Washington launches online tool that lets patients compare prices for medical procedures

Interested in knowing a bit about how to much you might pay for a procedure?  Check out the emergency room prices both from Jefferson Healthcare and surrounding areas. Finally we are seeing the curtain being pulled back on our hospital pricing, which many of us have known is overpriced for many standard procedures.  Our elected hospital commissioners, have claimed  that this kind of comparison was not possible to do. The Governor has had it done.

https://www.wahealthcarecompare.com/procedure/emergency-room-visit?zipcode=98368

If you or a loved one needed knee replacement surgery, would you want to know which surgeon in your community has the highest rating for quality of care? Would you like to know how much a knee replacement costs, on average, at all of the medical offices close to your home?

Those are the types of information easily accessed through Washington state’s new HealthCareCompare website, an online tool that launched today. The user-friendly website is part of the state’s larger effort to make health care costs more transparent, and gives the public access to health care price and quality information from the Washington All-Payer Claims Database. The database is the result of legislation proposed by the governor.

https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/washington-launches-online-tool-lets-patients-compare-prices-medical-procedures

 

One-of-a kind collaboration expected to train health care workers on Peninsula – PDN

This is a great idea to try and work to train and bring on qualified local people quickly.  Thanks to the Littlejohns and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe for also helping to fund the initiative. Jefferson Healthcare has tried with little success to find medical professionals willing to relocate here for the long term. I personally have seen them pass over qualified local candidates in favor of people from elsewhere, only to see them leave after a few years of work here. Now this program presents the opportunity to grow candidates on the peninsula, which is far more likely to having them stay for the long haul. A good use of our tax dollars, I’d say.

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College is teaming up with health care providers from Clallam and Jefferson counties in a wide-ranging $1 million effort funded by state lawmakers, the college foundation, local hospitals and others. The goal: Add registered nurses, medical assistants and certified nursing assistants to a rural medical industry workforce on the North Olympic Peninsula that is typically starving for job applicants.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/one-of-a-kind-collaboration-expected-to-train-health-care-workers-on-peninsula/

Amid Statewide Mental Health Care Crisis, UW Looks to Shutter Psychiatric Unit – The Stranger

A sad state of affairs. The mentally ill are perpetually short changed by our State government. And if you have a mentally ill adult child up until this recent session you had virtually no way to try and get them into a facility against their will no matter how bad they got, other than being sent off to jail for behavioral issues. At least that was made easier this session.

It seems like there never is enough for the military in this country given the last federal budget that both Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of funding yet our mentally ill facilities are struggling. I personally would be glad to have a mechanism on my tax form to at least state what % of my taxes should go to the military vs. healthcare and other social and infrastructure needs. It could at least act as a guide for grading how our legislators work.

When the American College of Emergency Physicians graded every state back in 2014, it gave Washington a D+. Among our state’s worst marks: psychiatric beds. Washington has just 8.3 beds for every 100,000 people, worse than all but two other states.

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/04/03/25990360/amid-statewide-mental-health-care-crisis-uw-looks-to-shutter-psychiatric-unit

Governor Signs Bills Related to Healthcare

Here’s the current list of some of the healthcare related bills signed into law recently by Governor Inslee. Use the Bill Tracker web page at the state to see the details on any of them.  My take is that it was a very successful session for healthcare related needs.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/

  • Relating to priority processing for adult family home license applications. (6113)
  • Relating to requiring coverage for hearing instruments under public employee and medicaid programs.(5179)
  •  Relating to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing.(6580)
  • Relating to ensuring that no youth is discharged from a public system of care into homelessness.(6560)
  • Relating to expanding the access to baby and child dentistry program to serve children with disabilities. (6549)
  • Relating to promoting access to the Washington early childhood education and assistance program.(6419)
  • Relating to child support, but only including a parent’s obligation to provide medical support, use of electronic funds transfers, notice of noncompliance, adoption of the economic table recommended by the child support work group, and references to the federal poverty level in self-support reserve limitations.(6334)
  • Relating to preventing suicide by permitting the voluntary waiver of firearm rights.(5553)
  • Relating to the mental health field response teams program. (2892)
  • Relating to making technical corrections to the family and medical leave program and making no substantive changes.(2702)
  • Relating to defining best practices for the process and people involved in best interest determination of students in out-of-home care.(2684)
  • Relating to the use of perfluorinated chemicals in food packaging.(2658)
  • Relating to increasing the personal needs allowance for people in residential and institutional care settings. (2651)
  • Relating to authorizations of proposals for emergency medical care and service levies. (2627)
  • Relating to public hospital district health and wellness promotion activities and superintendent appointment and removal.
  • Relating to maximum penalties under the Washington industrial safety and health act.
  • Relating to providing women with timely information regarding their breast health.
  • Relating to improving access to reproductive health.
  • Relating to insurance coverage of tomosynthesis or three-dimensional
  • Relating to providing a business and occupation tax exemption for accountable communities of health. mammography.
  • and many more…

A new kind of doctor’s office that doesn’t take insurance and charges a monthly fee is ‘popping up everywhere’ — and that could change how we think about healthcare – Business Insider

Interesting article after the previous post.

Direct primary care is a small but fast-growing movement of doctors who don’t accept insurance and instead charges a monthly membership fee.

http://www.businessinsider.com/direct-primary-care-no-insurance-healthcare-2018-3

In Rural Washington, Pediatricians A Scarce Commodity -KUOW

More on the slow motion collapse of our health care system. The problem, across the board is that medical professionals are getting squeezed by both State healthcare systems and large insurance companies. If you aren’t willing to raise your taxes to cover your physicians costs, you won’t have one. Here’s a case study right here in our state.

For the past 16 years, Jill Hutton has been managing a pediatric clinic in Aberdeen that once treated 70 to 100 children a day. But now it’s empty. She’s working on shutting it down

.

http://kuow.org/post/low-medicaid-reimbursement-rates-made-rural-pediatric-clinics-scarce