September 10, 2019
Meeting was called to order by Carol Johnson at 7:36am. Paul led the flag salute.
Thought of the Day:
Peggy gave a history moment.
Ann Marie moved to accept September 3 meeting minutes, seconded by Andrew. Motion passed.
Corey Hightower, Charlie McCaughan, Keith Cortner, Brad Griffith
Noon Kiwanis Thursday features Colleen McAleer, Clallam EDC
Andrew moved to extend the meeting up to 15 minutes, seconded by Kaj. Motion passed.
Program: Nate Adkisson and Anne Marie Henninger, Jean Hordyk, Ted Bowen, and Thom Hightower running unopposed for Hospital Commissioner
Andrew introduced the candidates.
Candidates gave opening remarks. Questions by the floor followed.
Would the US benefit from a Canadian style single payer system?
Ann Marie stated 83% of our patients are on Medicaid or Medicare, we are already almost there and she doesn’t think the hospital could stay open. Nate said a socialized system is the best way, tiered systems such as in Germany provide a good model for the US. Ted would have to research for an educated answer. Jean said there is no real answer, but too many options. The board need to explore all options and people are responsible for their own health. Thom said there will be no answer in his lifetime.
What are some ideas for financial challenges?
Nate would advocate more at teh state and federal level and use technology for patients to be more on top of their services and costs. Ann Marie siad they provide a high amount of charitable care. Savings could be in purchasing drugs and have strong advocates. Wellness services would help people take control of their health. Jean has a tax levy concern. They can’t cut much more and have moved primary care physicians back to within 200′ of the hospital. She would encourage health and join other hospitals in purchasing. Ted said patients should take control of their healthcare. Thom said we are a large rural hospital that gets paid the same as Seattle hospitals and advocacy makes a difference. They are now in a legal case looking to overturn the site neutral ruling. They are doing what they can do.
Would you support a new tax levy?
Nate can’t say without knowing why. Ann Marie agreed, adding they need to sustain and maintain the hospital. Jean said the levy paid for charity and debts, and now barely meets their needs. They need to improve facilities and will be highly probably. Ted would do what it takes to keep it going. Thom said their budget is over $200M / year and a levy has to be considered.
Candidates thoughts about transparency
Ann Marie said it is difficult to read pricing, but they change all the time especially for medications. Full transparency may not be realistic. Nate said CMS is making this happen already. In 2020 hospitals will have to have 70 procedures searchable but insurance companies are fighting it. Ted said transparency is only fair. Jean said OMC has done its best, your own health determines what actually happens. Thom said to establish prices based on how people will pay. Billing is complex, but transparency is very feasible based on an elective procedure.
Can discounted medication be extended to the community?
Nate said control must be government driven and medication should not be able to be purchased worldwide. Ann Marie said they only specific medications discounted. Clinics to have some to give patients, that wouldn’t help with insulin. She would support worldwide purchases but said to your own research. Jean said the hospital works with patients but declare your medications it traveling across borders. Maybe if people purchased medications from other countries it will show the US government that we’ll take action. Ted said he would work to make it easier for patients. Thom said big pharma is the primary ingredient to the problem. Hospitals can only buy at what the market will allow. The federal government is not taking an active role.
What have the candidates learned about Clallam County?
Nate talked to consultants in the community, physicians, and reports across the state, read the strategic plan, attended meetings and read minutes. Ann Marie spent two years attending meetings and follows committee meetings, met with the leadership team and current commissioners. Jean learned care is complex and challenging with regulations. They provide the best quality care. Ted said as a safety and security advisor for NOHC he listens and learns from the public. Thom said US is failing to meet healthcare needs: diabetes and strokes are increasing nationwide. Addressing chronic illness by the public being educated to make better choices is an opportunity for growth in OMC.
Candidates gave closing statements.
Steve said the department has a good working reserve, the budget is reasonably healthy, they don’t have a cash flow problem, and have not asked for allowed assessments. He would spend a month looking at financials and increase taxes only if they have to. Keith would look at where they can get money without a tax increase but understand they would need funds for infrastructure and replacing older trucks from somewhere.
Keith would look at insurance rates. Steve said WA state determines rates based on many factors. We are a 4, with a 3 the insurance rate goes down.
Candidates made closing comments.
Meeting adjourned at 8:48am.