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Working 4 you: More hospitals ask for payment upfront

Working 4 you: More hospitals ask for payment upfront

If you're planning any future trips to the hospital, you may want to get your credit card ready before heading into the operating room. That's because hospitals are increasingly asking patients to pay for procedures either upfront, or before they're discharged.

Traditionally, neither patients nor providers knew the exact price of procedures until after the insurer processed the charges, but that's all changing.

New technology is now allowing hospitals to determine a patient's responsibility in advance of treatment.

Hospitals say it's important to discuss the cost as early as possible because patients are facing higher deductibles and larger payments for services. Administrators say many people don't even know what their deductible is.

Officials say Americans are shouldering a greater portion of their health care bills, and medical centers don't want to get stuck paying what their patients can't.

But for those who are worried about footing the bill early, hospitals are providing several options.

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Working 4 you: Why you should fix your pets

Working 4 you: Why you should fix your pets

America grew up hearing Bob Barker's reminders to spay and neuter your pets, and veterinarians agree, sterilization is important. But why?

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are an estimated six to eight million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. About half of those get adopted, but sadly the other half have to be euthanized.

The primary reason for spaying and neutering your pets is population control. Every year around one million dogs are euthanized, simply because they have no place to go.

And vets say you should get your pets fixed, whether they play inside or outdoors.

But spaying and neutering doesn't only help the population of unclaimed kitties and puppies, most research finds that pets who get sterilized at a young age actually live longer, healthier lives.

Vets say that by spaying or neutering your pets, you can avoid a lot of costly medical complications in the future caused by infections.

Veterinarians say you should get your pets fixed when they are two to six months old.

Working 4 you: How much will America spend on Halloween?

Working 4 you: How much will America spend on Halloween?

Fall is here and that means retailers and shoppers are turning their attention to Halloween. But will consumers be willing to spend as much this year on costumes and candy?

Stores like Target and Walmart are already gearing up for the Holiday. And if you feel like it's just a little too early to get ready for Halloween, you may be surprised to hear that one-third of Americans say they'll be making their holiday purchases before October 1st.

Halloween is the last major retail event before the big holiday rush. It can offer retailers clues on how willing Americans will be to open their wallets, and how stores should approach holiday inventory, discounts and deals.

Many shoppers say the U.S. economy is still weighing heavily on their minds. one in five people say it will make an impact on how they approach holiday spending.

But it may not affect it as much as you'd think.

New numbers from the National Retail Federation show most consumers won't be afraid to spend on Halloween this year.

So, how much will the average American be spending?

Dept. of Natural Resources lifts statewide burn ban

Dept. of Natural Resources lifts statewide burn ban

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced Friday that the statewide burn ban on DNR-protected lands has been removed. Fire danger has been reduced by the recent rainfall and moderating temperatures.

Restrictions set by local authorities are not affected by DNR's actions. Additionally, while conditions no longer warrant a statewide burn ban, some local areas may still remain dry. Anyone who plans on burning should check with local authorities beforehand.

You can also always find the latest on your local fire restrictions here.

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Calling all kids, Mr. Yuk needs you!

Calling all kids, Mr. Yuk needs you!

Calling all Washington kids, Mr. Yuk needs your help! The lovable mascot of the Washington Poison Center wants children to send in their best artwork for the 8th annual statewide Poison Prevention Poster Contest.

The Washington Poison Center uses the contest to reminder parents and children to be vigilant about poisons and drugs. The winning poster will be part of the 2015 Poison Prevention Week campaign celebrated across the state during the third week in March.

The Poison Center is looking for young artists to create poison safety awareness through eye-catching posters displaying suggestions on how Mr. Yuk helps them avoid being poisoned. The contest is open to children ages 6 to 12 in Washington State. The top prize earns $500, a visit from Mr. Yuk to their school or program, a trip to the Capitol to meet their legislators and having their winning design featured as the poster for Poison Prevention Week. Four runners-up will receive $100 in the mail, and all contest participants will receive a gift from Mr. Yuk in the mail.

Vote for 2nd Harvest to receive $60,000 grant

Vote for 2nd Harvest to receive $60,000 grant

As Hunger Action Month come to a close, Second Harvest is asking for the public's help in a contest that could net them a $60,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation.

Fifty food banks across the nation will be selected for one of the grants based on the number of online votes they receive by October 5. Currently Second Harvest has barely more than 100, while the leaders are all in the thousands, but with nine days left to vote there's still time for a comeback.

Second Harvest is the only food bank in Washington state competing in the contest which began September 15.

Walmart is teaming up with acclaimed chef, cookbook author and TV host G. Garvin, and calling on the public to support their local food banks by voting online at www.Walmart.com/fighthunger.

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Bread Tie Challenge to raise awareness of depression/mental illness

Two Central Washington Seniors are launching a campaign this fall to honor the memory of the teen who made their best friend duo into a trio.

Three years ago this October, Josh Martin took his own life. It was a complete surprise to everyone who knew him.

“There were no signs or anything,” said Donnie Santos. “He was going to be a shortstop for the Spokane Falls baseball team. We had everything going for us. We think he was afraid to come out and ask for help.”

That fear is what Donnie Santos and Dean Neilson are trying to get rid of with the Bread Tie Challenge.

It was Martin's father Joe who came up with the campaign to memorialize his son, then handed it off to Donnie and Dean to run.

The Bread Tie Challenge draws its inspiration from the Ice Bucket Challenge, an easy and visible way to show that your life has been impacted by someone struggling with mental illness or depression, and that you support ending the stigma of shame and weakness that can be associated with it.