The Health News USA July 25 2017

Overview

  • Thousands of American nuns led by Sister Simone Campbell have signed a letter to senators asking them to reject the Republican plan to bring up a health care bill this week. The letter, organized by NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby and signed by more than seven thousand U.S. sisters, asks senators to vote against any motion to bring up “any bill that would repeal the ACA and cut Medicaid.”
  • Trouble began early last year when executives at a small hospital an hour north of Spokane, Washington, started using a company called EmCare to staff and run their emergency room. After EmCare arrived, nearly 28% of patients got the highest-level billing code. On top of that, the hospital, Newport Hospital and Health Services, was getting calls from confused patients who had received surprisingly large bills from the emergency room doctors.
  • Madalyn Parker, a Michigan web developer at live-chat platform Olark, who suffers from depression and anxiety, sent an email to her team saying she’d be off for two days to focus on her mental health. Her boss thank her for the candor.  She shared the exchange on social media in late June, and it’s now been retweeted nearly fifteen thousand times.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 25th of July 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/07/23/thousands-nuns-urge-senators-vote-against-obamacare-repeal/502885001/

Thousands of American nuns have signed a letter to senators asking them to reject the Republican plan to bring up a health care bill this week that they say is “immoral and contrary to the teachings of our Catholic faith.” The Catholic sisters — led by Sister Simone Campbell who was a vocal advocate for passage of the Affordable Care Act in two thousand and ten — will deliver their letter Monday and plan to personally visit key Catholic senators to ask them to oppose the health care bill.

The letter, organized by NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby and signed by more than seven thousand U.S. sisters, asks senators to vote against any motion to bring up “any bill that would repeal the ACA and cut Medicaid.” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said he plans to bring a health care bill to the floor this week, but it is not clear which one. The first hurdle McConnell will face is a procedural vote to bring up the legislation.

Democrats are refusing en mass to support any ACA repeal bill, so McConnell will need fifty Republican votes on the procedural motion. Several Republican senators have voiced opposition to various repeal plans, including Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins, both Catholics. The most recent draft of a Senate healthcare bill is “a proposal to cut billions of dollars out of care for those who are most needy” while giving a tax cut to the wealthy, Campbell told USA TODAY.

Nuns around the country work in service to poor communities where health care services would be devastated by rolling back federal support for Medicaid. “Once they back away from this foolishness, then we can get down to the business of addressing problems” in the existing health care law, she said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/upshot/the-company-behind-many-surprise-emergency-room-bills.html

Early last year, executives at a small hospital an hour north of Spokane, Washington, started using a company called EmCare to staff and run their emergency room. The hospital had been struggling to find doctors to work in its E.R., and turning to EmCare was something hundreds of other hospitals across the country had done. That’s when the trouble began.

Before EmCare, about six percent of patient visits in the hospital’s emergency room were billed for the most complex, expensive level of care. After EmCare arrived, nearly twenty eight percent got the highest-level billing code. On top of that, the hospital, Newport Hospital and Health Services, was getting calls from confused patients who had received surprisingly large bills from the emergency room doctors. Although the hospital had negotiated rates for its fees with many major health insurers, the EmCare physicians were not part of those networks and were sending high bills directly to the patients.

In a statement, EmCare described the study as “fundamentally flawed and dated.” But it acknowledged that surprise billing, as the billing is called when the doctor is unexpectedly not part of an insurance network, is “a source of dissatisfaction for all payors, providers and patients in our current healthcare system.” It said that the issue was not specific to any one company, and that it had already publicly committed to reaching agreements with insurers for the majority of its doctors within the next two years. This study, and others, have found that EmCare is not alone in the practice of sending out-of-network bills.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/07/11/mental-health-day-tweet-shows-whats-wrong-mental-health-care/468145001/

The Internet is fixated on a boss’s reply to an employee who took time off for her mental health, and the viral response reveals much of what is right and wrong about mental health care in America. Madalyn Parker, a Michigan web developer at live-chat platform Olark, who suffers from depression and anxiety, sent an email to her team saying she’d be off for two days to focus on her mental health. Afterward, her boss thanked her for the candor. She shared the exchange on social media in late June, and it’s now been retweeted nearly fifteen thousand times

Parker is far from alone. Millions of Americans experience mental illness each year. A stunning statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only seventeen percent of U.S adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health.

Prince Harry, who recently opened up about struggles with mental health after the loss of his mother, Princess Diana, said in July that we need to “make conversations about mental health as commonplace as those about physical health.”  Mental illness is not an obscure affliction, but mental health experts say it remains deeply stigmatized. When a story like Parker’s goes viral, it shows how difficult it is for many people to talk about their mental health and how rare compassionate responses from employers are. That Parker explicitly named her “mental health” day was seen as an act of courage. Mental health experts say they wish it needn’t be.

“Without mental health there is no health,” said Allison Abrams, a licensed psychotherapist in New York City. “Just as we have sick days for medical issues, there is no reason that we shouldn’t have sick days for mental health issues. There is no difference between the two.”

Approximately one in five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And according to the World Health Organization, what happens in the workplace is key to a person’s overall mental health.

“If you have a cold, or have the flu, or you’re feeling under the weather, most employers say don’t come to work,” said Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and author of Thirteen Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. “But yet we treat mental health differently, we act as though if you’re having a bad day, or you’re feeling depressed or you’re having anxiety, that you should just toughen up and come to work anyway.”

 

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