Medicare proposal bad news for OMC, says CEO – PDN

So here comes the first of many negative changes to the health care from the Republican dominated Congress. There is still a chance this won’t be implemented, but don’t bet on it. Americans have put these people into office, they have taken away the government’s ability to negotiate drug prices and now are going to take away the funds needed to protect the most helpless of us from losing their medications.

PORT ANGELES — In the first six months of 2017, Olympic Medical Center reported a $1.1 million loss in revenue, and it could face more financial setbacks next year if Medicare weakens a discount drug program, Chief Executive Officer Eric Lewis said.

You may need to sign up for a subscription to read this, but please do. Support your local newspaper or you may find it gone!

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/medicare-proposal-bad-news-for-omc-says-ceo/

Cheri Van Hoover picks up Planned Parenthood Endorsement

This is an significant endorsement.
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii has honored Cheri with their endorsement.  They stated, “you have been a strong supporter of women’s health and equality and we know you will continue to be a dedicated advocate. We are thrilled to announce your endorsement.”

Get your ballot in the mail before the August 1st deadline.

First Hospital District Commissioner Candidate Forum!

The race for Jefferson County Hospital District Commissioner is perhaps the most contentious ballot position open this coming fall. With three candidates, a primary will be held with ballots being shipped out on July 12th. Much is at stake, as the Hospital District is facing enormous challenges in the next few years with anticipated cutbacks by the Republican controlled Congress and President Trump. Medicare and Medicaid cuts loom, which supply a large percentage of the hospital districts’ reimbursals. So looking towards a new Hospital District Commissioner is important, as they will likely be leading work guiding the hospital administration forward in whatever changes are in store.

With those concerns in mind, that’s why a full house of approximately 20 people showed up for a Hospital District Commissioner candidate forum held by the Jefferson Citizens Healthcare Access group (CHA). CHA is a subgroup of Local2020 and is made up of concerned individuals and representatives of community groups, such as Indivisible PT Huddle, Jefferson County Health Department, The Olympic Community of Health, the hospital administration, ex-healthcare industry professionals as well as others.  These representatives were there on behalf of many dozens of other county citizens, patients and providers.

The three candidates all fielded a wide range of questions on their backgrounds, why they feel they are the right candidates, beliefs in priorities and goals for the county hospital district. The CHA group spent one and a half hours with the candidates, which gave plenty of time to let them introduce themselves to the audience and explain their positions.

All three candidates have significant backgrounds in community health issues for Jefferson County and long time involvement in the community.

Cheri Van Hoover who lives in the Chimicum area, brings the longest record of actually providing healthcare to patients, as a Registered nurse, ARNP, midwife, and mental health clinic counselor.  She also teaches healthcare policy for Philadelphia College and has written award winning articles on midwifery & women’s healthcare. She  has run several small businesses over 40 years.

Bruce McComas brings the most background in corporate management from his experience managing the mill and it’s hundreds of employees. This included working on providing healthcare for the employees. He also is currently involved in volunteer hospital committees exploring issues relevant to patient access and quality control. He was a member of the PT school board between 1993 and 2000. He was voted “Citizen of the Year” in 2008. He currently works for a management consulting firm. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration.

Bernie Donanberg brings significant mental healthcare management experience both here on the Peninsula and on the north I-5 corridor.  He has a master’s degree in psychology and worked  as a child therapist. He stated that he was bringing experience that could help with the upcoming purchase of the Discovery Behavioral Healthcare, as he has been a clinical director in the past. He expressed concern about the lack of co-location of mental health from the hospital. He is retired.

There were few surprises in the forum. Ms. Van Hoover and Mr. Donanberg expressed support for Single Payer Health Care while Mr. McComas said he supports universal healthcare. Ms Van Hoover pointed out that it was not likely to be an issue that the local Commissioners would be able to help implement a single payer system without state wide support.

Mr. Donanberg’s response to questions on his support of universal healthcare coverage was that he had questions about how  to achieve the goal given funding levels. He then suggested that we could look to implement some kind of universal funding by having the county run an “insurance pool”. Further details need to be supplied to help us understand that idea.

Ms. Van Hoover stated that she did not see a way for the county to provide this kind of funding level in some kind of insurance pool.

Mr. McComas stated he didn’t have an answer to how create Universal Coverage, and reinforced that by saying that even the best minds in politics hadn’t yet either, but he thought it could be implemented by looking to “quality improvements” as a way to lower costs.

When asked  about what he as a commissioner could bring to the table, Mr. McComas stated, “How do you do more with less.” He provided no details about what areas of the hospital might be looked at on this issue. Mr. McComas stated that he saw the role as overseeing performance, financial oversight and customer advocacy. He said that safety, quality of service and affordability were his main concerns.

Ms. Van Hoover stressed that the Commissioner role was not a management role, but a role of guidance and policy, two of her strengths.  She said that she would bring more adherence to public process and discussion on all topics. She expressed concern with the lack of public input some of the current commissioners seemed to feel was adequate.

Perhaps the biggest difference mentioned over the issue of what could be an issue added to  the Commissioners portfolio was when asked the same question Mr. Donanberg stated that he would have the Commissioners look into the issue of early childhood immunizations. He stated he does not support infant vaccinations around the time of birth, saying it was “wrong and that there are other methods of supporting immunization.” He admitted he did not immediately vaccinate his own children, but offered no scientific reasons as to why the community should support that.  The other two candidates did not  agree with that stand. It was pointed out that Jefferson County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the State, putting us at risk of an outbreak of diseases that are addressed by vaccinations.

Concerns were raised over rising prescription costs, but no candidate really came up with a solution to it that they supported. Mr. McComas stated that “I really am not knowledgeable on this issue.” Ms. Van Hoover said that she was concerned with rising prescription costs but did not see a way to solve the problem locally. She was more concerned with a lack of prescription delivery service in the south county as a local issue that could be addressed. She wondered whether the hospital district could look into better methods of delivery of medications  with the Quilcene Clinic. Her concern was forcing patients to drive to Port Townsend to fill prescriptions. Mr. Donanberg stated that buying via the Internet and other bulk buying options existed and should be further explored.

Additional concerns were raised by Ms. Van Hoover over the ongoing lack of primary care professionals and the turnover of many in the near past. She said she would focus on working with the hospital on retention and recruitment issues. None of the other candidates addressed this issue.

When asked about the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), a multiyear effort by the Hospital District to set healthcare goals, only Ms. Van Hoover had input on areas that could be improved on it, which she outlined were around a potential lack of continuing efforts to reduce teen pregnancy. The county alone has done a great job at lowering teen pregnancy but not including it in CHIP goals concerned her.

Mr. McComas stated that the CHIP was “very ambitious” and that the Hospital Commissioners were only “one part” of the effort. He offered no areas of it he would change.

 

Jul. 12: Ballots mailed
Jul. 24: Deadline for in-person registration – only for those not registered in WA State
Aug. 1: Election Day (Results at 8:00 p.m.)

Web Presence/More info: 

There is no web site for Bernard Donanberg. He will rely on the voter’s pamphlet mailed to county voters in a couple of weeks.

Web site of Cheri Van Hoover – https://www.facebook.com/Cheri-Van-Hoover-for-Community-Health-1879516315656505/

Web site of Bruce McComas  –   http://brucemccomas.org/

 

Bernie Donanberg – Candidate for Hospital Commissioner – Q&A Responses

Q and A Commissioner BRUCE CHA FINAL

Q and As Commissioner CHERI – Answered

 

Smilemobile in Port Townsend

From: Karri Amundson <KAMUNDSON@deltadentalwa.com>

Subject: SMILEMOBILE COMES TO PORT TOWNSEND

Date: June 9, 2017 at 3:00:24 PM PDT

 

Good Afternoon, 

I wanted to share with you that the SmileMobile will be in your community!

We have been partnering with the health department for years to bring the van and to address the oral health needs of Port Townsend and surrounding communities.

The SmileMobile is a 3 chair mobile dental van and will be parked near the Jefferson County Health Department (parking lot) the weeks of June 19  – 23 and 26 – 30. The SmileMobile (van) is 39 ft. long with two slide outs and three dental chairs.  The dental team provides oral health education, examinations, fluoride varnish, digital x-rays (as needed), cleanings, fillings and simple extractions to babies up through high school age and pregnant/post-partum women.  We may see additional uninsured adults if the schedule allows. 

Please share the following information with all of your contacts and community organizations to assist us in recruiting and creating awareness on oral health and the importance to overall health.

I have attached our SmileMobile logo, flyers and jpgs for use in social media.

Please feel free to stop by and check out the van and meet the staff.

Warm regards,

Karri

Karri Amundson

Senior Program Officer

Washington Dental Service Foundation

9706 Fourth | Avenue NE | Seattle, WA 98115-2157

First to lose Obamacare? The sickest county in the state – Seattle Times

The Seattle Times has a good article about the outcome of the Republican led move to sow uncertainty and doubt about Obamacare’s future. Gray’s Harbor joins the growing ranks of county’s without healthcare insurance for over 2200 of it’s residents. And if the Republicans in Washington get their way, there will be over 7000 more joining them soon. Oddly, out of all this, we may end up getting single payer, due to the Republicans apparently hell bent on committing political suicide by alienating their base of white rural lower to middle class voters. 47 counties nationwide now don’t have health insurance companies serving them, most of the counties voted Republican. Read it and weep. Because counties like ours, which are largely using Medicare and Medicaid to supply us with health coverage are next up on the Republicans chopping block.

Obamacare is starting to crack, starting in our state’s sickest spot, Grays Harbor County. But the plan isn’t to fix it. It’s to make it dramatically worse.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/first-to-lose-obamacare-the-sickest-county-in-the-state/

Three Candidates for Jefferson County Hospital Commissioner- PDN

As many of you know, the Hospital Commissioner role is in flux, with some of the commissioners who believe that the role is rather passive, with limited scope, and some with a more activist point of view, wanting to go beyond the basic job descriptions to a more community oriented point of view. With two current commissioners that are considered “activist” and two current ones that would be considered more ‘conservative’ in their approach to the role, along with one that is considered somewhere in the middle of that description, the latest candidate filings will provide a distinct contrast along these lines. Mr. McComus comes from running the Port Townsend Mill, while Mr. Donanberg  and Ms Van Hoover  are have been health care providers, among other roles in Public Health, in their careers.

Which role do you think we need as hospital commissioner in this age of Trump, where the very notion of health care as we have known it is under threat.? If anything close to the current proposals from Washington D.C.  pass, our hospital will be facing consequences that are not pleasant, and so will all of us who rely on it.

Do you favor an activist board, one willing to go beyond it’s basic job description or one that wants to stick to the job description? This election will give you an opportunity to answer that.

Today’s PDN story.

Bruce J. McComas, Bernie Donanberg and Cheri Van Hoover all filed as candidates Monday for the hospital commission position 1.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/politics/few-contests-emerge-as-filing-week-begins-in-jefferson-county/

 

Hospital Commissioner Tony Deleo Retires

The Port Townsend Leader is reporting that Tony Deleo has decided to step down after 44 years as Jefferson County Hospital Commissioner. This paves the way for Cheri Van Hoover to run unchallenged, but the filing deadline is still a few weeks away.

Why is this important? Given the impending changes to the health care system under Trump and the Republicans an activist board member is needed now more than ever. While Tony has done a great job over his many terms, it seems that Cheri Van Hoover is a much better fit for the needs of the public of Jefferson County today.

Thank you Tony Deleo for your service to this county! We know that you did it for the good of the community.