Cosmopolis man mugged in Aberdeen, police seek tips

Aberdeen police are looking for tips after a man was attacked by two people near Heron and L Street early Tuesday morning.
Police Captain John Green tells KBKW at about 1:10 this morning, they responded to a call of a Spanish speaking male who was reporting a robbery. The victim, a 24 year old Cosmopolis male, was in the area of Heron and L Street.

Officers saw that the victim had a laceration on his head and he was bleeding. The Aberdeen Fire Department responded and provided aid to the victim. The victim was transported to the GHCH by AFD.
The investigating officer used the language line and found out the victim was reporting that he had been assaulted and robbed of his wallet and cell phone near the motel by the AM PM store.
The victim reported he was walking home behind the Travel Lure hotel when he was confronted by two men and a women. The victim said he was assaulted by the two males who hit him and knocked him to the ground. His wallet and cell phone was taken from him. The victim said the female suspect supplied a knife to one of the male suspects during the attack. From the initial investigation it did not appear the victim was assaulted with the knife.

He described the suspects as:

White female, about five feet tall, about 120 pounds with straight dark hair in a long ponytail, and early 20’s in age.

White male, 5-4 to 5-5, thin build, long black hair.

White male, about 6 feet tall, average build, and mid to late 20’s in age.

The investigation is continuing.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Aberdeen Police Department at 360-533-3180 or the APD tip line at 360-538-4450.

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.

Signed,

The Board of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc.

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.

Grays Harbor Community Hospital ranked among most affordable in Washington

In light of the Affordable Care Act and a new emphasis on the cost of health care, Nerd Wallet Health (www.nerdwallet.com) has built a Best Hospitals tool to help patients investigate the cost of hospital care in their local areas. Using this data, they analyzed the 100 most common treatments at 47 hospitals in Washington, to identify the most affordable hospitals.
They asked the following questions:
1) Which Washington hospitals offer the highest number of affordable treatments?
2) What are these treatments?
3) How satisfied are patients of these hospitals?
Grays Harbor Community Hospital Ranked 5th in the listing of top 10 most affordable facilities. Tom Jensen, CEO said, “We understand that healthcare can be very expensive; Grays Harbor Community Hospital works to ensure that our costs are fair and competitive, especially in our rural community.”
“Our goal is to ensure that these cost effective services remain available in our area. We are asking the community to support us as we move forward in requesting voters’ approval of a Public Hospital District #2 in Grays Harbor County. Being ranked as one of the most affordable hospitals in the entire State of Washington is further evidence that Grays Harbor Community Hospital is worth fighting for,” said Tom Jensen, CEO.
For more information please visit: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/2014/03/10/best-hospitals-washington/
Methodology:
Affordability: Using CMS Medicare Provider Charge Data, we calculated which of 47 hospitals in Washington has the lowest price for each of the 100 most common medical procedures, and then summed the number of times that each hospital had the lowest price. The data are for services billed for Medicare patients.
Procedures/diagnoses: For the procedures that each hospital was least expensive, we presented the most commonly known.

Patient satisfaction: Patient satisfaction rates were obtained from HCAHPS, a nationally administered survey on patient satisfaction. “Satisfied” was taken to be patients who reported, “I would definitely recommend this hospital” on this survey.
Hospital characteristics: Individual hospital websites and U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals.
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About Grays Harbor Community Hospital: Grays Harbor Community Hospital (GHCH) Aberdeen, Washington, is a comprehensive regional medical center providing quality care to a community of over 90,000 residents covering the 3,000 square miles of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties. Established in 1959 Grays Harbor Community Hospital is a 501c 3 nonprofit community hospital. Licensed for 140 beds; services include a level-three trauma designated Emergency Department, Critical Care Unit, Surgical Services, and Family Birth Center. GHCH’s outpatient services include Diagnostic Imaging, Rehabilitation Therapies, Wound Healing Center, Surgical Services, and Physician Clinics. Learn more at www.ghchwa.org or www.twitter.com/ghcares.

Grays Harbor Community Hospital will ask to become a public hospital district

Grays Harbor Community Hospital will ask voters for approval to become a public hospital district.
The Board of Directors voted to move forward with exploring the idea at their regular meeting yesterday, adding in their press release that “Legislators are convinced the development of a second Public Hospital District in Grays Harbor is the best option for Gray Harbor Community Hospital.
A Steering Committee has been formed to assist in the facilitation of this involved process.

The press release went on to say that “Today is the first step in a multi-step process; we will have additional information available as we move forward in this exploration. Ultimately, this will be up to a vote of the community; GHCH will work to inform voters of the options and the implications of forming or not forming a Public Hospital District.
During this process Grays Harbor Community Hospital will continue to support its mission to heal, comfort and serve our community with compassion.

Harborcrest program at Grays Harbor Community Hospital dedicated to M.D. Bruce Worth

Born Robert “Bruce” Worth in 1949, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he spent his youth in Washington, D.C. and later Portland, Oregon. He remained in the state to study pre-med at the University of Oregon in Eugene and then attended medical school at the University of Oregon in Portland. He became an intern at the University of California, Los Angeles where he met his wife Bette. The two moved to Grays Harbor in 1980. He took over a family practice in Aberdeen at that time and was soon assigned Medical Director of HarborCrest, CareUnit at that time. In 2008, Worth was awarded Physician of the Year and he continues to serve the community through his family practice and HarborCrest.

The R. Bruce Worth, M.D. Chemical Dependency Treatment Center at HarborCrest has a team of professionals dedicated to assisting with life changes that support long-term sobriety and a drug-free lifestyle. The program and its team have been nationally recognized as an excellent treatment option for those seeking help for their chemical dependencies. In 2012, Professional Research Consultants (PRC) awarded HarborCrest Behavioral Health with the honor of “Top Performer” for Overall Quality of Care of an Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit. This means that amongst other inpatient behavioral health units around the country, HarborCrest ranked the highest in customer satisfaction.

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About Grays Harbor Community Hospital: Grays Harbor Community Hospital (GHCH) Aberdeen, Washington, is a comprehensive regional medical center providing quality care to a community of over 90,000 residents covering the 3,000 square miles of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.  Established in 1959 Grays Harbor Community Hospital is a 501c 3 nonprofit sole community hospital.  Licensed for 140 beds; services including a level-three trauma designated emergency department, critical care unit, surgical services, and Family Birth Center.  GHCH’s outpatient services include diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation therapies, wound healing center, surgical services, and physician clinics.  Learn more at www.ghchwa.org or www.twitter.com/ghcares.

GHCH: Health coverage is as close as the nearest phone or computer

For example:
• A family of 4 making less than $32,500 can qualify for free health coverage through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid);
• A family of 4 making up to $40,000 can qualify for an estimated $985 in tax credits per month; and
• A family of 4 making up to $90,000 can qualify for an estimated $436 in tax credits per month.
• Subsidies are available for a family of four making up to $94,200 a year.
http://www.wahbexchange.org/info-you/individuals-and-families/
Supporting Medicaid expansion and enrollment have both been high priority issues for hospitals. Providing health care—especially emergency health care—to uninsured patients usually results in a significant burden on the family, and can be costly for the hospital as well. The cost of care for the uninsured gets shifted to other paying patients. If more people have health coverage that covers the cost of health care services, and provides them with access to preventative care, the entire community is better off.

Additional Resources to compare plans and sign up for health coverage
Online: www.wahealthplanfinder.org 
Phone: Washington Healthplanfinder Customer Support Center: 
1-855-WAFINDER or 1-855-923-4633
Email: customersupport@wahbexchange.org 
To find in-person assisters and brokers: www.wahealthplanfinder.org 
For more information about what Washington state hospitals have been doing to support Medicaid expansion and the Exchange’s outreach and enrollment activities, visit http://www.wsha.org/coverageishere.cfm


About Grays Harbor Community Hospital: Grays Harbor Community Hospital (GHCH) Aberdeen, Washington, is a comprehensive regional medical center providing quality care to a community of over 90,000 residents covering the 3,000 square miles of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties. Established in 1959 Grays Harbor Community Hospital is a 501c 3 nonprofit sole community hospital. Licensed for 140 beds; services including a level-three trauma designated emergency department, critical care unit, surgical services, and Family Birth Center. GHCH’s outpatient services include diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation therapies, wound healing center, surgical services, and physician clinics. Learn more at www.ghchwa.org or www.twitter.com/ghcares.

Grays Harbor Community Hospital acquires state of the art CT scan technology

Aberdeen, Washington – Grays Harbor Community Hospital has worked with Toshiba International in upgrading its CT Scanning equipment with new cutting edge technology and software, making GHCH one of the first hospitals in Western Washington to have this advancement available to its patients.

“This improvement offers physicians the ability to have a clearer quality image to assess their patients,” explained John J Simon III, Director of Diagnostic Imaging, at Grays Harbor Community Hospital. “It’s like going from standard television to high-definition. It’s really an amazing tool.”

Toshiba’s 128 slice CT scanner will enhance imaging and increase examination speed, while reducing radiation exposure to the patient by half.

Simon concluded by stating “This is another example of the Hospital’s investment in technology, ensuring our patients have the best quality care, close to home.”

CT Scanner

Grays Harbor Community Hospital above the cut on Consumer Reports surgical ratings

“Our surgery ratings give patients more information so that they can make informed choices before surgery” says John Santa, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of Consumer Reports Health. The study found that rural hospitals often outperform other hospitals, on average. This Rating is a positive step toward transparency among health care services and shows the success rate of Grays Harbor Community Hospital Surgeries to be among the best.

“It’s wonderful to be nationally recognized for the hard work and quality care that we consistently do at Grays Harbor Community Hospital” Dr. Nicholas Hallak, Chairman of the GHCH Surgical Department. “It’s good for people to know that community hospitals are achieving results that are comparable or even better than the larger hospitals.”

“This recognition should also be shared with the entire staff of Grays Harbor Community Hospital; the surgeons, anesthesiologists, clinical and non-clinical staff. They all work together as a team to support and care for each patient.” said GHCH CEO Tom Jensen.

About Grays Harbor Community Hospital: Grays Harbor Community Hospital (GHCH) Aberdeen, Washington, is a comprehensive regional medical center providing quality care to over 90,000 residents covering the 3,000 square miles of Grays Harbor and Pacific counties.  Established in 1959 Grays Harbor Community Hospital is a 501c 3 nonprofit sole community hospital.  Licensed for 140 beds; services including a level-three trauma designated emergency department, critical care unit, surgical services, and Family Birth Center.  GHCH’s outpatient services include diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation therapies, wound healing center, surgical services, and physician clinics.  Learn more at www.ghchwa.org or www.twitter.com/ghcares.

GHCH Board of Directors Opposes Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033

The Washington State Office of Financial Management projects the initiative will also reduce general fund revenues supporting public safety, infrastructure and general government activities by an estimated $694 million for counties and $2.1 billion for cities by 2015.
 
I-1033 will directly harm GHCH. The Washington State Hospital Association has calculated the difference between the projected increase in the cost of caring for Medicaid patients and the inflation increase allowed under Initiative 1033.  The hospital association projects that under Initiative 1033’s more restrictive inflation formula, GHCH will experience $2.3 Million in Medicaid payment shortfalls over the next six years.
 
“We count on state funding for health care services through Medicaid, Basic Health, and Apple Health for Kids,” said board chairman Mike Melville. “We are very concerned about the impacts of Initiative 1033 on our ability to maintain the excellent health services we provide in this community. We are also concerned about the impact of
I-1033 on emergency medical response, fire protection and other local government services critical to public safety and which we rely upon to provide patient care.”
 
“GHCH has joined an ever-growing chorus of voices in opposition to Initiative 1033,” said Cassie Sauer, spokesperson for the Washington State Hospital Association. “This initiative takes away local control, slashes funding for health care and education, and makes the tough times we’re experiencing even worse. Voters across the state should reject it.”