prep Review 2014. Additionally, the online university's elementary teacher preparation program ranked 16th in the nation.

The report cited WGU's commitment to its students and focus on quality when outlining what sets the program apart. According to the report, Western Governors University "had nearly perfect scores across the board." The online training program is accessible to aspiring teachers across the nation. The report also stated, "Western Governors University places staff in every state who carefully oversee the delivery of a strong student teaching experience."

"As a long time leader in education, I recognize the tremendous significance of this honor for WGU Washington," said Dr. Gary Livingston, the former chancellor of the Community Colleges of Spokane and superintendent of the Spokane Public Schools. "The top ranking validates the university's online, competency-based approach to teacher preparation. WGU Washington focuses on demonstrating mastery of the skills and knowledge effective teachers’ need, with a strong emphasis on a meaningful student teaching experience, ensuring all graduates are classroom-ready on day one."

WGU was one of only 10 institutions named to the top lists for both elementary and secondary teacher education. It is also the first exclusively online university to earn accreditation from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education for its teacher preparation programs.

For more information about WGU's teacher education programs click here!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Overlake's Strong Performance Earns S&P Ratings Upgrade

Overlake Medical Center has earned a financial ratings increase for the sixth time. They have gone from "A-" to "A" with a stable outlook from Standard and Poor's Rating Service.

CFO Gary McLaughlin presented in front of both Moody's and S&P with new CEO J. Michael Marsh last month in San Francisco. McLaughlin said, "We at Overlake are extremely pleased with our solid financial performance. Hospitals and healthcare providers across the country face continued financial pressure to keep pace with needed infrastructure investment, regulatory pressures, and declining reimbursement for services. Receiving this increase is a powerful statement about Overlake's financial health and management."

Overlake's upgrade to "A" is due in large part to the medical center's successful completion of an electronic medical record conversion during the past year. S&P also noted in the report that Overlake has a "good management team that has consistently delivered on results and has shown detailed consideration to future planning."

To read the full story on Overlake's rating upgrade click here!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WGU Washington awards degrees to a record number of graduates

Saturday, May 17th WGU Washington awarded a record number of degrees during its commencement ceremony at McCaw Hall in Seattle. Students, family members, mentors, and community supporters packed McCaw Hall to celebrate the online university's largest class of graduates yet and recognize the university's increasing role in strengthening the state's workforce with career-ready graduates.

WGU Washington offers career-focused degrees for a flat-rate of $6,000 per year for most programs. Of the school's 6,000 full-time students, more than 2,500 are enrolled in science, technology, engineering, or math related programs (STEM). The university is only three years old and awarded over 1,000 bachelor's and master's degrees this year-a nearly 100 percent increase over the size of last year's graduating class. Nearly half of the graduating class is receiving a STEM-related credential.

"We are incredibly proud of the academic accomplishments of the WGU Washington class of 2014," said WGU Washington Chancellor Jean Floten. "The record number of graduates reaffirms the our online, competency-based model is an effective and practical way for working adults to achieve their higher education goals in the state of Washington."

To see the personal stories of students who graduated with this year's class click on the links below!

Tacoma News Tribune

Redmond Reporter

Digital Journal 

Bonnie Lake Courier-Herald

Kent Reporter 

Maple Valley Reporter

Sequim Gazette

Walla Walla Union Bulletin 

Bainbridge Island Review