Homemade explosive device injures 3 South Aberdeen residents

A homemade explosive device sent three to the hospital Monday afternoon, Detective Sergeant Art Laur tells us at about 6:22pm, they received information from staff at the Grays Harbor Community Hospital that a 26 year-old man and 21 year- old woman were being treated for burns related to a small explosion. A third victim, a 4 year-old female, was mentioned as also injured in the explosion but was not currently at the hospital. Aberdeen Officers responded to a residence located in the 1600 Block of Coolidge road in an effort to locate the child.

When the officers arrived at the residence they observed a roll of toilet paper smoking on the pavement behind the house. Also noted in the area was a severely chard women’s tank top. While at the residence, it was discovered that the 4 year-old child was now at the hospital having her injuries attended to.

Aberdeen Police Detectives were called to the location and soon determined that the 26 year- old male had been at the residence with his 21 year-old girlfriend and 4 year-old niece. He had placed the toilet paper roll on the ground and poured black powder on top of it. He then lit a fuse which he had attached to the paper, causing the powder to smoke and flash. He then attempted this act again but when he poured the black powder on top, it exploded.

The male received burns to his left hand and leg. The 21 year-old female received burns to both legs, abdomen, and left arm. The 4 year-old child received burns to her upper chest and shoulder area. The 21 year-old female and 4 year-old child were transported by ambulance to Harborview Medical Center with non life threatening injuries. The 21 year-old male was taken to the same location by a family member. Both females remain at Harborview in satisfactory condition. The male was treated and released.

The investigation is on going.


Three vehicle accident North of Hoquiam sends Four to hospital

A three vehicle accident North of Hoquiam yesterday sent four people to the hospital and blocked the road for hours. The Washington State Patrol reports a 38 year old Hoquiam man was Southbound on State Route 109 when his 94 Chevy Suburban crossed the center line and collided with two Northbound vehicles around 4:30 Thursday. Three 58-year-old Tonasket women in a 2005 Ford Escape were injured. An Italian couple in a 2014 Hyundai Sonata were also involved, but not injured.
All four were transported to Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen with undisclosed injuries. The driver of the Suburban was cited for Negligent Driving in the 2nd Degree.

Aberdeen woman wrecks after allegedly falling asleep at the wheel

A 29 year old Aberdeen woman was injured Saturday evening when she apparently fell asleep at the wheel before her suburban drifted off of 109 about 8 miles North of Hoquiam near Powell Road.
The Washington State Patrol reports her GMC Yukon was towed from the scene, it apparently drove down a 10-foot embankment, then rolled and came to rest upside down in the Southbound ditch.
she was transported to Community Hospital with undisclosed injuries, charges may be pending.

Editorial: Greater Grays Harbor Inc. supports “Yes” vote for Public Hospital District #2

If Grays Harbor Community Hospital does not become a public hospital, our economic health will be in jeopardy. That is why the board of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. has voted to support the formation of Grays Harbor Public Hospital District #2.

Community Hospital has struggled the past few years to balance its budget, and the primary reason it has been unable to do so is because of its “payer mix.” Today, about 80 percent of its patients rely on Medicaid or Medicare to pay for their healthcare. Unfortunately the government does not pay enough to cover the costs the hospital incurs just caring for those patients. Eight out of ten times when a patient walks in the door, the hospital is losing money just by doing what they are mandated by law to do.

In the times of economic prosperity, most of the hospital’s patients are employed and have health insurance, and they subsidized everybody else – a fact of life still at most hospitals in the U.S. And the hospital has been cutting costs. But there is no fat left to trim. And the hospital cannot expect two patients to carry their own costs and a portion of those of eight others – it is deeply unfair and fundamentally unsustainable. The hospital needs to be paid a fairer price for what it provides to all of its patients.

GHCH, along with three other rural community hospitals in much the same position, asked this fiscal fairness of the state legislature this past session, and the legislature agreed to increase the reimbursements for Medicaid patients to match the higher reimbursement rates of Medicare patients. However, the law mandates that the hospital must be owned and operated by a public entity – a hospital district.

There are benefits to being public besides recouping a greater portion of Medicaid costs. The hospital will be able to run levies to support its operations. Elected hospital commissioners will set the rate, and county commissioners are in charge of approving anything up to $0.50; anything above that to a maximum of $0.75 goes to a public vote. The average public hospital levy is $0.50, which means $4.17 for someone who owns a $100,000 home, a very small price to pay for the service (Aberdeen residents pay $6.69 per month for storm drain maintenance, for example.) Elected officials and levy votes will make GHCH accountable to the people.

Another effect of the levy process is that those patients who are costing the hospital are chipping in to pay for the cost of the services through rent and property taxes, which makes it more equitable. And no one in Grays Harbor can say they don’t use the hospital – you never know when you, or someone you care about, will need their services. It’s not like a store or a bank.

It is also worth dwelling on what will happen if the public district does not come to pass. Unfortunately, that is a murkier view. It is very likely that many of the hospital’s more than 650, mainly family-wage jobs will be lost and services cut. This alone would be devastating to local businesses, and property values would surely plunge as former medical staff move to jobs elsewhere while others are dissuaded from living in an area which does not have a full suite of medical services.

And forget persuading new industry to set up shop here. Few industrial businesses, and no large scale operations, want to open in an area where the only hospital is a critical access facility that stabilizes and ships emergencies to Olympia. Our area’s dependence on Medicaid would continue and possibly grow, further limiting the hospital.

And think about the medical transport by ambulances – it will tie up our cities’ emergency services. They will be responsible for taking emergency cases from here to Olympia – valuable time where they may be needed for emergency calls here, and a valuable chunk of our communities’ budgets.

None of this addresses what it means if, say, the Family Birthing Center closes up shop – a definite possibility. Will you or your family member need to go all the way in Olympia for routine OB care, never mind the birth? The hospital will certainly provide a lot less primary care to patients, and possibly a great deal less surgery. We have doctors who can do all manner of surgeries, from replacing knees and hips to reconstructive surgery, to cancer surgery. The Harbor stands to lose those services if the hospital district isn’t formed.

A levy is truly a small price to pay for stability, economic development, public safety and accountability. And it’s cheaper than the cost of appointments in Olympia, on the cost to the cities of transporting emergency cases to Olympia.

That is why we support the formation of the Gray Harbor Public Hospital District No. 2, and we urge you to vote Yes.


The Board of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc.

DUI driver allegedly turned around and hit vehicle a second time

The Washington State Patrol arrested a DUI driver overnight after they allegedly struck a barrier on Highway 12 outside of Montesano just after 1 this morning. About 15 minutes later they drove their 91 Chevy Suburban through an intersection at the Gateway Plaza and into a turning vehicle.
The 29 year old Idaho man began to drive away, then turned around and drove into the 78 Ford Flatbed a second time before getting out and attempting to fight the passenger, an 18 year old Aberdeen man, then attempting to leave again.
A 19 year old Aberdeen woman driving the truck, along with her passenger were transported to Community Hospital with undisclosed injuries, the driver of the Suburban was treated at the scene, then booked into the Aberdeen Jail on DUI hit and run charges.

Community Hospital and Harbor Medical Group finalize managed Medicaid contracts

In addition to the Public Hospital District initiative, and other cost saving measures, Grays Harbor Community Hospital (GHCH) and Harbor Medical Group (HMG) have been working since December to find the best Managed Medicaid Insurance Carriers to support their Managed Medicaid patients.  Harbor Medical Group Executive Director, Josh Martin said, “These Managed Medicaid partners must provide exceptional service to our patients, and support the facilities and medical professionals who provide quality healthcare.”

As a result, effective August 15th, 2014, Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Harbor Medical Group will move forward with coverage for Managed Medicaid patients through Amerigroup and Molina and will no longer accept coverage from United Health Care and Coordinated Care.  Effective November 1st, 2014, GHCH and HMG Clinics will no longer accept coverage from Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW).

“We appreciate the relationships we have had with each health plan; however, we have chosen to continue a relationship solely with Amerigroup and Molina, the two plans we believe will best support our patients and the providers who treat them at our hospital and clinics,” says Grays Harbor Community Hospital CEO, Tom Jensen.

Managed Medicaid patients are the only population affected by these changes. If you are a non-managed Medicaid customer, have Medicare with a Medicaid supplement, or if you have commercial insurance, you will not be affected.

For those Managed Medicaid patients who are currently covered by United Healthcare, Coordinated Care or Community Health Plan of Washington, Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Harbor Medical Group are prepared to help facilitate enrollment with one of our preferred partners.  “We have set up an Enrollment Center on the Grays Harbor Community Hospital East Campus first floor, which is staffed with professionals from 9:00am to noon and 1:00pm to 3:00pm, Monday through Friday,” indicates Mr. Martin.

“These are our valued patients and we very much look forward to continuing to serve them and our community for years to come,” says Mr. Jensen.

Regardless of your coverage, if you need emergency care, please go to the Grays Harbor Community Hospital Emergency Department.

For more information, please visit www.ghcares.org or the Enrollment Center.

Smaller taxing authorities could feel strain, or benefit, from new Public Hospital District

About 40 attended the first of two meetings to discuss the protection of the Central Park Park Fire District’s ability to levee at the fire station last night. With a new hospital district potentially pushing smaller fire districts throughout the county closer to their taxing authority maximum, District 2 Chief Leonard Johnson said “We may have a tax impact next year that may result in us increasing property taxes in the fire district from a process that we’re allowed to under law, but it doesn’t require us to go to [ask] the taxpayers.” Johnson described the complicated levee payout process that could put the smaller districts at risk of cap, but also caps out the larger districts taxing authority district-wide. This can incentivize what’s called a buyback, where a larger district pays a smaller not to use their levy, in order to tax at a higher rate across it’s entire district – all legal under RCW. Asked if both districts were interested, Johnson said yes.
With the proposed formation of a Public Hospital District #2 in Western Grays Harbor, and the possible expansion of District #1 in East county, portions of Fire District 2 have become the knot in the middle of a game of tug-o-war.
Fire District #2 Chief Leonard Johnson
Many questions last night asked if Grays Harbor Community Hospital was putting it’s debt on the public dime, CEO Tom Jensen explained “We’re not trying to become a public hospital district to “tax” we’re trying to become a public hospital to get access to a higher reimbursement rate from a bill that was put together and lobbied for two years. If we can get the bill, it means bringing into this community another 3 million dollars. And it says right in the bill that if you want access to this you have to become a Public Hospital District and you have to own and operate it. Now that doesn’t mean Tom Jensen, that means you as the community will own and operate that facility, and I will tell you that with an extra 3 million in the bank, that organization will make money.
Grays Harbor Community Hospital and Summit Pacific Medical Center administratorsCentral Park resident Frank Scherer asked Jensen “What are the current debt of the hospital, and liabilities outstanding, and why do the taxpayers have to make that up to make this hospital solvent?” Jensen replied “Long term debt bonds are about 36-million dollars, technically the bill doesn’t state that it has to be taxed, to that will be up to the commissioners. It won’t even be up to me, So the commissioners will make the decision on what that tax rate  will be, we’re just communicating what it could be. And more than likely the most that we could get if we became a Public Hospital District is 42 cents.”
Along with whether to form the district, your August Ballot will ask you to select a District Commissioner, and 2 at-large Commissioners, for a total of 7 that will make up the public board if the district is approved. If it isn’t approved, you might just see a proposition on the November ballot to add a few cities into the current Hospital District #1 in East County.
Seeing that some of the new district’s potential commissioners are former and current employees of the non-profit hospital, one woman asked why? I asked Police Chief Bob Torgerson if he was planning on stuffing his pockets from the public coffers “The reason to run for any public office is to serve the community, the other reason is that I’m not part of the group that is currently running the hospital. I’ve had 40 years of public experience being in the public eye, doing public service, but the whole purpose is to make it better for everybody.” Torgerson is running against the hospital’s former CFO Tim Howden for the 1st At Large position
The question and answer session lasted about an hour last night, you’ll have more chances to ask questions at one of two meetings next week.
Hospital Administrators will be at the Log Pavillion in Aberdeen Wednesday evening, July 23rd for a debate hosted by the League of Woman Voters beginning at 6, then a second meeting hosted by Fire District #2 is being held in Brady that night at 7.
Listen to Johnson with Doug McDowell on CoffeeTalk earlier this week.

Aberdeen road work around Grays Harbor Community Hospital

The City of Aberdeen is requesting your patience between July 21st through July 31st, as they resurface areas to the hospital.
Oak Street/Anderson Drive (the road up to the Hospital) between Sumner Avenue and Sixth Street; Willow Street from Simpson Avenue to Aberdeen Avenue; and Sixth Street from Martin Street to Rice Street, are the areas that will be directly impacted.
The City’s Contractor, Granite Construction, will have the areas flagged and will open the roadway to one-lane traffic only. Please expect temporary road closures and delays on those above listed roadways through that time frame.
This work is paid for by funds from the Transportation Benefit District approved by the voters in 2012.

Baby uninjured in rollover accident that sends two to hospital

Two people were taken to the hospital with non life threatening injuries after their car rolled last night, a baby in that car was in it’s car seat and was not injured. The Washington State Patrol reports the 19 year old Queets woman’s 1997 Honda Passport was headed North on U.S. Route 101 when it failed to negotiate a left to right curve just south of Neilton, and rolled across the oncoming lane just before 9 Monday night.
A 21 year old Aberdeen man was also taken to Community Hospital in Aberdeen. The State Patrol lists wheels off the roadway as the cause, and reports that charges may be pending.

Aberdeen woman beaten and stabbed alongside 109 North of Hoquiam

An Aberdeen woman was brutally beaten and stabbed multiple times alongside State Route 109 last night. Undersheriff Dave Pimentel tells us her attacker is also her child’s uncle. The 19 year old Hoquiam man confessed to arresting officers and remains in custody on attempted murder charges. Pimentel said a woman called 911 around 10:15 last night after getting into cellphone range, she had dropped off the two North of Grays Harbor City and witnessed the attack.
Earlier last night the suspect had apparently told the victim that he had a surprise for her, the 48 year old Hoquiam woman that reported the assault, was giving them a ride when the suspect asked her to pull over and began assaulting the 22 year old Aberdeen woman.
Pimentel said the victim fled the car, but the suspect gave chase and pulled a knife, stabbing her numerous times according to the witness statement.
Deputies found the suspect nearby, he was booked on investigation of Attempted Murder in the 1st degree, the woman was transported to Community Hospital in Aberdeen and is being treated for numerous injuries including a punctured lung.

anyone with information, or who may have driven by the assault around 10:15 last night is asked to call Sgt. Brad Johansson at 360 249-3711.