A sad lesson in asking for medical costs in advance!

This couple found out the hard way that you can be financially destroyed by some providers, especially if you are unfortunate enough to be out of network. Read it and weep, then get angry and let Representative Kilmer, Senator’s Cantwell and Murray know that you want this changed at the Federal level! No out of network billing fiascos. And while they are at it, they should look into breaking up the two companies that own the dialysis market. It is far more onerous than the high tech companies they are currently going after.

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-care/first-kidney-failure-then-540-842-bill-dialysis-n1034496

Here’s the latest on our instate new law, but you *can* be grossly overcharged before 2020!

https://www.insurance.wa.gov/surprise-medical-billing

Shocking statistics for Jefferson & Clallam Counties in opioid database from Washington Post.

In the battle to determine who is to blame for the opioid epidemic that has killed more people than Viet Nam, it turns out that not only was West Virginia a capital of opioid prescriptions, but Clallam County was also. Between Jefferson and Clallam Counties, in a six year period both counties received and distributed over 43 million opioid pills!

According to the Washington Post that reformatted the data into searchable form, from 2006 to 2012 there were 5,817,030 prescription pain pills, enough for 28 pills per person per year, supplied to Jefferson County, Wash. Safeway was the largest distributor, selling 2,331,220 pills. Don’s pharmacy came in at 1,367,550 pills distributed, behind second place QFC in Hadlock.

But even those numbers were dwarfed by Clallam county, who distributed 37,838,060 prescription pain pills, enough for 76 pills per person per year.

•18,067,280 of the pills in Clallam County were distributed by McKesson Corporation and 19,907,900 were manufactured by SpecGx LLC.

JIM’S PHARMACY, PORT ANGELES pharmacy received the highest number of pills. They distributed 5,280,190 pills. But Chinook Pharmacy in Forks was not far behind with over 4.6 Million pills distributed.

It is clear to anyone following this story that a number of people are at the root cause of this human tragedy. Let’s count the ways:

  • There is clear evidence now that the pharmaceutical companies lied to the public and the government. Lawsuits underway have established that fact. Their salespeople spread misinformation about the products.
  • The Federal government, lawmakers, FDA and others, blindly took the word of the drug companies as to the safety and efficacy of these drugs.
  • The medical community bought the medical findings and the pharmaceutical sales peoples pitches. This included the medical providers at our local hospital, Jefferson Healthcare. This can be seen as a damning indictment of the the medical providers there, along with the administration of the hospital and it’s hospital commissioners. Who was watching the amount of pills being provided to patients? There were clear signs that there were problems with opioid prescriptions much earlier than 2012. What was Jefferson Healthcare doing to monitor their staff?
  • At the same time the medical professionals at JHC were writing all these prescriptions for opioids, they were well aware of problems with them,because Dr. James Kimber Rotchford was treating many of their patients for abuse of these same pain killers at his independent clinic, Olympic Pain and Addiction Services . It was widely known within the local medical community and a number of these providers were quite dismissive of Dr. Rotchford’s efforts. Dr. Rochford’s clinic was raided by the DEA in 2010 but was cleared of any wrongdoing. The basis for the raid was never uncovered.
  • The pharmacies ignored clear warning signs that vastly too many pills to make sense were being sold for their communities.

The outcome was a trail of broken lives, broken communities, massively enriched sales people and companies, many of whom then recycled these gains into political candidates campaign chests.

Read the whole story

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/dea-pain-pill-database/?utm_term=.9591a96b0d8e

Sequim community members rally at city against addiction-treatment facility | Peninsula Daily News

It’s sad to see such opposition to a possible plan to bring a much needed treatment center for our addicted neighbors on the Olympic Peninsula. The MAT project was not well clarified in this article, which tended to simply focus on public reaction to the project at this meeting. The MAT project itself has been part of an overarching set of money that the Governor and legislature, along with the Congress at the end of the Obama administration, is distributing over a five year period to address opioid addiction. The project includes monies for a three county area, Kitsap, Jefferson and Clallam. This money, designed to put a central treatment facility on the Peninsula, is being looked at for Sequim because it is central to both sides of the Peninsula. It makes sense to put it in Sequim, and the Jamestown S’Klallam have offered up their expertise and land to make this possible.

It has nothing to do with the Trump Administration changing the hospital rules that will possibly force the Olympic Medical Center to close it’s facilities in Sequim. Representative Kilmer is working with other House and Senate members to see if they can reverse the ill advised rule from the Trump Administration, that has put our community clinics in Sequim in jeopardy. And while we all say we want to see treatment for the growing opioid and meth addicts that are in our communities, what are you willing to actually support rather than just say no to?

Read the whole story at the PDN:

Staff: Proposal not yet before council, planning commission
— Read on www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/sequim-community-members-rally-at-city-against-addiction-treatment-facility/

Healthcare Bills in WA State legislature

Dear Persons Who Care About Healthcare —
Three bills are making their way through Olympia and have a chance at passage this session. WA has a one-stop website where you can look up the information, read the bill, and comment on it.

Go to:  https://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/

Type in the number of the bill.  (HB stands for House Bill, SB is for the Senate. If you type in 1523 the website also shows the link to the corresponding bill, which in this case would be 5526.)

Just below the name and summary of the bill is a green box labeled “Comment on this bill.”

You type in your address to validate your district, then it pulls up your elected officials. Click on all of them to send the same comments. And if you don’t want to comment, you can click the box for “support” and send it on its way.

Please read the bills and send your support, and get everyone you know to comment. 

HB 1523/SB 5526—Relating to increasing availability of quality affordable health coverage in the individual market. 1523 Passed House, 3/8.  Public hearing in Senate Health and Long Term Care 3/20, 1:30. 4/5 Public hearing in Senate Committee Ways & Means. 4/6 Public Hearing House Committee on Appropriations

(This one props up the WA ACA plans.) 

HB 1612/SB 5602—Provide maximum access to reproductive health care and reproductive health care coverage for all in WA.  5602  Passed Senate 3/7.  Public Hearing in House Committee on Health Care and Wellness 3/20, 1:30 pm. 4/6 Public hearing House Committee on Appropriations.

(With the threats to Title X funding, this is important for women’s health.)

HB 1877/SB 5822—Providing a pathway to establish a universal health care system for the residents of Washington State. 5822 Passed Senate 3/13; 1streading in House Health Care and Wellness Committee 3/15. 4/6 Scheduled for public hearing in House Committee on Appropriations.

(This is a longer term approach to set up the trust that would fund a WA-only universal health care program.)

Washington state becomes the latest to embrace a Netflix model for buying hep C drugs -Stat Magazine

Good news on the Hep C front. Progress.

The so-called Netflix payment model for obtaining hepatitis C treatments appears to be catching on among state officials as a Washington state health agency is the latest one hoping to convince drug makers to participate in such a scheme.

https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2019/02/06/washington-netflix-hepatitis-drug-prices/

Pro -Vaccine Physician still attacked by critics even as measles outbreaks spread – Guardian

While this is world news, given that Port Townsend has played such a larger than life role in the anti-vaccine skeptic crowd, with such validation of the inaccurate claims coming from the local Townsend Newsletter over the years, and the low vaccination rate in the county, I thought I would include this.

In today’s Guardian they include a story about “Trapped in a hoax: survivors of conspiracy theories speak out”, including an update on Dr. Paul Offit, who has been one of the leaders on speaking out against anti-vaccine skeptics. He took on the now discredited British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield and setup the Vaccine Education Center. Read the whole sordid tale of those that attacked him, at

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/23/conspiracy-theories-internet-survivors-truth

Closer to home, a measles outbreak in southwest Washington Clark County, another hotbed of anti-vaccine skeptics and the county with the lowest rate of vaccinations in the state,  has now been confirmed to have moved to South Seattle.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/01/17/washington-state-measles-outbreak-grows-most-patients-unvaccinated/2611087002/

and

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/king-county-man-may-have-contracted-measles-from-southwest-washington-outbreak/

A King County resident contracted measles after traveling to Clark County, where an outbreak has spread to at least 23 people, public-health officials said Wednesday.

Portland is also at high risk, due to low vaccination rates.

As the Times article points out, “you can get it just by being in a room where a person with measles has been.”

Many, including this blog, have been warning that we are likely to pay the price for this hoax having been spread around the world. No other vaccine-preventable disease causes as many deaths. (according to the Cochrane database of Systematic Reviews August 2013)

If you want to educate yourself to measles, start here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measles

In states, Democrats start delivering on health care pledges – Chicago Sun Times

The outcome of the Blue Wave of November is starting to be felt. The article, while from Chicago, opens with Washington State and California as examples. In case you haven’t been following, newly elected Governor Gavin Newsome is off to an incredible start. He ran on healthcare as a major issue, and is already starting to deliver.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/democrats-midterm-election-campaign-promise-health-care-affordable-healthcare/