The Patient Cost Estimator is available to Virginia Mason patients as well as others who are just shopping around to find out where to find the most affordable medical procedures. Some health care facilities might provide estimated prices or charges for a procedure, but those can be a much different amount than the cost the patient actually ends up with because there are a variety of bills that might come from hospitals, labs, physicians and elsewhere.
A: It was the view of the UW that in order to continue our participation in the WWAMI program we had to be “100 percent in,” and that was the term that was used by UW. And by that they meant we could not continue in the WWAMI program while pursuing aspirations to have a second medical school in the state.
Harborview Medical Center has volunteered to become one of the hospitals willing to consider receiving U.S. patients evacuated from Western Africa for treatment of Ebola.
The decision follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s request last week to find hospitals around the country that could treat citizens who have been on the frontlines of the international crisis.
“Consistent with Harborview Medical Center’s mission and role of serving the public in Seattle, King County and our region, we’re willing to consider accepting U.S. residents who may be infected with Ebola,” said Dr. Timothy Dellit, associate medical director of the Seattle hospital. “It will depend on the hospital’s current capacity and our ability to maintain our critical functions.”
There are no patients with Ebola in Washington, and there are no plans to evacuate patients to the region in the near future.
There are no patients with Ebola in Washington, and there are no plans to evacuate patients to the region in the near future. However, the hospital and state and local health officials are ready.Continue reading →
Medicare is fining a record number of hospitals – 2,610 – for having too many patients return within a month for additional treatments, federal records released Wednesday show.
Even though the nation’s readmission rate is dropping, Medicare’s average fines will be higher, with 39 hospitals receiving the largest penalty allowed, including the nation’s oldest hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.
The federal government’s penalties, which begin their third year this month, are intended to jolt hospitals to pay attention to what happens to their patients after they leave.
Last year, nearly 18 percent of Medicare patients who had been hospitalized were readmitted within a month.
Around the country, many hospitals are replacing perfunctory discharge plans—such as giving patients paper instructions—with more active efforts, such as ensuring that outside doctors monitor their recoveries and giving supplies of medication to patients who may not be able to afford them.
Others are still struggling to meet the new expectations. Before the program, some hospitals resisted such efforts because they weren’t paid for the services, and, in fact, benefited financially when a patient returned. Continue reading →
With more people obtaining health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, places like Harborview Medical Center are providing much less “charity” (uncompensated) care. The Emergency Department there is as busy as ever, though.
Neglected to pick up your prescription? Now, there’s a good chance your doctor will know and do something about it, thanks to a slew of new partnerships between CVS Health and various health systems.
One of the most recent, which is slated to begin by early next year, will integrate the electronic medical records from MedStar Health’s 10 hospitals and 4,000 doctors – located in Washington, D.C. and Maryland — with CVS pharmacies as well as the chain’s 900 Minute Clinics located across the country.
It makes coordination easier, said Bob Gilbert, MedStar’s president of ambulatory services. When someone gets care at a pharmacy or retail clinic, it will be entered in the patient’s MedStar records for the doctor to see.
If a MedStar patient receives CVS service in another state, practitioners there will still be able to see the patient’s records.
Counting the MedStar partnership, CVS now has 41 such health-system agreements in place, with the last nine encompassing the retailers’ pharmacies. CVS hopes the other existing arrangements – which linked the systems with the Minute Clinics — will follow this course.Continue reading →
A report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services projects that hospitals will save $5.7 billion this year in uncompensated care costs because of the Affordable Care Act, with states that have expanded Medicaid seeing about 74 percent of the total savings nationally compared to states that have not expanded Medicaid.
Fred Hutch and SCCA experts weigh in on the good, bad and ugly of the electronic cigarette quandary
By Diane Mapes / Fred Hutch News Service
TV personality Jenny McCarthy is a paid spokesperson for Blu eCigs. Photo by Blu eCigs
Since electronic cigarettes were introduced to the world a decade ago, they have grabbed headlines, frustrated physicians and thoroughly confused consumers.
“Our patients are highly motivated to quit, but they’re confused about the mixed messages of e-cigarettes,” said Donna Manders, a certified tobacco treatment specialist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “A lot of them believe the hype that is out there, that these must be safe because they’re being sold everywhere.”
Unfortunately, there are far more advertisements, celebrity spokesmodels (like anti-vaccine advocate Jenny McCarthy) and new brands of e-cigs than strong, evidence-based studies.
“There’s a lot of excitement but very little data,” said Jonathan Bricker, psychologist and smoking cessation researcher in the Public Health Sciences division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “The FDA has to regulate the device before a researcher can conduct a trial on its efficacy for smoking cessation and the devices aren’t regulated yet. We’re in a Catch-22.”Continue reading →
About a quarter of the 243 groups of hospitals and doctors that banded together as accountable care organizations under the Affordable Care Act saved Medicare enough money to earn bonuses, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Tuesday.
Those 64 ACOs earned a combined $445 million in bonuses, the agency said. Medicare saved $372 million after accounting for the ACOs that did not show success, including four that overspent significantly and now owe the government money.
The bonuses, losses and Medicare savings are teensy sums in the context of a program that spends half a trillion dollars a year on care for the elderly and disabled.
But the Obama administration views the results so far as evidence that reorganizing the financial incentives for doctors and hospitals — a key element of the health law – can translate to substantial savings if the program expands nationwide.Continue reading →
The 7th annual Seattle Brain Cancer Walk will take place on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion.
Founded in 2008 by a group of committed volunteers and families, the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk has raised over $2.5 million for research, clinical trials and comprehensive care for brain cancer patients in the Pacific Northwest.
UW officials say the study wildly over-estimated the cost per student to attend medical school at UW.
They also claim a new medical school would suck resources from the existing medical program known as WWAMI, which is named for the five states it operates in: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. Washington State University is part of the program.
Doctor shortages and economic development: Those were the two major issues Washington State University officials emphasized Monday after last week’s release of a feasibility study that examined the prospects for a new medical school in Spokane.
The number of cases with Ebola, shown here, could double by the end of the month. There is a one in five chance it will reach the U.S. in that same time, researchers predict. Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Disease modeling shows virus is spreading ‘without any end in sight’
By JoNel Aleccia / Fred Hutch News Service
The deadly Ebola epidemic raging across West Africa will likely get far worse before it gets better, more than doubling the number of known cases by the end of this month.
That’s the word from disease modelers at Northeastern University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who predict as many as 10,000 cases of Ebola virus disease could be detected by Sept. 24 – and thousands more after that.
“The epidemic just continues to spread without any end in sight,” said Dr. Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the the University of Florida and an affiliated member of Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease and Public Health Sciences divisions. “The cat’s already out of the box – way, way out.”
It’s only a matter of time, they add, before the virus could start spreading to other places, including previously unaffected countries in Africa and developed nations like the United Kingdom — and the U.S., according to a paper published Sept. 2 in the journal PLOS Currents Outbreaks.Continue reading →
“We’re disappointed by WSU’s announcement today to pursue a separate, independent medical school aside from the existing Spokane medical school we’ve worked hard to build together in partnership with the Spokane community,” said UW Regent and spokesman Orin Smith in a statement Thursday.