Covid and The News

With the overwhelming coverage of Covid-19 these days, the need for me to keep you abreast of healthcare news seems redundant, given the vast sea of people reporting on it. I am going to be putting all my efforts into the new Rainshadow Journal (www.rainshadowjournal.com ). We will be instituting ongoing coverage of the kind of non Covid related news you have come to expect from this site. Please swing over and try out Rainshadow. It is all local Olympic Peninsula, has a great group of writers, and while it won’t be daily healthcare news, it will cover the same topics we have been covering here as a category of their stories. Thanks for your support and see you under the Rainshadow!

The most remote emergency room: Life and death in rural America – Washington Post

The future of rural healthcare is emerging. It’s not patient friendly, but it’s the best way to solve a crisis that has been induced by government mismanagement of rural healthcare needs, continuing under the purposely destructive tactics of the Trump Administration. We have neglected to address the physician shortage, both in helping fund more medical students, along with making it almost impossible to have foreign trained doctors come into the country. Add to this that reimbursement rates are so poor that many doctors are against Medicare for All because it currently is a funding disaster for medical professionals and the hospitals that most work for.

A fascinating read.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/the-most-remote-emergency-room/2019/11/16/717d08e2-063e-11ea-b17d-8b867891d39d_story.html?wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

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