The Regence auditor in charge of my case, Anke Menzer-Wallace, failed to turn up any irregularities in our documentation. But, still, Ms. Menzer-Wallace issued a stern admonition to my father and me, ordering us not to open our clinic on Saturdays to administer flu shots.
Health care inflation continues to exceed the base inflation rate. Health insurer CEO compensation has ballooned out of control –in 2017, Cigna CEO David Cordani took home $43.9 million, Humana CEO Bruce Broussard made $34.2 million, and Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini earned nearly $59 million. That’s approximately $162,000 per day.
For the first time in a decade, the number of uninsured children in the United States increased in 2018. Apple Health seemed like the quintessential success story because it expanded Medicaid coverage for children — in Kitsap County alone, the number enrolled grew from 9,000 to over 21,000 in the last 10 years. However, Medicaid reimbursement also decreased by more than 35 percent, after a federal provision that kept Medicaid payments on par with Medicare expired in 2015. Some states set aside funding to maintain rates equal to those of Medicare, but Washington was not one of them.
Nonprofit hospitals, in general, are facing challenging times. And that challenge is going to reverberate through our county, whether that means a major facility on a new construction timeline or further corporate creativity to reduce health care costs.
Whether we recognize it or not, we’re in a housing affordability crisis. Over a third of households in the U.S., carry a shelter burden that is beyond the standard of affordability – that is, costs usurp more than 30% of monthly income. Locally, rents have increased by 50% over the last 5 years and more startling, the number of evictions has grown by 90% in the last 3 years.
To date, there have only been two female physicians elected to Congress. But in the coming midterm election there are six races with a chance at making history. It’s these battles which could make 2018 “The Year of the Female Physician.”
During the same period, the U.S. maternal mortality more than doubled, skyrocketing from 9.8 to 21.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. That’s six times higher than most Scandinavian countries and three times higher than Canada and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., around 700-900 women die and another 65,000 experience life-threatening complications during or after childbirth. By any standard, the U.S. has the worst performance on this crucial measure of any country in the developed world.
Prior Authorizations: Who is Responsible for the Death of a Patient when Insurers Practice Medicine?
In July, 2009, the family of Massachusetts teenager Yarushka Rivera went to their local Walgreens to pick up Topomax, an anti-seizure drug that had been keeping her epilepsy in check for years. Rivera had insurance coverage through MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid insurance program for low-income children, and never ran into obstacles obtaining this life-saving medication.
Over the past three decades, medical school tuition has quadrupled. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimates the cost to attend a public medical school is more than $240,000 and as much as $322,000 for four years at a private medical school – an amount which is more or less equivalent to the cost of a family home.
I want to share information about a new program that can help Kitsap County buck the trend by bringing a whole crop of enthusiastic young physicians to our area. It’s called the Northwest Washington Family Medicine Residency Program.