Health Care Coverage Is Not Enough. We Need Delivery System Reform. Huffington Post

Another downside to the options the Republicans are considering behind closed doors.

It’s well known that the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now making its way through the Senate would deny coverage to tens of millions of Americans.  Less well known is that it would also hit the brakes on “delivery system reform,” the work of doctors and hospitals to improve quality and reduce costs. In other words, it would make quality of care worse.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/health-care-coverage-is-not-enough-we-need-delivery-system-reform_us_596b777de4b0d6341fe98c85#

How Healthcare Orgs Offer Price Transparency to Patients – Patient Engagement HIT

Jefferson Healthcare continues to struggle to provide patients with transparent pricing. This article from 2017 touches on the issues and benefits of providing patients with transparent pricing.

Few healthcare providers are successfully offering price transparency to patients, but those who are, see drastic benefits…  Offering price transparency also has its benefits for the organizations themselves. A report from the Health Care Cost Institute showed that price transparency could eliminate 7 percent of patient costs by allowing patients to shop around for affordable care

https://patientengagementhit.com/news/how-healthcare-orgs-offer-price-transparency-to-patients

The Company Behind Many Surprise Emergency Room Bills – NY Times

A good caution against getting overcharged at an emergency room visit. Though please don’t use the ER when you just need to see a physician.

Early last year, executives at a small hospital an hour north of Spokane, Wash., started using a company called EmCare to staff and run their emergency room. The hospital had been struggling to find doctors to work in its E.R., and turning to EmCare was something hundreds of other hospitals across the country had done.

That’s when the trouble began.

It appears that they are in use in Yakima, Sedro-Woolley and a few smaller cities in Eastern Washington.

The Company Behind Many Surprise ER Bills

Commentary: Cuts to Medicaid threaten services for disabled – Everett Herald

From Lance Morehouse, the  executive director of Sherwood Community Servicesin Lake Stevens.

Regardless of the fate of attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Washington, D.C., services for thousands of people with disabilities in Washington State are at stake, especially as Congress considers cuts to Medicaid.

https://www.heraldnet.com/opinion/commentary-cuts-to-medicaid-threaten-services-for-disabled/

 

The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates – ProPublica

Following the discussion we had with Dr. Art Zoloph this month on the subject of stockpiling medicines, is this superb story by ProPublica. It begs the question of why not spend the money to appropriately test drug potency over time, given the expense of buying them?

Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital. Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer.
by Marshall Allen
ProPublica, July 18, 2017

https://www.propublica.org/article/the-myth-of-drug-expiration-dates

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/

How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business – Fresh Air

Terry Gross interview with Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal.

Health care is a trillion-dollar industry in America, but are we getting what we pay for? Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, a medical journalist who formerly worked as a medical doctor, warns that the existing system too often focuses on financial incentives over health or science.

How U.S. Health Care Became Big Business