Rare polio like disease cases growing in WA – Seattle Times

What is causing AFM? This is bizarre disease is increasing in the number of cases, and apparently is happening in Washington State.

Hayden Werdal was born “perfectly healthy.” He caught a nasty cold at age 14, and now, four years later, he’s considered a paraplegic and needs a ventilator. Werdal, of Bremerton, has a rare and mysterious illness that’s left Washington families reeling. AFM is spiking, with 127 confirmed or reported cases nationwide this year, including eight in Washington. – Seattle Times

Just today, another case in Yakima:

http://newstalkkit.com/possible-acute-flaccid-myelitis-case-in-yakima-county/

While this is emerging, Trump has cut the budget at the Center for Disease Control. According to Politifact:

Among other changes, Trump’s budget would cut $138 million from the program dedicated to chronic disease prevention and health promotion, cut $59.9 million from programs studying “emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases,” and $46 million from a program called “Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health.” A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be transmitted from animals to people.

Remember this as you decide who to vote for. A vote for Republicans is a vote to continue cutting the one agency that might help find a cause for this emerging illness.

GOP state lawmakers unveil plans to improve Washington’s troubled mental health system.-Seattle Times

This profoundly broken system need massive overhaul. At least the Republicans recognize the issue and have reasonable proposals to come to a bipartisan table to address. Now if Inslee can find the money needed to get this done.

GOP state lawmakers unveil plans to improve Washington’s troubled mental-health system

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/gop-state-lawmakers-unveil-plans-to-improve-washingtons-troubled-mental-health-system/

6500 rape kits untested statewide, awaiting federal funds.-Seattle Times

It is outrageous that the Federal Government has not delivered the monies needed and promised by law to do this. While we spend billions on military gear without batting an eye, women who have been raped in our state (and elsewhere) await justice. Please let Derek Kilmer, Patty Murray Maria Cantwell and others know this needs to get done.

Nearly 6,500 rape kits sit untested statewide, Washington attorney general says

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/washington-attorney-general-identifies-nearly-6500-untested-rape-kits-statewide/

Jefferson County Dems endorse all candidates.

In a high spirited meeting running over three hours, Jefferson County Democrats endorsed all candidates presented on their slate. The entire list can be viewed under the tab at the top of this page, titled 2018 Elections.

The three candidates that drew the most debate were Joe Nole for Sheriff, Maria Cantwell for Senator and Derek Kilmer for House of Representatives.

The debate on Joe Nole’s endorsement came from a group of people who brought up issues that had happened under his temporary leadership as interim sheriff in the months before Dave Stanko’s election. They also discussed issues of aggressive policing, (not by Joe but by officers under his command at that point) and positions that Joe was claimed to have made. They also were in support of Sheriff Stanko. Ultimately, a series of speakers who have worked with Mr. Nole, including outgoing County Commissioner Kathleen Kler, allowed for a clear win for endorsement.

Opposition to Derek Kilmer came from what is known as the “Progressives”, who primarily were supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders. They identified a number of issues that Rep. Kilmer has not taken a stand on, or has supported. Single Payer Healthcare, bills that supported Israel to the exclusion of Palestinians, and his vote supporting the massive recent military budget (HR5515) and tax bills, which far exceeded the demands of President Trump. To be clear, many Democrats ended up supporting the bills as there were numerous items added that they requested. Representative Kilmer also has not achieved anything of substance around the expansion of the Navy airbase and it’s subsequent noise issues for the entire north Sound and Strait. He has done nothing of substance to also protect the west end of the Olympic Peninsula from being used as a Navy training ground with low flying jets over the west side of the Olympic National Park. These issues have engendered huge meeting turnouts and thousands of letters of support for him to take action. However, as of this writing, his efforts have seemed very unsubstantial.  Representative Kilmer  has been endorsed 100% by Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and to a lesser degree, by the ACLU (88%) and The League for Conservation Voters (92%). His entire voting record can be viewed here:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/derek_kilmer/412583

Similar issues were raised about Senator Maria Cantwell. Senator Cantwell did vote no on the Defense Appropriations Act. Senator Cantwell has been endorsed 100% by Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, and to a lesser degree, by the ACLU (88%) and The League for Conservation Voters (91%). Her voting record can be found at

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/maria_cantwell/300018

Supporters of the two argued for Democratic unity in the face of goals to take back the House and Senate, along with positive bills that both had supported. Ultimately, both easily won endorsement.

 

 

 

 

Lisa Holt resigns from Jefferson Healthcare

Jefferson County Healthcare announced the resignation of Lisa Holt, chief ancillary officer for the hospital. Ms Holt, had been with JHC since May 2013, according to her profile on LinkedIn. Prior to that she had been Nursing Director of Education at Centura Institute in Orlando Florida. There was no word on what Ms. Holt will be doing next. But the unexpected resignation and her immediate leaving the senior position seemed difficult to understand, since she appeared to have a very positive relationship with the rest of the Senior Leadership Group surrounding Mr. Glenn. There was no one immediately named as a successor.  It would seem that Mr. Glenn would have wanted her to help with a transition period, and that JHC would have made an announcement thanking her for her work. As of Monday morning, her photograph had been removed from the JHC web site leadership team.

Turnover at JHC appears to above average. Mr. Glenn has admitted to turnover being an issue in public meetings in the past few years.  However, it has never apparently been a significant issue in his reviews, completed by the Hospital Commissioners.

Need for high school clinic supplies

UPDATE:THANKS TO YOUR EFFORTS

THIS HAS BEEN FUNDED!

The cause: Jefferson’s Public Health clinics have an opportunity to replace ancient equipment with refurbished items at a bargain basement rate, for which they have no budget.

When students need counseling or help with family planning products, human papillomava virus (HPV) vaccinations, testing for sexually transmitted disease (STDs), and other more routine health problems, these services are provided discreetly and with great care by specially trained Public Health (PH) nurses. No other state high schools on the Olympic Peninsula provide these essential services. Jefferson County PH runs on a shoestring budget, always a little short of their needs.

You can help, now.

Our new project is local, but critical to getting appropriate health care to un-insured or under-insured Public Health patients, especially those in the high school clinics.

The goal is to raise $3k so they can acquire a new exam table (the current one is still in use but is dangerous and uncomfortable for large people) and replace a very old autoclave that is used to sterilize IUD insertion packs and reusable speculums. Normally, these items would cost many thousands of dollars, but PH connected with a company that refurbishes equipment so that it sells for a more reasonable price. These deals are only available this summer.

The best part is – you can donate to this cause through Public Health directly. (see below) and your contribution is tax-deductible.

Generous local donors have already raised $10k for the Greater Northwest Planned Parenthood last fall. Now, let’s help our local family planning providers.  Send your donation to:

School-based clinic supplies

J.C.P.H. – 615 Sheridan, PT, WA 98368

Thank you for supporting Port Townsend’s family planning services for women and girls.

Please send your check as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Jefferson Healthcare running in red for first half of year

At the July 25th Hospital Commissioners meeting, CFO Hillary Whittington laid out the current fiscal situation to the Commissioners. She stated that the hospital would need approximately $540k by end of the year to break even.   They are expecting approximately  $1M from Medicare billing, but will still have the shortfall.

“(We need to ) Improve our business practice by about $540k by the end of the year.” She went on to discuss where the cuts to the budget would have to come. “It sounds like a lot of money, but when you look at overtime premium pay, supplies and professional fees and services…I have no doubt we can find $540k.”

In the first half of the year, the hospital has paid for a number of expensive consultants, along with a new paging system for doctors, even with the known shortfall looming. Now, the front line that addresses patient needs will be the area cut back due to the shortfall.

Newly elected Commissioner McComas, who touted his financial acumen during his bitter election fight, had nothing to ask of Ms. Whittington. Neither did Commissioner Kolff. When asked for comment about the situation, Mr. Kolff said that “Budget shortfalls are a concern to all, ” and declined to comment further

Additionally, the hospital is planning to open a retail outpatient pharmacy inside the hospital. While there are valid reasons that the hospital gives for the move, (i.e. making sure patients fill their prescriptions before leaving the hospital) the move could threaten the well loved Don’s Pharmacy and the relationship of the hospital to Safeway. Some critics see it as a move to capture the lucrative federal money known as 340B money that currently is handed over to Safeway for fulfilling low income prescriptions. The controversy over 340B is that the money was originally intended to be given *directly* to low income consumers to shop for the best deal, but instead has been co-opted by hospitals and pharmacies as a separate revenue stream. Pharmaceutical companies have been lobbying Congress for a few years now to kill the 340B program. The hospital has a special accounting bucket for the money it makes off the 340B program.

Additionally at an earlier meeting in the year the JHC pharmacist indicated that the hospital’s expansion of it’s cancer treatment centers will allow it to capture more of the money made from chemo treatments. How this all helps lower costs for Jefferson County residents who own the hospital is not clear. No discussion was made of the effect on local pharmacies nor of using other low cost providers such as online, Costco or Walmart to fulfill the need. Apparently the hospital executives and commissioners felt that adding headcount to create the pharmacy was creating a valuable enough revenue stream to allow it to go forward, while cutting the overtime and budgets of the front line staff.

 

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

Lack of local SANE staff leads to conviction of rape to be overturned- PT Leader

One of the most significant healthcare issues in the county is a lack of a trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) on the staff of Jefferson Healthcare. Behind the scenes a number of women have been meeting with our elected officials and members of Jefferson Healthcare to address this problem. While the following court case has more issues than just a lack of a SANE staff member, it does point out that without one, a man convicted of rape might be freed even if the victim knows him and can make the claim that he did the rape.
The problem with attempting to do what Mr. Haas said to do, is that the closest SANE trained staff is in Kitsap county. It is not likely that a victim is going to feel like driving or being driven just after being raped, to a distant county to be treated by staff and perhaps police who may or may not be supportive of her claims is not a reasonable request.
It seems that this case should be a reason that the public come to an upcoming Jefferson Healthcare Commission meeting and demand that JHC implement a SANE as quickly as possible. It could be your child, grandchild or partner next.
On April 26, Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper ordered those charges be dismissed without prejudice, after Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Haas moved to dismiss the case April 25, “due to a number of evidentiary problems,” according to Haas’ declaration of counsel filed with the court.
In the declaration, Haas wrote the alleged victim should have been sent to a sexual assault nurse examiner “almost immediately” after law enforcement received reports of sexual assault on her.