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.

PT Leader highlights CEO Glenn in special section

In a unique new section in the Port Townsend Leader, reporter Allison Arthur interviewed the CEO of Jefferson Health Care, Mike Glenn. Mr. Glenn answered questions about changes over the years to JHC, the addition of much needed physicians to the mix, employee new hires, the creation of the women’s clinic, and financial viability of the hospital district among other topics.

Missing from the interview was any mention of the community actions behind JHC successes. Glenn states, “Our Women’s Clinic was the result of Jane Albee and several primary care providers who identified the need.” While I’m sure that Ms. Albee (ARNP) helped identify the need, there has been an active group of mainly women in this community that has had to push JHC to make this clinic a reality. The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) and Community Health Assessment (CHA) that was done in the last 10 years, included over 100 community members (including Mr. Glenn and many employees of JHC). The CHA identified women’s health needs in their assessment, as Mr. Glenn knows. Also, the latest sliding scale pricing that the hospital put into practice, which is very commendable, came about from a committee composed of both hospital staff and community members and was formed in reaction to outside public pressure on JHC to change their charity care process.

Speaking of the CHIP and the CHA, Mr. Glenn did not mention that there is a newly hired person to run the next CHA and update the CHIP. Ms. Ewers-Garcia, who was hired jointly by the city, public health and JHC is just now starting up another community health assessment. Mr. Glenn might have mentioned that in the article as it was an opportunity to get the community involved again.

Mr. Glenn mentioned that since 2015 they have added 29 providers, yet failed to mention that in public meetings this reporter has attended, Mr. Glenn identified turnover as the biggest single problem in the hospital.  It’s hard to understand whether this number  was actually net new hires, or simply replacing outgoing staff. Certainly we are seeing a few new providers in the new walk in clinic, and that’s commendable.

This hospital district is somewhat unique, in that it’s a public hospital, owned by the community. The community is very much involved in guiding (and sometimes pushing) the hospital district and it’s commissioners in a direction that answers needs. It’s worth remembering that Mr. Glenn’s salary is about $60,000 more than the governor of the state, and while we are happy overall with his performance, seeing improvements to the hospital facility, a dedication to opening new clinics and the like, it’s important to note that JHC is often pricing these services at much higher rates than competing facilities in Silverdale and Seattle, and as such, if you need services, have a high deductible and are not in an emergency situation, you should shop around.

 

 

 

Jefferson Healthcare – Free Menopause Discussion Group

News Release – For Immediate Release

Contact: Elizabeth Clapp, Practice Manager Women’s Health Clinic, 360.344.0403

Port Townsend, WA Jefferson Healthcare Women’s Health Clinic is hosting a five week discussion for pre and menopausal women. Starting February 23, and continuing March 2, March 9, March 23 and March 30 from noon to 1:00 pm in the Women’s Health Clinic on the main campus. The best treatment for menopause is information. Topics to be explored in a supportive atmosphere with other women include: menopause overview, managing menopause with hormones, sexual health, pelvic health and other medical impacts of menopause. All registered participants receive a complimentary copy of the Menopause Guidebook.

The group is facilitated by Jefferson Healthcare’s Jane Albee, ARNP and Certified Menopause Practitioner through the North American Menopause Society. Jane has been a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner for thirty-five years. Prior to moving to the Olympic Peninsula in 1991, Jane worked in college Health. Jane was the clinic manager for the Hall Health Women’s clinic at the University of Washington in the 1980s. She also started the college health service for the University of Alaska, Juneau. Before coming to work with Jefferson Healthcare, Jane worked with Dr. Robert Palmer in private gynecology practice for twenty years. Jane’s interests include mid-life health, menopause, hormone therapy, diagnosing and treating difficult vaginal conditions, sexual concerns and contraceptive issues. She offers menopause support and educational talks to groups as a service to the community.

Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 month. It is the time in a woman’s life when the function of the ovaries ceases. The process of menopause is gradual and the perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman. The average age of menopause is 51 years old, but menopause may occur as early as the 30s or as late as the 60s. “Education and support from other women is the best medicine for menopause,” says Jane Albee, ARNP.

Jefferson Healthcare (Jefferson County Public Hospital District No. 2) is a DNV accredited, fully integrated health care system providing services to over 29,000 residents of east Jefferson County on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. The hospital is a 25-bed, critical access care hospital with complete 24 hour coverage by a physician staff of hospitalists. Top rated surgical services include: emergency department, laboratory services, swing bed unit, the latest in digital imaging and a comprehensive array of respiratory, physical, speech and occupational rehabilitation therapies. In addition, Jefferson Healthcare has clinics located in and around the hospital which include a full service orthopedic clinic and an accredited oncology clinic administering infusion services of chemotherapy, immunotherapy and other treatments. Outpatient Specialty Clinics provide wound care, sleep medicine, Coumadin and anticoagulation services. Jefferson Healthcare has the latest equipment in diagnostic imaging for outpatient and inpatient radiology services. The seven primary care clinics and the Surgery and Endoscopy Center are located near the hospital in Port Townsend and in the surrounding areas of Port Ludlow and Quilcene. Primary care clinics provide pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics, women’s health and internal medicine. Additional Specialty Clinics provide cardiology and pulmonary, nephrology and urological surgery and pelvic floor reconstruction. A broad range of support groups and community education programs to round out Jefferson Healthcare’s total approach to patient wellness. Jefferson Healthcare ensures no person shall be discriminated against on the basis of age, race, color, creed, ethnicity, religion, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran or military status, or any other basis prohibited by federal, state, or local law.

Jefferson Healthcare Opens Express Clinic

Jefferson Healthcare has entered the new year with some positive announcements for primary care needs in the county. The Hospital district has announced a new Express Clinic, opening on February 5th. It will be open from 10AM to 8PM 365 days a year.

The goal is to provide same – day medical care for non-emergency health conditions, including minor cuts and injuries, mild respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary symptoms. This is clinic is in addition to the normal primary care office.

The services provided will be billed at the same rate as your primary care clinic visits.

Patients will be seen in the order of their arrival and no appointments are available.

You do not need to be an existing patient of the primary care clinics to use this facility.  The announcement recommends that you call the standard clinic first, to determine whether you should go to the new express clinic or not. The new clinic will be staffed by Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners.  The hospital will phase out the old walk in clinic in favor of this new one.

This is all separate from the free standing Madrona Hill Urgent Care clinic that still exists on the first floor of the building at 2500 W. Sims Way, as you enter Port Townsend.

There is a huge shortage of Primary Care providers in both the U.S. and Canada. This is partially due to the fact that primary care Physicians make less than their counterparts in specialties so students often don’t follow that path. Insurance companies do not reimburse at rates that make the profession seem attractive. The push by government and insurance payers to reward the primary care physician for more wholistic patient health, while still refusing to allow the provider to attend to more than one issue at a visit is very frustrating to providers I’ve talked to.  It takes a dedicated young person to decide to choose that route, however it is in many ways extremely rewarding. It would be a very good idea for the government to offer incentives to students to go into primary care as well as revisit the issue of provider reimbursals, case loads and ability to investigate multiple issues at a visit.


 

Additionally, the hospital district has announced the addition of a husband and wife team of physicians. Chyrstal and David Schwartz have joined the staff.

Dr. Chrystal Schwartz has joined the Primary Care group and obstetrics. Dr. David Schwartz works at the Surgical Associates, specializing in general surgery and endoscopy.

This is not the first time husband/wife teams have been hired by the hospital.

 

Jefferson Healthcare hospital institutes sliding fee scale – PDN

Over the last number of years, a variety of people have petitioned JHC to look into their practices of charity care along with their collections policies that have resulted in people being sent to court and into bankruptcy over relatively small amounts (some have been larger amounts, to be sure).

Members of the Local 2020 group, Citizens Healthcare Access (CHA) went so far as to go to court to obtain records of collections as the hospital was unwilling to share them with the public (shocking coming  from a public hospital).

With citizens groups and some Hospital Commissioners agitating for transparency and better charity care clarity, the hospital finally convened a Patient Financial Experience Task Force, which worked for months in secrecy over their goals. Steve Workman, a citizen activist who often attends the CHA meetings, along with now Hospital Commissioner Bruce McComas were members of the task force.

The new sliding scale has allowed greater flexibility and transparency to low income and no income households. While some online critics are criticizing the program as “too generous” this is being implemented for people who, at these levels, simply do not have a way to pay for services without bankrupting their families. It still allows for the hospital to setup payment schedules for those that may have savings or other financial resources.  If they did not have these options, the only other options for these people are simply to not seek care for themselves and their children, leaving them to suffer rather than receive care. (I have talked to single moms working two or three jobs who had to make the choice of putting food on the table or seeking healthcare for their sick children.)

The sliding scale is not new at JHC. But they have expanded and clarified it. The next issue to address is the lack of transparency on pricing. While it’s good to be able to know that even if you can’t afford care you can be worked into the system, the ability to know what you are going to be charged before seeking care is also pretty fundamental to a free and open market. Utimately, the best option is universal healthcare, or some kind of single payers system. We built our interstate systems across the country on the taxes that *all* taxpayers paid. There is a deep and proven set of systems in industrialized countries like ours that do single payer, in fact we are the only ones that don’t. The results do not prove that we are better, our stats prove we are much worse than other countries in the standards of care and longevity.  Most people in the US have never even experienced single payer (I have).  It’s shocking to see what we have setup and how badly it compares to others, even Canada.

Jefferson Healthcare hospital has implemented a new sliding fee scale for charity care that is helping more families pay for their health care.

“This is currently one of the most generous plans in the state,” said Amy Yaley, spokeswoman for Jefferson Healthcare. “For the people that we are providing health care for, we are definitely making an impact on their financial burden.”

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/hospital-institutes-sliding-fee/