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.

Cheri Van Hoover throws hat in ring for Jefferson County Hospital Commissioner

Cheri Van Hoover of District 2 has decided to run for the seat of Jefferson County Hospital Commissioner Position 1. Cheri will be running against long time Hospital Commissioner Tony DeLeo.

Cheri brings a wealth of real world medical experience to the position. She has been a working mid-wife for over 30 years, including a teacher of midwifery in the area. As a person who’s son was born with assistance from a midwife, I can attest to the value these women bring to the medical practice. Cheri has also been a counselor in a community-based mental health crisis intervention residence and an educator & health policy professor,  nationally recognized for instructing medical, nursing, and midwifery students.

Her professional leadership includes midwife practice administration, along with having been the chair of national committees for the American College of Nurse-Midwives and chair of the Ethics Task Force for Northern California Kaiser Nurse-Midwives Peer Group.

She has also run small businesses in the county, having been an owner of several small businesses spanning 40 years. Currently she owns the  Great Blue Heron’s Nest B&B, Port Hadlock.

Her community experience includes work with the Tri-Area Garden Club (past president) & Master Gardener Foundation of Jefferson County (past board member), work with salmon habitat restoration groups, volunteering with the Friends of the Jefferson County Library and the Olycap Community Thrift Store along with efforts to support the Jamestown/Sequim Drug-Free Community Coalition.

While Mr. Deleo has given a lot to the community over the years, in attending hospital commission meetings I can say that he seems out of step with the current issues facing the Commissioners. His focus on keeping the commissioners out of any areas of controversy, such as throwing their support behind single payer efforts, seems at odds with the community demands. While newer members of the Board such as Kees Kolff work to promote better community healthcare access,especially for lower income patients and have fought for more transparency to collections, along with challenging the hospital on issues such as major changes to the INR lab, Mr. Deleo has been reluctant to support these efforts. His point of view publicly appears to be that the only role of the Commissioners is to either hire or fire Mr. Glenn (the JCH CEO), and do the bare minimum needed to satisfy the requirements of the position. While we expect that the bare minimum is always achieved, it seems we need more in this era.

The challenges that this county’s hospital is going to face in the coming years under the current President and his Congress mean we need a commissioner that is going to fight for the patients and the hospital. This may mean challenging bureaucratic dogma (which is not unique to this hospital) as well as fighting hard at state and federal levels to maintain current funding and find better ways to provide healthcare for all our citizens. 

That effort needs new blood, but not just a new face, someone who understands the concerns of the medical community along with the concerns of the hospital. Every medical professional I have talked to in the last number of years have had nothing positive to say about the world we are creating of healthcare in America. We are far behind all other industrialized countries in our indices of health. Congressional meddling in our healthcare has created a system where the government doesn’t even attempt to negotiate drug prices for the spending of our tax dollars. The electronic record system is incredibly problematic for practitioners and we are moving farther and farther away from private practitioners to a system of huge regional health hubs that treat patients more and more like a number, and creating a system that has no way of properly understanding the prices you will be charged for your work. There are very few examples of corporations who treat their customers like this. For good reason.

Jefferson County Healthcare under Mr. Glenn is doing very good work overall given their resources. However there are a number of areas that could be improved, and there are independent watchdog groups that are working to prod the hospital in ways that they feel can make it more customer oriented. Cheri Van Hoover is someone who supports these efforts and will work with us to help oversee the healthcare system here, which is also one of the jobs of the Hospital Commissioners. 

For those reasons, I support Cheri Van Hoover and urge Mr. DeLeo to stand down and retire from the Board, allowing Cheri to run unopposed for this position. We thank him for his decades of support, but feel it’s time for a new approach.

You can learn more about Cheri at the following link, and donate to her campaign.

http://cheriforhealthcom.businesscatalyst.com/about-cheri.html

POINT OF VIEW: The Peninsula’s dental health emergency – PDN

By Dr. Michael Maxwell
ACROSS THE STATE and in the North Olympic Peninsula, low-income people are facing an oral health crisis.
Simply put, there are not enough clinics and providers to serve them.
In Clallam County, only 22 percent of adults on Medicaid and just 41 percent of children on Medicaid received dental care in 2015.
In the same year in Jefferson County, only 12.7 percent of adults on Medicaid and just 37 percent of children on Medicaid received dental care.
This is not a cosmetic luxury but a serious health concern that is taking a huge toll on our communities.
Many health care advocates are urging our state Legislature to address this crisis.
 
Read the rest of the story at:
Dr. Michael Maxwell is a family physician and CEO of the North Olympic Healthcare Network, a ­federally qualified community health center in Port Angeles.
He lives in Port Angeles.

Reassessing the Jefferson Healthcare & Providence relationship

Now that the Seattle Times has brought out a truly shocking series of articles (see other posts on this site)  on the neurosurgery unit of Providence/Swedish, the question is “What should Jefferson County’s hospital do about this?” We have a working relationship with these hospitals. From what I understand they send us doctors for certain shortages we face from time to time and we also are tied to their electronic records systems, called EPIC.

I have discussed with a number of medical professionals who have read the articles and they were in  agreement that this is more than a simple story that can be easily brushed over. To them it’s a deeply concerning one. Some of them said, “Yes, it’s been understood for years that the implementation of a numbers based goal for surgical units is going to drive more surgeries.” Jefferson Healthcare themselves uses the system, and evaluates their doctors on these units.

That the neurosurgery unit of Swedish Cherry Hill has been run like a machine on overdrive, churning through questionable surgeries for the sake of racking up maximum reimbursable value for the hospital and doctors themselves, should force us to discuss the future of the relationship with the Seattle hospital system with which we have allied ourselves. Would you want to see yourself or any loved one of yours sent there after reading this damning expose that took over a year to uncover?

I have a personal dog in this hunt. My best friend was in the neurosurgical unit at Cherry Hill during the last half of 2016, fighting multiple brain cancer sites and a chest tumor. He and his partner went through a great deal of stress over the pressures that the staff were putting on him to undergo more brain surgeries after he was deemed terminal. I told them to push back and discuss with the staff the quality of life issues that he would face one way or the other.They  finally found a doctor at the hospital  who sided with them against the surgical teams. Apparently there were heated words in meetings with the patient present about the choices being made. My friend died at home in January without undergoing further surgeries.

The Jefferson County Healthcare CEO Mike Glenn and the Hospital Board of Commissioners needs to take some time, but come forward and help us understand that they are concerned about this state of affairs and questions need to be asked as to whether our hospital should continue sending patients to Providence and Swedish Cherry Hill.

More thoughts on this issue will be forthcoming.

 

Free mobile dental clinic in Port Townsend for those without access to dental care – Friday/Saturday

EVENT: Community Dental outreach by local partners, City & More. Coordinated by the local Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Eligibility: Those who are homeless or have no access to dental healthcare.

Where: Downtown Port Townsend at the Pope Marine Building. (Left of Cotton Building on Water & Madison St.)

When: Friday, January 27th & Saturday January 28th

Time: 10AM to 4PM both days. Dental services will be provided via walk in appointments on a first come first serve basis.

Please come early and register your to assure your appointment.

For more information: Call Alise Moss Vetica. 360.344.2441 or email alisepco304@gmail.com

 

 

 

Many pediatricians are shunning non-vaccinated families – Washington Post

Jefferson County has one of the highest rates of non-vaccinated children in Washington State. This dangerous situation leaves us vulnerable to possibly disastrous outbreaks of disease that could get out of hand much faster than our ability to save people when it happens. It is not unreasonable for pediatricians who’s primary job is to keep children healthy to not want to work with families who insist on not vaccinating their children.

The Washington Post has reported that pediatricians have become increasingly likely to dismiss families who refuse vaccination and that some families will only choose physicians who require other families to vaccinate. [Sun LH. Parents are insisting on doctors who insist on vaccinations. Washington Post, Nov 20, 2106] Dismissal “as a last resort” is supported by the Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine, which recently concluded: “The decision to dismiss a family who continues to refuse immunization is not one that should be made lightly, nor should it be made without considering and respecting the reasons for the parents’ point of view. Nevertheless, the individual pediatrician may consider dismissal of families who refuse vaccination as an acceptable option.” [Edwards K, Hackel JM. Countering vaccine hesitancy, Pediatrics 138, 2016

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