Has Bruce McComas’ campaign overstepped state election law?

I have been very balanced in my approach to the Hospital Commissioner race in Jefferson County, saying that both candidates are very qualified and worthy of consideration. For the sake of transparency and what I am about to say, I want to make it clear that I have supported Cheri Van Hoover over Bruce McComas, more for her point of view rather than think of Bruce as someone unqualified for the position. Frankly if you look at credentials, it would be great to have them both on the Commissioners.

But in a series of ads running in the Port Townsend Leader and the Peninsula Daily News, Bruce McComas may have  broken state law, in showing doctors appearing in uniform supplied by our public hospital or with official employer supplied name badges, standing in what appears to be the hallways of our public hospital or outside the public hospital walls, prescribing Bruce to the readers and public.

The Public Disclosure Commission issued rules and guidelines concerning the use of uniforms in campaigns, and these guidelines are why I believe Bruce’s campaign  may have broken state law. RCW 42.17A.335 states that “Political Advertising or electioneering communication –  any political advertising that either directly or indirectly implies the support or endorsement of any person or organization when in fact the candidate does not have such support or endorsement as illegal.”

These ads may  violate state law in that they “imply” endorsement of an “organization” when in fact the candidate does not have such support or endorsement, because the Doctors in question are clearly wearing identification of the hospital.

RCW 42.17A.555 states that there is to be no use of “public office or agency facilities” in campaigns. Again, the ads in questions appear to be showing the doctors at a public facility endorsing Bruce.

These doctors are considered by the hospital to be a kind of manager. They are in a position of power over nurses and other staff, that have to follow their written directions as part of their job. A doctor could threaten to get a nurse sanctioned. This is something that a former CEO of the mill would understand instinctively.

An article in the The Sentinel, discusses the stresses between doctor and nurse.

http://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2015/10/06/conflict-in-the-workplace-resolving-the-nurse-physician-clash/

and this

https://www.peltzwalker.com/hospital-sanctions-can-severely-damage-your-medical-career/

There is nothing wrong with these doctors endorsing a candidate. We all have the right to endorse who we wish. It is when you are perceived to be speaking on behalf of a public entity, such as the hospital, that you enter a gray area of election law. The wearing of the hospital uniform is what creates the impression that this is a hospital sponsored endorsement.

All this comes on the heels of a charge filed to the public election commission that Bruce’s supporters inside the hospital were soliciting a voter while she was a patient, which is also a violation of state law.

Eva Raczkowski Bennett has filed a formal complaint with the State Election Commission, charging that hospital employees supporting Bruce McComas attempted to solicit her vote for him while she was a patient at the Jefferson County Hospital. She went on to allege that when she did not respond positively to their solicitations, she felt that her quality of care might be threatened. It is unclear of when or if the state election commission would take up this complaint.

Medicare patients pay far more for outpatient care at critical access hospitals: 7 things to know

This article does a good job of highlighting why we pay more at Jefferson Healthcare, even though it’s a publically owned hospital. We are designated a “critical access” hospital, meaning we are rural, which gives JHC much greater flexibility of charging. JHC and Port Townsend are in a strange situation, in that we are designated the same as a very remote hospital, say in Eastern Washington, or Forks. Though we are only a short drive from non-rural designated systems in Poulsbo or Seattle.  The take away is that unless you can afford to pay more for your care, or weigh the cost and hassle of traveling, you will pay less (sometimes significantly less) for the same care by going to Seattle or even in some cases, Poulsbo.  I’ve personally found it to be dramatically less, especially for procedures and labs. If you can, always shop your medical care. Jefferson Healthcare is in the process of evaluating their charges, based on customer complaints. The unintended consequence of all this is that the poor and lower income people pay a much higher percent of their income for healthcare by living here and not shopping their healthcare. They often don’t have the time to do so, and often aren’t even aware of the problem in pricing.

Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket costs for outpatient care are significantly higher at critical access hospitals than at other acute care hospitals, and the reason for the difference in cost is buried in a 1997 law.

http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/medicare-patients-pay-far-more-for-outpatient-care-at-critical-access-hospitals-7-things-to-know.html

 

http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/medicare-patients-pay-far-more-for-outpatient-care-at-critical-access-hospitals-7-things-to-know.html

Washington state kills 21 rabid bats in 2017, 12 in August – AP

AP is reporting the following. I know we have bats around here, used to occasionally have them in my old house.

New bogus “muscle testing” reported – Quackwatch

My late wife went through something like this test during her search for a cancer cure. It was the most absurd thing I saw during our journey through medical fraud.  In case anyone is wondering, this notion of kinesiology being able to determine internal organ health was debunked decades ago. Applied kinesiology is a method of testing that is virtually unregulated and has a large amount of ‘practioners’ who claim it can cure almost anything. To be clear, the basis of kinesiology is applicable to many fields such as sports medicine, etc. It’s about human movement. It’s has many legitimate sports medicine clinics that use it. The fraudsters are out there creating ‘machines’ and testing based on it to prey on the chronically ill. If you run into someone ‘practicing’ to try and heal cancer, or other internal diseases, run the other way.

Quackwatch has posted a report on the bi-digital O-ring test (BDORT), a variant of applied kinesiology that is claimed to provide information about internal organs by testing finger strength. To perform the test, the patient positions the thumb and another finger of one hand together to form a circle (“O-ring”) while his other hand holds a sample tissue of an internal organ. The practitioner then places his fingers into the circle and tries to pull the patient’s fingers apart. Proponents claim that whether or not the circle can be forced open reflects the health status of the patient’s organ that corresponds to the tissue sample. BDORT was developed in the early 1980s and patented in 1993 by Yoshiaki Omura, M.D., Sc.D., a physician/acupuncturist who worked in New York City during most of his professional career. BDORT is closely related to Quantum Reflex Analysis, which is also discussed in the report. [Barrett S. Some notes on the bi-digital O-ring test and Quantum Reflex Analysis. Quackwatch, Sept 10, 2017] The idea that muscle-testing can determine the status of the body’s organs or provide a basis for treating health problems is preposterous. Despite this, thousands of practitioners use such tests.

Jefferson Health Care still considering affiliation with Discovery Healthcare

At the August Hospital Commissioner meeting CEO Mike Glenn said that the two organizations are still working on a possible affiliation. He went on to say that the two organizations have reached consensus on a framework of an agreement. The agreement framework will allow for integration of both clinical and administrative functions.

Mr. Glenn wanted people in the audience to understand that the merger is quite experimental and “cutting edge”. Jefferson County is in the lead in trying to provide these services. More on this will be presented to the board in September.

FDA says it will increase stem cell clinic regulation – FDA

This in from Quackwatch. As someone who’s late wife was the victim of a stem cell scam, I am thrilled to hear this news. This is a very real scam, both here and in the Mexican border to southwest of Yuma, which unfortunately won’t be within the reach of the FDA.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., has announced that the FDA “ ill be stepping up enforcement actions against clinics that abuse the trust of patients and, more important, endanger their health with unsanitary conditions or by purporting to have treatments which may not provide any benefit.” [FDA warns US Stem Cell Clinic of significant deviations. FDA news release, Aug 28, 2017] The agency also posted a warning letter issued to US Stem Cell Clinic of Sunrise, Florida and its Chief Scientific Officer, Kristin Comella, for marketing unapproved stem cell products without FDA approval and for significant deviations from current good manufacturing practice requirements, including some that could impact the sterility of their products. A recent FDA inspection found that the clinic was processing stem cells derived from body fat and administering the product both intravenously or directly into the spinal cord of patients to treat Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and pulmonary fibrosis. In a parallel action, at the FDA’s request, U.S. Marshals seized five vials of live vaccinia virus vaccine that had been used or were awaiting use to create an unapproved stem cell product for cancer patients. The FDA’s announcement noted that this vaccine is reserved only for people at high risk for smallpox (such as some members of the military) and has considerable potential for harm. [FDA acts to remove unproven, potentially harmful treatment used in ‘stem cell’ centers targeting vulnerable patients. FDA news release, Aug 28, 2017]

Residents, officials to state: Don’t close community’s hospital – Kitsap Sun

The controversial move by CHI Franciscan to close Bremerton’s hospital and move to Silverdale continues to draw angry citizens out worrying about the poor’s ability to have hospital and emergency room service locally.

BREMERTON — Residents of Bremerton and nearby communities made their voices heard loud and clear: do not close the community’s hospital.

Approximately 200 people, some of whom had to wait outside due to overcrowding, were on hand in the Bremerton School District Office board room on Sept. 8 to voice their opposition to the closure of Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton as part of a proposal to move medical care to an expanded Silverdale campus. The hearing was conducted by the state Department of Health as part of its reconsideration process.

Read the rest of the story here:

http://www.kitsapdailynews.com/news/residents-officials-to-state-dont-close-communitys-hospital/