Supplements and diets for heart health show limited proof of benefit. NY Times

It’s always interesting to see that many of the supposed benefits of these supplements are once again debunked by scientific study.

“People who are taking these supplements for the sake of improving their cardiovascular health are wasting their money,” said Dr. Safi U. Khan, an assistant professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine and the lead author of the new study.

Drug prices in 2019 are surging, with hikes at 5 times inflation – CBS News

It’s interesting timing that Jefferson Healthcare is going into the pharmacy business, just as drug prices are surging. Draw your own conclusions.

So far in 2019, more than 3,400 drugs have boosted their prices, a 17% increase compared with the roughly 2,900 drug price increases at the same time in 2018, according to a new analysis by Rx Savings Solutions, a consultant to health plans and employers.

Don’t Tell Me When I’m Going to Die – NY Times

Having watched as a number of loved ones have had to make this decision as to hearing a prognosis, this article does a good job of covering issues faced by terminally ill patients. While I accept the author’s idea that “maybe it’s better not to know” my experience has shown that there is a downside to that, which is denial. My late wife was in denial of her death to the detriment of focusing on quality time with her loved ones. It was not good for our son. It also put me, as the caregiver, in the position of not ‘supporting’ her possible recovery. It would have been much better for all of us if she had been more willing to accept that it was unlikely that she would recover, and focus on healing along with preparing to end her life with dignity.

Prognoses are more of an art than a science. Maybe it’s better not to know.

Trump order to force hospitals to reveal information behind negotiated rates – Healthcare Dive

So as the article states, this is yet another federal idea that will help large hospitals and insurance companies, and likely to hurt smaller more expensive hospitals. (like Jefferson Healthcare). However, in general pricing transparency is a good thing.

“In our view, the pricing transparency is likely to result in contract rates converging to the mean while the largest hospitals with local market power will see less impact,” they wrote.

UnitedHealth’s acquisition of DaVita physician group gets FTC approval -Healthcare Dive

Why should this concern us? Well because DaVita is/was the sole provider of dialysis on the west side of the Sound. This puts all our kidney healthcare from a Doctor owned corporation to the largest payer of insurance claims in the world. What could be a downside? Well, remember that the main problem today for patients is getting payers to agree to pay. This drives a huge growing segment of the market, diabetes and the related kidney failure that accompanies it in it’s final stages, into the hands of the people deciding who pays. I can’t tell you how many horror stories I’ve heard of medical providers having to fight over procedures, some life threatening, with mid level clerks on a phone line somewhere, who simply follow guidelines and won’t pay for certain procedures, despite the medical providers insistence. And there is no appeal process.

Do you want some minimal wage desk jockey with no medical training telling you that you can’t have a life saving procedure that your doctor insists is needed? That’s what this merger moves us even closer to. You can bet your bottom dollar that Senator Mitch McConnell will never have to face that kind of choice. We need single payer and it needs to be managed by the government. We cannot continue to rely on for profit businesses to determine what they will pay for when it comes to our health. That used to be and should be your doctors choice.

Read the whole story here:

Jefferson HealthCare’s new dental clinic to have an open house Tuesday

Many of us healthcare activists and others in this town have identified emergency dental needs (previous CHIP efforts highlighted it) and have advocated for creation of this to fill in a huge gap for low income people.

With help from the legislature and guidance from Jefferson Healthcare, it has finally come to fruition.

Jefferson Healthcare is home to the first Rural Health Dental Clinic in Washington State.  The clinic co-located in the Sheridan Medical Office Building which currently houses primary care and behavioral health offers patients dental services integrated with other aspects of health care.  An Open House for the new clinic will be held Tuesday, June 18, 3:30 pm at 915 Sheridan Street, Port Townsend.

The new dental clinic offers hygiene appointments which include comprehensive oral exams, x-rays, periodontal exams and cavity fills.  The clinic’s primary goal is to serve children and adults on Medicaid/Washington State Apple Health; this population often has a difficult time finding local, convenient dental care.  The new clinic will fill that gap by serving an estimated 3,000 children and adults annually in the six-chair office.

Dental care for Medicaid patients and the under and un-insured is one of the most critical health needs in east Jefferson County. Jefferson Healthcare will be the first Rural Health Clinic (RHC) in WA State to offer dental services.  This innovative solution of integrating dental services into primary care clinics operating as RHCs will leverage the recent changes to the WA State Medicaid program which now allow RHCs to bill an encounter rate rather than a fee-for-service rate for dental services.  The changes to the WA State Medicaid program will allow for Jefferson Healthcare to provide dental care to the most vulnerable in the community who often are forced to delay care until they go to the emergency department. “The integration of our new dental clinic with primary care and behavioral health utilizes a whole person care concept.  Our staff is ready to serve the needs of our community, focus on prevention and life-style and offer compassionate care to all of our dental patients,” says Dr. William Catelli, DDS, dental director.

This project has been made possible with support from the Taxpayers of Washington State, Washington State Hospital Association, Washington State Legislators, Washington State Department of Health, the Arcora Foundation, Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and the Dental Trade Alliance Foundation. Jefferson Healthcare acknowledges the Washington State District 24 Legislative Delegation, Representatives Tharinger and Chapman, and Senator Van De Wege, for their vision in identifying the need for dental services in Jefferson County and their support in moving this work forward.

The clinic is currently accepting appointments with the estimated opening date of Monday, June 24.  Appointments can be scheduled by calling 360.344.1005.  For community members seeking more information about financial options for health care please contact the Financial Counselors at Jefferson Healthcare 360.385.2200 ext 2267.

Democrats General Membership Mtg. 6/20

This is a way to talk to the people making the laws down in Olympia and locally for us. There was a great many healthcare bills put through this year. Steve and Mike will be able to discuss them, I’m sure Dave Sullivan is the county commissioner who most closely tracks healthcare issues.
The program portion of the JCD Democrat General Membership meeting on Thursday, June 20, will feature local elected officials.
The title of the June 20th program is State of the County and Legislative Updates, there will be seven presenters:
State Rep. Steve Tharinger
State Rep. Mike Chapman
County Commissioner 2 – Dave Sullivan
Treasurer, Stacy Prada
Assessor, Jeff Chapman
Auditor, Rose Ann Carroll
County Clerk Ruth Gordon

Please come out and support your elected officials and become better informed.

6:00 – 7:00 pm (PROGRAM)
7:00 PM – 8:30pm (BUSINESS MEETING)
620 Tyler St, Port Townsend, WA 98368, USA

New Medicare for All Bill Will Dramatically Revamp Health Care – TruthOut

This interview from last March, with Democratic Congressmember Pramila Jayapal of Washington is a very good explanation of what progressive Democrats are trying to accomplish. Congresswoman Jayapal has an excellent grasp of the facts of this issue, and while it’s unlikely to go anywhere now, it points to what we can expect if we work to recapture the Senate and Presidency. We have seen how much progress can be made by the work done by the Democrats here in Washington State in our last session. Now let’s take this to the Federal level.

I see no reason why we can’t demand single-payer for all, most of the medical professionals I know agree that it’s needed, and the incredible waste in our system shows that the Republicans are not interested in reducing government waste, which is a major platform plank that they run on.

More than 100 Democratic lawmakers are co-sponsoring a new House bill to dramatically revamp healthcare in the United States by creating a Medicare-for-all system funded by the federal government. This comes at a time when as many as 30 million Americans have no health insurance and tens of millions more are either underinsured or struggling to pay their health insurance premiums. We speak with Democratic Congressmember Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who announced the bill last week.

In win for hospitals, Supreme Court rules DSH change violated law – Healthcare Dive

The Supreme Court temporarily have saved hundreds of hospitals from losing substantial benefits to help Medicaid and uninsured patients. Justice Neil Gorsuch,writing for the majority, ordered Health and Human Services to go back and get written comment from the public.

This is the outcome of voters electing a Republican Congress and President who are only out to slash costs regardless of the outcome to hospitals and patients. If this goes through, look for even more critical care hospitals to shutdown.

Physician revenues have jumped 52% since 2016 – Healthcare Dive

It would be interesting to know how much Physician revenues are up here at Jefferson Healthcare.

Physician revenue is growing in tandem with utilization, driven in part by an aging population presenting increasingly complex conditions.

Cardiologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons and cardiovascular surgeons are the highest revenue-generators among their peers, each netting more than $3 million a year for their hospitals, according to the survey.