“Am I a bad person?” Why one mom didn’t take her kid to the ER — even after poison control said to. Vox

I’ve heard this very refrain from single parents, especially moms. We have to make it clear that lower income people can come to our hospital without fearing being made bankrupt by a bill.

“I was sitting there thinking, am I a bad person?” Clark says. “I’m weighing my daughter’s life against how much the bill is going to cost.”

https://www.vox.com/health-care/2019/5/10/18526696/health-care-costs-er-emergency-room

Many Hospitals Charge Double or Even Triple What Medicare would pay – NY Times

While our PT hospital is not named in this study, this article is relevant because Jefferson Healthcare is *allowed* to charge much higher rates that competing hospitals, since we are deemed “rural”. Yes, it’s strange that a hospital only 60 miles from a gigantic urban center could be considered rural, but that is what it is. And given the experiences that myself and others I’ve interviewed have shown, JHC is significantly overcharging for many of it’s procedures. The medical staff (doctors, PAs etc) are not aware of the pricing, as it’s all done by the billing department. But the watchword is that if you are going to go in for any kind of procedure that allows you the time to shop around, do so. I have been quoted $500 for a three view x-ray, and Sequim quoted me $250 while Poulsbo quoted me $150 and I ended up paying less than $50.

It is important to note that Medicare does *NOT* pay enough to make many hospitals profitable, or even break even. There is a very real threat to JHC if the Medicare For All proposals of Bernie Sanders and others are actually put into law, without government funding for hospitals that care for high Medicare/Medicaid populations, such as Jefferson County. We could lose our hospital under a badly implemented M4A.

Governor Inslee signs bill on medical debt collection. ACA News

New requirements on legal filings and medical debt collection take effect July 28.

Very good news for consumers. Main point is that hospitals are required to wait 120 days after initial billing statement has been transmitted before selling the debt. It’s not a panacea but it is an improvement. This is another consumer benefit done because of a Democratic governor and Legislature. Fighting for consumer rights.

Debt collectors licensed in Washington have new requirements in effect this summer for filing legal summons and the timing for medical debt collections; matters members of the Washington Collectors Association testified on during the legislative session.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed H.B. 1066, requiring debt collection complaints to be filed prior to service of summons and complaint; and H.B. 1531 , concerning medical debt, on April 30.

Read the whole story here.

https://www.acainternational.org/news/washington-governor-signs-bills-on-debt-collection

Healthcare Bills in WA State legislature

Dear Persons Who Care About Healthcare —
Three bills are making their way through Olympia and have a chance at passage this session. WA has a one-stop website where you can look up the information, read the bill, and comment on it.

Go to:  https://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/

Type in the number of the bill.  (HB stands for House Bill, SB is for the Senate. If you type in 1523 the website also shows the link to the corresponding bill, which in this case would be 5526.)

Just below the name and summary of the bill is a green box labeled “Comment on this bill.”

You type in your address to validate your district, then it pulls up your elected officials. Click on all of them to send the same comments. And if you don’t want to comment, you can click the box for “support” and send it on its way.

Please read the bills and send your support, and get everyone you know to comment. 

HB 1523/SB 5526—Relating to increasing availability of quality affordable health coverage in the individual market. 1523 Passed House, 3/8.  Public hearing in Senate Health and Long Term Care 3/20, 1:30. 4/5 Public hearing in Senate Committee Ways & Means. 4/6 Public Hearing House Committee on Appropriations

(This one props up the WA ACA plans.) 

HB 1612/SB 5602—Provide maximum access to reproductive health care and reproductive health care coverage for all in WA.  5602  Passed Senate 3/7.  Public Hearing in House Committee on Health Care and Wellness 3/20, 1:30 pm. 4/6 Public hearing House Committee on Appropriations.

(With the threats to Title X funding, this is important for women’s health.)

HB 1877/SB 5822—Providing a pathway to establish a universal health care system for the residents of Washington State. 5822 Passed Senate 3/13; 1streading in House Health Care and Wellness Committee 3/15. 4/6 Scheduled for public hearing in House Committee on Appropriations.

(This is a longer term approach to set up the trust that would fund a WA-only universal health care program.)

EVENT: National Medicare For All Discussion

Saturday, MARCH 30
National Medicare For All
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Sanctuary
2333 San Juan ~ Port Townsend
Hosted by: National Nurses United and Olympic Peninsula Progressives

Guest Speakers:
 Rick Doherty, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.C.M.G. Retired Medical School Professor, Medical and Molecular Geneticist, Toxicologist, Physician

Craig Ritchie J.D., BPharm, former Sequim City Attorney, former Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney, Instructor in Pharmacy Law, Licensed Pharmacist