Jefferson County Dems endorse all candidates.

In a high spirited meeting running over three hours, Jefferson County Democrats endorsed all candidates presented on their slate. The entire list can be viewed under the tab at the top of this page, titled 2018 Elections.

The three candidates that drew the most debate were Joe Nole for Sheriff, Maria Cantwell for Senator and Derek Kilmer for House of Representatives.

The debate on Joe Nole’s endorsement came from a group of people who brought up issues that had happened under his temporary leadership as interim sheriff in the months before Dave Stanko’s election. They also discussed issues of aggressive policing, (not by Joe but by officers under his command at that point) and positions that Joe was claimed to have made. They also were in support of Sheriff Stanko. Ultimately, a series of speakers who have worked with Mr. Nole, including outgoing County Commissioner Kathleen Kler, allowed for a clear win for endorsement.

Opposition to Derek Kilmer came from what is known as the “Progressives”, who primarily were supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders. They identified a number of issues that Rep. Kilmer has not taken a stand on, or has supported. Single Payer Healthcare, bills that supported Israel to the exclusion of Palestinians, and his vote supporting the massive recent military budget (HR5515) and tax bills, which far exceeded the demands of President Trump. To be clear, many Democrats ended up supporting the bills as there were numerous items added that they requested. Representative Kilmer also has not achieved anything of substance around the expansion of the Navy airbase and it’s subsequent noise issues for the entire north Sound and Strait. He has done nothing of substance to also protect the west end of the Olympic Peninsula from being used as a Navy training ground with low flying jets over the west side of the Olympic National Park. These issues have engendered huge meeting turnouts and thousands of letters of support for him to take action. However, as of this writing, his efforts have seemed very unsubstantial.  Representative Kilmer  has been endorsed 100% by Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and to a lesser degree, by the ACLU (88%) and The League for Conservation Voters (92%). His entire voting record can be viewed here:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/derek_kilmer/412583

Similar issues were raised about Senator Maria Cantwell. Senator Cantwell did vote no on the Defense Appropriations Act. Senator Cantwell has been endorsed 100% by Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and to a lesser degree, by the ACLU (88%) and The League for Conservation Voters (91%). Her voting record can be found at

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/maria_cantwell/300018

Supporters of the two argued for Democratic unity in the face of goals to take back the House and Senate, along with positive bills that both had supported. Ultimately, both easily won endorsement.

 

 

 

 

Lisa Holt resigns from Jefferson Healthcare

Jefferson County Healthcare announced the resignation of Lisa Holt, chief ancillary officer for the hospital. Ms Holt, had been with JHC since May 2013, according to her profile on LinkedIn. Prior to that she had been Nursing Director of Education at Centura Institute in Orlando Florida. There was no word on what Ms. Holt will be doing next. But the unexpected resignation and her immediate leaving the senior position seemed difficult to understand, since she appeared to have a very positive relationship with the rest of the Senior Leadership Group surrounding Mr. Glenn. There was no one immediately named as a successor.  It would seem that Mr. Glenn would have wanted her to help with a transition period, and that JHC would have made an announcement thanking her for her work. As of Monday morning, her photograph had been removed from the JHC web site leadership team.

Turnover at JHC appears to above average. Mr. Glenn has admitted to turnover being an issue in public meetings in the past few years.  However, it has never apparently been a significant issue in his reviews, completed by the Hospital Commissioners.

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.

 

 

 

Jefferson Healthcare running in red for first half of year

At the July 25th Hospital Commissioners meeting, CFO Hillary Whittington laid out the current fiscal situation to the Commissioners. She stated that the hospital would need approximately $540k by end of the year to break even.   They are expecting approximately  $1M from Medicare billing, but will still have the shortfall.

“(We need to ) Improve our business practice by about $540k by the end of the year.” She went on to discuss where the cuts to the budget would have to come. “It sounds like a lot of money, but when you look at overtime premium pay, supplies and professional fees and services…I have no doubt we can find $540k.”

In the first half of the year, the hospital has paid for a number of expensive consultants, along with a new paging system for doctors, even with the known shortfall looming. Now, the front line that addresses patient needs will be the area cut back due to the shortfall.

Newly elected Commissioner McComas, who touted his financial acumen during his bitter election fight, had nothing to ask of Ms. Whittington. Neither did Commissioner Kolff. When asked for comment about the situation, Mr. Kolff said that “Budget shortfalls are a concern to all, ” and declined to comment further

Additionally, the hospital is planning to open a retail outpatient pharmacy inside the hospital. While there are valid reasons that the hospital gives for the move, (i.e. making sure patients fill their prescriptions before leaving the hospital) the move could threaten the well loved Don’s Pharmacy and the relationship of the hospital to Safeway. Some critics see it as a move to capture the lucrative federal money known as 340B money that currently is handed over to Safeway for fulfilling low income prescriptions. The controversy over 340B is that the money was originally intended to be given *directly* to low income consumers to shop for the best deal, but instead has been co-opted by hospitals and pharmacies as a separate revenue stream. Pharmaceutical companies have been lobbying Congress for a few years now to kill the 340B program. The hospital has a special accounting bucket for the money it makes off the 340B program.

Additionally at an earlier meeting in the year the JHC pharmacist indicated that the hospital’s expansion of it’s cancer treatment centers will allow it to capture more of the money made from chemo treatments. How this all helps lower costs for Jefferson County residents who own the hospital is not clear. No discussion was made of the effect on local pharmacies nor of using other low cost providers such as online, Costco or Walmart to fulfill the need. Apparently the hospital executives and commissioners felt that adding headcount to create the pharmacy was creating a valuable enough revenue stream to allow it to go forward, while cutting the overtime and budgets of the front line staff.

 

Lack of local SANE staff leads to conviction of rape to be overturned- PT Leader

One of the most significant healthcare issues in the county is a lack of a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) on the staff of Jefferson Healthcare. Behind the scenes a number of women have been meeting with our elected officials and members of Jefferson Healthcare to address this problem. While the following court case has more issues than just a lack of a SANE staff member, it does point out that without one, a man convicted of rape might be freed even if the victim knows him and can make the claim that he did the rape.
The problem with attempting to do what Mr. Haas said to do, is that the closest SANE trained staff is in Kitsap county. It is not likely that a victim is going to feel like driving or being driven just after being raped, to a distant county to be treated by staff and perhaps police who may or may not be supportive of her claims is not a reasonable request.
It seems that this case should be a reason that the public come to an upcoming Jefferson Healthcare Commission meeting and demand that JHC implement a SANE as quickly as possible. It could be your child, grandchild or partner next.
On April 26, Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper ordered those charges be dismissed without prejudice, after Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Haas moved to dismiss the case April 25, “due to a number of evidentiary problems,” according to Haas’ declaration of counsel filed with the court.
In the declaration, Haas wrote the alleged victim should have been sent to a sexual assault nurse examiner “almost immediately” after law enforcement received reports of sexual assault on her.

One-of-a kind collaboration expected to train health care workers on Peninsula – PDN

This is a great idea to try and work to train and bring on qualified local people quickly.  Thanks to the Littlejohns and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe for also helping to fund the initiative. Jefferson Healthcare has tried with little success to find medical professionals willing to relocate here for the long term. I personally have seen them pass over qualified local candidates in favor of people from elsewhere, only to see them leave after a few years of work here. Now this program presents the opportunity to grow candidates on the peninsula, which is far more likely to having them stay for the long haul. A good use of our tax dollars, I’d say.

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College is teaming up with health care providers from Clallam and Jefferson counties in a wide-ranging $1 million effort funded by state lawmakers, the college foundation, local hospitals and others. The goal: Add registered nurses, medical assistants and certified nursing assistants to a rural medical industry workforce on the North Olympic Peninsula that is typically starving for job applicants.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/one-of-a-kind-collaboration-expected-to-train-health-care-workers-on-peninsula/

John Nowak named CHIP executive director

After the sudden departure of Senovia Ewers from both the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and from any work with the hospital or the Health Department, John Nowak has been named the new director.  He will be partnering with an unnamed member of the Health Department to complete the work started by Ms. Ewers. There was no mention in the announcement of what led up to Ms. Ewers leaving. This reporter had talked to her the day she resigned, and at that conversation things seemed to be going well, and she was looking forward to work. She had expressed appreciation for the article that I wrote for The Leader.

It’s unfortunate that the ongoing issue  of staff retention at Jefferson Healthcare seems to be continuing. It was expressed by Mike Glenn at a meeting some time back that it was his number one priority. I’ve not seen any new stats lately to show that he has been successful in stemming the tide. It doesn’t seem to phase the ever positive Hospital Commissioners. They continue to vote Mike pay increases and rarely raise an issue of concern about his performance.

We wish Jon and his unnamed team member good luck on finishing the update to the CHIP.