This article does a good job of highlighting why we pay more at Jefferson Healthcare, even though it’s a publically owned hospital. We are designated a “critical access” hospital, meaning we are rural, which gives JHC much greater flexibility of charging. JHC and Port Townsend are in a strange situation, in that we are designated the same as a very remote hospital, say in Eastern Washington, or Forks. Though we are only a short drive from non-rural designated systems in Poulsbo or Seattle. The take away is that unless you can afford to pay more for your care, or weigh the cost and hassle of traveling, you will pay less (sometimes significantly less) for the same care by going to Seattle or even in some cases, Poulsbo. I’ve personally found it to be dramatically less, especially for procedures and labs. If you can, always shop your medical care. Jefferson Healthcare is in the process of evaluating their charges, based on customer complaints. The unintended consequence of all this is that the poor and lower income people pay a much higher percent of their income for healthcare by living here and not shopping their healthcare. They often don’t have the time to do so, and often aren’t even aware of the problem in pricing.
Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket costs for outpatient care are significantly higher at critical access hospitals than at other acute care hospitals, and the reason for the difference in cost is buried in a 1997 law.
This was sent out by the Jefferson Healthcare on their concerns to changes to the 340B program. This program has been used to theoretically fund low cost prescriptions. There are a variety of points of view about what the program has actually achieved, but the hospital is adamantly opposed to the cuts to it. We likely can discuss this more at the next Citizen’s Healthcare Access group meeting in September in Port Townsend.
340b letter PDF file. Here’s the first page so you can decide if you want to read the whole PDF.
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 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.
Washington State continues to battle for lower cost prescriptions. This is your government in action. It’s a good thing.
As Washington State’s HCA noted, PTC Therapeutics has not announced its new price. But the group published a report (PDF) stating that prednisone—at a cost of 5 cents per tablet and $55 per year—will be its preferred corticosteroid for DMD patients. It’s the “lower cost, equally effective” option, according to HCA.
Read the whole story here:
From NARAL: The Washington State Legislature has unanimously passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the bill is now on its way to the Governor’s desk.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will protect pregnant workers by requiring employers to provide reasonable work accommodations during pregnancy, such as temporary reassignment to light duty, additional bathroom breaks, and flexible scheduling for prenatal appointments. It would also prohibit employers from requiring pregnant workers to take paid or unpaid leave instead of providing reasonable job modifications, as well as protect pregnant workers from unequal treatment or retaliation for asking for an accommodation.
Washington State joins fifteen states, D.C., and four cities that have passed laws requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers and protecting pregnant workers from retaliation when they request accommodations.
Congratulations to all the groups that spent huge amounts of time phone calling the legislators and going to meet them in Olympia.