Shocking statistics for Jefferson & Clallam Counties in opioid database from Washington Post.

In the battle to determine who is to blame for the opioid epidemic that has killed more people than Viet Nam, it turns out that not only was West Virginia a capital of opioid prescriptions, but Clallam County was also. Between Jefferson and Clallam Counties, in a six year period both counties received and distributed over 43 million opioid pills!

According to the Washington Post that reformatted the data into searchable form, from 2006 to 2012 there were 5,817,030 prescription pain pills, enough for 28 pills per person per year, supplied to Jefferson County, Wash. Safeway was the largest distributor, selling 2,331,220 pills. Don’s pharmacy came in at 1,367,550 pills distributed, behind second place QFC in Hadlock.

But even those numbers were dwarfed by Clallam county, who distributed 37,838,060 prescription pain pills, enough for 76 pills per person per year.

•18,067,280 of the pills in Clallam County were distributed by McKesson Corporation and 19,907,900 were manufactured by SpecGx LLC.

JIM’S PHARMACY, PORT ANGELES pharmacy received the highest number of pills. They distributed 5,280,190 pills. But Chinook Pharmacy in Forks was not far behind with over 4.6 Million pills distributed.

It is clear to anyone following this story that a number of people are at the root cause of this human tragedy. Let’s count the ways:

  • There is clear evidence now that the pharmaceutical companies lied to the public and the government. Lawsuits underway have established that fact. Their salespeople spread misinformation about the products.
  • The Federal government, lawmakers, FDA and others, blindly took the word of the drug companies as to the safety and efficacy of these drugs.
  • The medical community bought the medical findings and the pharmaceutical sales peoples pitches. This included the medical providers at our local hospital, Jefferson Healthcare. This can be seen as a damning indictment of the the medical providers there, along with the administration of the hospital and it’s hospital commissioners. Who was watching the amount of pills being provided to patients? There were clear signs that there were problems with opioid prescriptions much earlier than 2012. What was Jefferson Healthcare doing to monitor their staff?
  • At the same time the medical professionals at JHC were writing all these prescriptions for opioids, they were well aware of problems with them,because Dr. James Kimber Rotchford was treating many of their patients for abuse of these same pain killers at his independent clinic, Olympic Pain and Addiction Services . It was widely known within the local medical community and a number of these providers were quite dismissive of Dr. Rotchford’s efforts. Dr. Rochford’s clinic was raided by the DEA in 2010 but was cleared of any wrongdoing. The basis for the raid was never uncovered.
  • The pharmacies ignored clear warning signs that vastly too many pills to make sense were being sold for their communities.

The outcome was a trail of broken lives, broken communities, massively enriched sales people and companies, many of whom then recycled these gains into political candidates campaign chests.

Read the whole story

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/dea-pain-pill-database/?utm_term=.9591a96b0d8e

Second federal judge strikes down Trump ‘conscience protection’ rule for health care providers – The Hill

The Hill reports that Washington State has again triumphed over Trump for now on the administrations attempts to allow bigotry in healthcare.

“The court agreed that all Washingtonians deserve to receive the full range of health care services,” Ferguson said in a statement. “This rule would have disproportionately harmed rural and working poor Washington families, who have no alternatives to their local health care providers, as well as LGBTQ individuals, who already face discrimination when they seek medical care.”

Read the whole story here.

https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/469498-second-federal-judge-rules-against-trump-conscience-protection-rule

That Beloved Hospital? It’s Driving Up Health Care Costs – NY Times

It’s not just us local critics of our expensive hospital talking about the rising costs, but a national discussion. Journalist and physician brings up some sobering thoughts and why we are unlikely to see any change in this situation.

Data shows that hospitals are by far the biggest cost in our $3.5 trillion health care system, where spending is growing faster than gross domestic product, inflation and wage growth. Spending on hospitals represents 44 percent of personal expenses for the privately insured, according to Rand

A report this year from researchers at Yale and other universities found that hospital prices increased a whopping 42 percent from 2007 to 2014 for inpatient care and 25 percent for outpatient care, compared with 18 percent and 6 percent for physicians.

A sad lesson in asking for medical costs in advance!

This couple found out the hard way that you can be financially destroyed by some providers, especially if you are unfortunate enough to be out of network. Read it and weep, then get angry and let Representative Kilmer, Senator’s Cantwell and Murray know that you want this changed at the Federal level! No out of network billing fiascos. And while they are at it, they should look into breaking up the two companies that own the dialysis market. It is far more onerous than the high tech companies they are currently going after.

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-care/first-kidney-failure-then-540-842-bill-dialysis-n1034496

Here’s the latest on our instate new law, but you *can* be grossly overcharged before 2020!

https://www.insurance.wa.gov/surprise-medical-billing

EVENT:S.A.N.E. Program discussion July 26

S.A.N.E stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner

It’s a newly funded position at the hospital.

From: Mary Evans <mevans@co.jefferson.wa.us> 
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2019 9:28 AM
Subject: 3rd Quarter CCR Friday the 26th at Noon

Greetings!

 Our next CCR (Coordinated Community Response) is happening next Friday the 26th of July from Noon to 1pm in the BOCC in the basement of the Courthouse.  Katie-Rose Fisher-Price from Jefferson Health Care will be here to present on their new SANE program.  Dove House will provide sandwiches, so please bring your own drinks.  Community members are welcome to come so spread the word if anyone is curious or has questions about the new SANE Program.

 Mary Evans, MSW

Crime Victim/ Witness Coordinator

Jefferson County Prosecutors Office

Desk: 360.385.9386

Work days are Monday 8-5; Tuesday 8-12 and Thursday 8-5