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.

https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/in-win-for-hospitals-supreme-court-rules-dsh-change-violated-law/556054/

“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

Taking Surprise Medical Bills to Court – NY Times

With a growing number of people being sent to collections here in Jefferson County by JHC, this article points out a very interesting issue of whether the “contract” between a patient (especially one coming into an E.R.) and the hospital is a legal and binding contract for billing purposes. Can you have a binding agreement if the client/consumer doesn’t know the price they are paying when they sign the consent agreement?

 

Need for high school clinic supplies

UPDATE:THANKS TO YOUR EFFORTS

THIS HAS BEEN FUNDED!

The cause: Jefferson’s Public Health clinics have an opportunity to replace ancient equipment with refurbished items at a bargain basement rate, for which they have no budget.

When students need counseling or help with family planning products, human papillomava virus (HPV) vaccinations, testing for sexually transmitted disease (STDs), and other more routine health problems, these services are provided discreetly and with great care by specially trained Public Health (PH) nurses. No other state high schools on the Olympic Peninsula provide these essential services. Jefferson County PH runs on a shoestring budget, always a little short of their needs.

You can help, now.

Our new project is local, but critical to getting appropriate health care to un-insured or under-insured Public Health patients, especially those in the high school clinics.

The goal is to raise $3k so they can acquire a new exam table (the current one is still in use but is dangerous and uncomfortable for large people) and replace a very old autoclave that is used to sterilize IUD insertion packs and reusable speculums. Normally, these items would cost many thousands of dollars, but PH connected with a company that refurbishes equipment so that it sells for a more reasonable price. These deals are only available this summer.

The best part is – you can donate to this cause through Public Health directly. (see below) and your contribution is tax-deductible.

Generous local donors have already raised $10k for the Greater Northwest Planned Parenthood last fall. Now, let’s help our local family planning providers.  Send your donation to:

School-based clinic supplies

J.C.P.H. – 615 Sheridan, PT, WA 98368

Thank you for supporting Port Townsend’s family planning services for women and girls.

Please send your check as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Abuse of 340B Program Impacts Patient Care -Oncology Nursing News

Jefferson Healthcare and many other rural hospitals, take advantage of a Federal program called 340B.

As the article states:

This little-known federal program was created to help uninsured or vulnerable patients get access valuable medications regardless of their abilities to pay. This was done by providing certain participating hospitals or safety net clinics with discounted medicines. The 340B program has become an extremely important program for patients in need in this era of unaffordable and unsustainable drug prices.

The article lays out the problems with the 340B program and how some hospitals are abusing it to help themselves remain profitable.

While the point of sharing this article is not to infer that Jefferson Healthcare is in any way one of the ‘bad actors’ in the 340B debate, this article gives the average person a very good quick overview of the controversy.  The battle over 340B is playing out in Congress, and it’s outcome will affect JHC. JHC does a great deal charity care, including use of 340B funds, and the program to offer charity care has been recently reformatted to allow people who do not have the means to afford to get needed care. (More on that can be found at the JHC website, JHC Charity Care overview )

I will be looking into the local ramifications of this issue in upcoming months, and should have a more comprehensive overview on them  later.

But for now. Here’s a good quote:

For too many hospitals, the 340B program has become a road to profits, not a safety net and not a way to expand charity care for uninsured, indigent patients. For too many patients, particularly those with cancer, the 340B program has not reduced their cost of care 1 cent.

Read the whole opinion piece here:

https://www.oncnursingnews.com/web-exclusives/abuse-of-340b-program-impacts-patient-care

 

 

 

340B is a well-intentioned drug discount program gone awry -Stat Magazine

There have been questions raised here in Jefferson County about the issues that are covered in this article. A good example is the following statement:

A study in the journal Health Services Research examined the impact of the 340B program on the cost of cancer care. It found that hospital participation in the program is associated with a shift of patients’ care from more affordable physician offices to more expensive hospital outpatient care centers, contributing to market-wide increases in per-patient spending.

https://www.statnews.com/2018/03/22/340b-drug-discount-program-gone-awry/

Bad bedside manner: Bank loans signed in the hospital leave patients vulnerable – Seattle Times/Kaiser Health News

Just when we think the American healthcare system can’t get any worse, hospitals and banks figure out a way to take us further into debt. Just what a person who is brought into the ER wants to see, a banker show up. It’s like a sick joke.

Here’s a very telling stat from this article: In 2016, the federal government estimates, consumers spent $352.5 billion out-of-pocket on health care.

We *think* we have it good. We could have paid for universal healthcare with that amount.  You are essentially being taxed on that money, but it accrues to the sickest of us and the bulk of that money is spent in the last 6 months of life. To put it in perspective the US spent $584 B on defense, $588B on Medicare and $368B on Medicaid.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/bad-bedside-manner-bank-loans-signed-in-the-hospital-leave-patients-vulnerable/