Washington launches online tool that lets patients compare prices for medical procedures

Interested in knowing a bit about how to much you might pay for a procedure?  Check out the emergency room prices both from Jefferson Healthcare and surrounding areas. Finally we are seeing the curtain being pulled back on our hospital pricing, which many of us have known is overpriced for many standard procedures.  Our elected hospital commissioners, have claimed  that this kind of comparison was not possible to do. The Governor has had it done.

https://www.wahealthcarecompare.com/procedure/emergency-room-visit?zipcode=98368

If you or a loved one needed knee replacement surgery, would you want to know which surgeon in your community has the highest rating for quality of care? Would you like to know how much a knee replacement costs, on average, at all of the medical offices close to your home?

Those are the types of information easily accessed through Washington state’s new HealthCareCompare website, an online tool that launched today. The user-friendly website is part of the state’s larger effort to make health care costs more transparent, and gives the public access to health care price and quality information from the Washington All-Payer Claims Database. The database is the result of legislation proposed by the governor.

https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/washington-launches-online-tool-lets-patients-compare-prices-medical-procedures

 

On Doctor Burnout – NY Times

The NY Times magazine has a good short article on a subject that many of my friends in the medical profession talk about, burnout. The reasons documented in the story mirror their concerns, electronic medical records being among the most irritating. Many doctors and their support teams of Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and others spend vast amounts of time before or after seeing patients documenting their work. It is a demoralizing let down for people who have spent years becoming highly specialized providers of care. It used to be that many physicians could dictate their notes, then send them via modem to India for overnight translation. No longer. Read about that issue and others.

 

 

ONLINE EVENT: “TrumpCare and Medicare for All’” John Geyman, MD

From the Physicians for a National Healthcare Program Western Washington (PNHPWW)  October 17th Meeting Agenda

John Geyman, MD, will be with us via the internet from his home in Friday Harbor to describe his just-released book “TrumpCare: Lies, Broken Promises, How It Is Failing, and What Should be Done” that has four goals: 1) to describe TrumpCare; 2) show how it is failing patients, families, taxpayers, and the nation: 3) describe the growing crisis is health care in this country; and 4) to compare the only two real alternatives before us – continuance of TrumpCare or moving to single-payer Medicare for All. Also, John will compare HR 676 and S 1804 and give us his thoughts about their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Dr. Geyman is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has spent 25 years in academic medicine as Chairman of the UW Department of Family Medicine and was founding editor of The Journal of Family Medicine. He is Past President of PNHP and a PNHPWW Board Member. He has now written more than 12 books that are indispensable for understanding the roots of our health care crisis, its current condition, and what must be done to achieve a just and sustainable replacement.

The meeting will be live-streamed via the Zoom Meeting platform beginning at 7:20pm (PST).
Join by internet link – https://zoom.us/282725280 or by phone – 1-669-900-6833 or 1-929-436-2866

Meeting ID: 282-725-280

 

GOP state lawmakers unveil plans to improve Washington’s troubled mental health system.-Seattle Times

This profoundly broken system need massive overhaul. At least the Republicans recognize the issue and have reasonable proposals to come to a bipartisan table to address. Now if Inslee can find the money needed to get this done.

GOP state lawmakers unveil plans to improve Washington’s troubled mental-health system

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/gop-state-lawmakers-unveil-plans-to-improve-washingtons-troubled-mental-health-system/

6500 rape kits untested statewide, awaiting federal funds.-Seattle Times

It is outrageous that the Federal Government has not delivered the monies needed and promised by law to do this. While we spend billions on military gear without batting an eye, women who have been raped in our state (and elsewhere) await justice. Please let Derek Kilmer, Patty Murray Maria Cantwell and others know this needs to get done.

Nearly 6,500 rape kits sit untested statewide, Washington attorney general says

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/washington-attorney-general-identifies-nearly-6500-untested-rape-kits-statewide/

Web site ads for stem cell treatments analyzed – Consumer Health Digest

The latest issue of Consumer Health Digest reports on a researcher who has identified 30 companies in Canada engaged in direct to consumer marketing of stem cells. Here’s an exerpt from the Consumer Health Digest.

Based on a series of Web searches, a researcher has identified 30 companies in Canada engaged in direct-to-consumer marketing of stem cell treatments offered at 43 distinct clinics in six provinces, with most located in Ontario. Her findings included:

  • Most of the companies advertised stem cell treatments only for orthopedic diseases and injuries, pain management, and sports-related injuries, but other companies offered treatments for cosmetic purposes, hair loss, neurological, aging, immunological diseases, muscular dystrophy, lung diseases, urological diseases, sex-related issues, and cardiac disease.
  • Sixteen of the companies disclosed no risks in Web ads, while the other 14 companies typically described only the possibility of short-term problems
  • Only two sites disclosed that serious risks were possible.
  • None provided information about long-term follow-up care.
  • Most companies advertised positive but unquantified claims, but five made explicit quantitative claims without links to supportive evidence.
  • Most of the companies did not disclose what they charge for their procedures. [Turner L. Direct-to-consumer marketing of stem cell interventions by Canadian businesses. Regenerative Medicine. Epub ahead of print, Sept 26, 2018]

To sign up for the Consumer Health Digest go to this web page.

http://lists.quackwatch.org/mailman/listinfo/chd_lists.quackwatch.org

 

 

Three take-aways from Nancy Guinto’s transparency testimony to the US Senate HELP Committee – State of Reform

Nancy Guinto, Executive Director of the Washington Health Alliance (WHA), testified before the US Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee last week about how price transparency initiatives can increase value in health care. Three key takeaways:

  • Congress should create incentives to align stakeholder interests in leveraging data to improve care value. Congress should look across public and private sectors to coordinate efforts to increase transparency.
  • Congress should support federal agency efforts to increase transparency by promoting initiatives that tie cost, quality, and value together and by making access to data less burdensome.
  • Congress should leverage existing networks that promote transparency, like regional health improvement collaborative, that already have the trust and support of local stakeholders and who are already working to make care improvements.

Those of us involved in the Jefferson County Healthcare Access Group (CHA) have struggled for a few years now to increase pricing transparency at Jefferson Healthcare. We have met with resistance every step of the way. Breakthroughs in the last year have led to citizens having a somewhat better understanding of the prices they face before they get into the hospital. We fully support the efforts of the Washington Healthcare Alliance.

It is clear to those of us involved in understanding the healthcare industry on a local level, that increasing centralization, decreasing independent medical providers, penalization of individual providers by Congressional funding mandates,  and a lack of transparency are creating a system the more resembles a monopoly, costs more and does not  necessarily provide better indices of health.

Read more on this at

https://stateofreform.com/featured/2018/09/three-take-aways-from-nancy-guintos-transparency-testimony-to-the-us-senate-help-committee/

 

EVENT: Public invited to comment on Sexual Assault Nurse program

All are invited to a community discussion on development of a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program for Jefferson County.

Currently, Jefferson County victims of sexual assault who wish to prosecute their attackers must travel to Harrison or Olympic Medical Center for the specialized forensic SANE exams needed to collect evidence. Jefferson Healthcare’s administration created an exploratory committee to evaluate the feasibility of developing a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program for our county so victims would be less likely to need to travel. The committee completed a draft proposal to create a SANE program run out of the hospital. Community feedback will be helpful to ensure the proposal is crafted to best meet the needs of the victims in a sustainable manner. Once finalized, the proposal will be presented to the Hospital Commissioners for their consideration.

October 4, 2018

4:30-6:00

Dirksen Conference Room

Jefferson Healthcare

Molly Parker, MD, MPH

Medical Director of Population Health