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.


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

Newest Senate health bill would cause 32 million to lose coverage – CBO

Questions. No answers. The Republicans want to throw people off healthcare. Why? It is really wanting to  kill people who need healthcare as something preferable to finding a way to keep them alive? Not sure what the real feelings of these people are but their actions are really ugly. Who profits from this? Why is Mitch McConnell and others so hell bent on this suicide strategy? What will this country be like if millions of more people end up on the streets and homeless shelters of our cities? Is this all about lobbying by the big insurers? Or is this just an Anne Rand philosophical story (supported with funds by donors like the Koch brothers) that the poor deserve to die if they can’t pay the cost of insurance? Would we be a better country if millions are kept from healthcare? How is that possible? Are the people supporting these legislators really that callous? Living behind gated communities and out of touch with their neighbors? It’s bizarre and indicative of Marie Antoinette just before the desperate mobs stormed her gilted palace and cut off her head.

Some of the changes in the ORRA would take effect immediately, and the CBO estimates this would cause 17 million Americans to lose coverage immediately, in 2018.

Newest Senate Health Bill…

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.

Don’t be fooled: Health care repeal will hurt here. Crosscut

A good overview of what is at risk for the State of Washington.

The state Insurance Department has estimated that more than 700,000 residents could lose ‎coverage. That’s roughly 1 in every 10 Washingtonians who could be so affected that they would end up with no health insurance at all.


Let’s talk about death. Before it’s too late, a doctor writes – Seattle Times

Well worth a read. This article touches on something that most medical professionals know, but most patients don’t.  My father was dying in a hospital of advanced COPD, and the doctors there seemed unwilling to tell him he was near the end. It took me stepping in and saying, “You mean that he will either die soon of heart or kidney failure?” The answer from the doc, in front of my dad, was, “Probably.”  I turned to my dad and said,” So dad, where do you want to die, here or at home?”  He made the choice to go home and he died there a couple of days later surrounded by loved ones and in peace.

This article is a very good teaching lesson about the dirty little secret of medicine in America. And we are trapped in a system that makes a lot of money on end of life procedures and often is the last place you’ll get good information to make a decision about whether you really want it or not.

Despite growing recognition that more care isn’t necessarily better care, particularly at the end of life, many Americans still receive an enormous dose of medicine in their final days. On average, patients make 29 visits to the doctor’s office in their last six months.

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.