Colorado above national average for uninsured

Filed under: Health Care |

The Colorado Health Institute released a study this month, “Profile of the Uninsured,” which highlights the state’s uninsured population through 2004.

Based on the latest Census Bureau statistics, the report showed that about 770,000, or 17 percent, of the state’s residents don’t have health insurance, which falls above the 15.7 percentage for the nation. More than three-fourths – 77.8 percent – of Colorado’s uninsured population were working age adults between 18 and 64.

Adults between 18 and 34 accounted for 39.5 percent of Colorado’s uninsured, in line with national averages. Of the uninsured population who live below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (individual annual income of $19,290; $38,614 for a family of four) 41.2 percent were between 18 and 34.

Almost two-thirds (62.9 percent) of the uninsured population work for businesses that employ fewer than 100 workers. Coloradoans who are employed by small to mid-size companies are twice as likely to be uninsured.

Denver had the highest average of uninsured in Colorado with 23.1 percent. El Paso and Douglas counties were below the average for western states with 10.7 and 9.8 percent, respectively.

The risk of being uninsured is race related, according to the study. Hispanics accounted for 34.4 percent of the uninsured. Non-Hispanic whites had the lowest uninsured rate at 11.9 percent.

Adults who did not complete high school were twice as likely to be uninsured. More than 58.4 percent of the uninsured working-age residents had not completed any schooling beyond high school, and they were four times more likely to be uninsured than Coloradoans with some higher education.

Adults over age 65 and children were the most likely to have health insurance because of public programs, such as Medicaid, Colorado Health Plan or Medicare.

Doctors join Health Partners

John A. Newcomer MD, a pulmonologist, and John J. Randono MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon, have joined Colorado Springs Health Partners PC.

Newcomer is board certified in pulmonology and sleep medicine, and served as co-director of the Sleep Disorder Center at Penrose Hospital. He earned his medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He will practice at CSHP’s 1633 Medical Center Point office.

Randono is board certified in surgery and thoracic surgery. He earned his medical degree from St. Louis University and completed his residency in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery at the University of Utah. Randono will practice at 209 S. Nevada Ave.

Colorado Springs Health Partners is the largest, physician-owned, multi-specialty practice in Colorado Springs, with 90 physicians and 11 locations.

www.kp.org hits the jackpot

Kaiser Permanente’s Web site, www.kp.org, earned six awards at the Annual Healthcare Internet Conference in Las Vegas.

There were 1,200 national health care organizations’ Web sites in the competition.

“To know that we’re helping our members get the information they need in a way that’s convenient for them—and to have that work recognized in a competition with hundreds of other Web sites—makes the hard work worth it,” said Anna-Lisa Silvestre, vice president of online services.

Kaiser was recognized for best health and health care content in three classifications: health care system, Platinum Award; HMO/PPO/Other Insurers, Silver Award; and Consumer General Health Site, Gold Award.

The company received a Gold Award in the Consumer General Health Site classification, and was ranked best overall Internet site in two classifications: HMO/PPO/Other Insurers, Distinction Award; and health care system, Silver Award.

Is sauerkraut a cure for bird flu and other diseases?

According to an online article by Leon Pantenburg that was posted on The Bulletin, scientists at Seoul National University believe sauerkraut contains a bacteria – lactobacillus, which is created during the fermentation process – that “combats” bird flu.

Sauerkraut is made from shredded, fermented cabbage.

The article said the findings were based on a study using kimchi, a spicy Korean cabbage dish. Kimchi was fed to 13 chickens infected with the bird flu, and one week later, 11 of the birds showed signs of recovery from the virus.

A University of New Mexico study reported that women who eat sauerkraut may reduce their risk of breast cancer by as much as 74 percent in some cases.

In a November article, Men’s Health magazine listed sauerkraut as an essential household stock to ward off a flu pandemic.

According to the article, Capt. Cook listed sauerkraut among foods that prevented scurvy. “Cook’s sailors never got scurvy, possibly because they were threatened with flogging if they didn’t consume their veggies and citrus.”

A one-cup serving of sauekraut contains 32 calories, has four grams of fiber, provides 102 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, 12 percent of iron and 35 percent of vitamin C, according to the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, England.

Marylou Doehrman covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.