Thank you for your 23 years of service, Dr. Yu

OlympianNovember 18, 2013 

Dr. Diana Yu retires after 23 years as Thurston County's top public health officer.

STEVE BLOOM; STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

YAY: HEALTH OFFICER

Dr. Diana Yu stepped down last week after 23 years as Thurston County’s top public health officer. She’s been the heart and soul of public health for more than two decades, steering the public and local officials toward a better understanding of what makes a community healthy of mind and body.

Thanks to her leadership, the county is better prepared to meet the challenges of the next public health emergency or natural disaster. She was instrumental in forming the Medical Reserve Corps, consisting of medical volunteers who can pitch in and help in times of need.

She’s worked hard to promote early childhood health, supported nutritional food programs, and expanded health and fitness programs for seniors, to name just a few of her accomplishments. Thank you, Dr. Yu, for your years of service to the community.

YAY: COATS FOR KIDS

Tumwater firefighters since June have been raising money to provide new winter coats for elementary school-age children in need. It’s not too late to lend a hand. Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to FirefightersCoatsForKids.org.

A warm coat offers many benefits: better school attendance, better health, improved self-esteem and more opportunity to play outdoors in the winter months.

It’s heartening to see the firefighters finding innovative ways to serve their community.

BOO: MEDICAID FRAUD

New Jersey pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. have agreed to pay more than $1.72 billion to settle a Medicaid fraud case. The firms were charged with promoting the sale of drugs for uses not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

One positive outcome of the case: Washington state will receive nearly $10.5 million dedicated to Medicaid services and fraud detection.

YAY: STATE EXCHANGE

The early returns are in: States that set up their own health care exchanges are signing up more people for health insurance than the federal government is.

Washington state enrollees top all states except New York and California, which have much larger populations. Much work remains, but from Oct. 1 through Nov. 7, some 9,000 people picked a health care plan through the state-established marketplace. Another 68,000 discovered they are eligible for free insurance under Medicaid, and another 81,000 have completed applications but haven’t signed on the dotted line.

BOO: STACK RANKING

Finally. Microsoft announced last week that it’s scrapping a controversial employee review system called stack ranking, which required managers to put a set percentage of their employees into five groups, ranging from top performers to bottom performers.

In other words, everyone on a team could be doing a great job and producing quality products and they would still be ranked against each other.

Talk about a morale killer and incentive for employees to sabotage one another’s work. Good riddance to an inflexible way of evaluating job performance.

YAY: MILITARY MONTH

November is Military Family Month at South Sound YMCAs. The Y is offering discounted memberships with no joining fee to military families, along with a free week at the Y for active duty, reserves, veterans and their families.

South Sound YMCA is also providing nationally accredited child care through Army School-Age Program in Your Neighborhood. It’s the Y’s way of saying thank you to military families and recognize the sacrifices they make in service to the country.

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