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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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February 12, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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February 12, 2014
 

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 7A Camp performers Members of the Quincy High School cheerleading squad pose with participants in the 2014 Quincy High School Cheer Clinic. The young performers got the chance to perform during' halftime at the Winter Hoopla on Feb. 7. Top row, from left: Dulce Santos, Annie Froggatt, Kealey Froggatt, Bracy Wood, Ariana Ekkelboom, Kyonna Carey, K'Dedra Lee and Abby Ball. Front row, from left: Samara Shea, Nadia Ekkelboom, Kyah Mooring and Charisma Bonnel. Photo by James Wilson Medi-Cal patients frustrated Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.com A change mandated by the state that was supposed to improve medical care and save money is failing-- at least in Plumas County -- and Public Health Director Mimi Hall wants to remedy the situation. The state of California changed the way it administers Medi-Cal in 28 rural counties, but unlike the success the transition enjoyed in urban areas, rural clients are suffering. "This is a serious rural county issue," Hall told the supervisors during their Feb. 4 meeting. She explained that in Novenber 2  tat  ,,, , changed fl Vffee-for-service plan to managed care. Hall stressed that this change has nothingto do with the Affordable Care Act, but was, strictly a state decision designed to save the state money while improving patient care. Medi-Cal clients were given a choice of two companies: Anthem Blue Cross or California Health and Wellness. But to access health care, the clients must locate medical care providers who accept their plan. Many local providers have opted out because the reimbursement rates are lower than in the past. Pharmacies have been particularly impacted. For example, Chester Medi-Cal recipients can no longer fill a prescription in Chester, and must travel out of town to do so. The nearest pharmacies that accept Medi-Cal are in Susanville or Greenville. Supervisor Kevin Goss, who operates Village Drug in Greenville, said that on a recent Friday the pharmacy filled 240 Medi-Cal prescriptions and earned $28 in total. "That is unsustainable," Hall said. "Pharmacies are opting out because it' not a living rate." During an interview last week, Hall said that when she broached the problem with the state's director of health care services, he suggested mail order as a solution for rural clients. Hall said that approach doesn't work when someone needs immediate access to medication. She also cited an example of a local woman who suffered from cancer and was referred to Enloe Medical Centerin Chico for treatment. The woman had to change her provider to one that Enloe accepted, but when she returned home, she had to switch plans again because the pharmacy that provided her drugs accepted an alternate plan. '1 "Some of our consumers are experiencing a complete lack of access to care," Hall said. According to Social Services Director Elliott Smart, there are roughly 2,500 Medi-Cal recipients in Plumas County, which represents roughly 12 percent of the population. Statewide, roughly 14 percent of the population is on Medi-Cal, Hoping to improve the situation, Hall scheduled a stakeholder meeting in Quincy on Feb. 7 that included county officials, hospital administrators and other health care providers. "This is a really, really big issue," she said. And it's an issue that is affecting other rural counties as well. Hall plans to collect data from those counties so efforts can be coordinated to resolve the problems Medi-Cal clients are facing. "We need to figure out how to provide better access," she said. 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DR 6406_916 New doctors, revamped bills and changes dominate hospital meeting Debra Moore Staff Writer dmoore@plumasnews.com Confusing and untimely billings continue to be the No. 1 complaint that hospital board members receive, but that could change soon. "Our goal is to produce a statement with a balance during the business cycle," Chief Financial Officer Cindy Crosslin told directors during the Plumas District Hospital board meeting Feb. 6. Crosslin explained that hospital staffbills insurance companies and Medicare before a bill reflecting the balance due is sent to the patient. That can mean months of lag time between a doctor or hospital visit and when the patient sees a bill for the service. The new bill will be designed to be easier to decipher. Director Kathy Price asked to see an example of the new format before it is sent to patients, but she and the other directors were pleased that improvements are planned. Emergency department Improvements are also in store for the hospital's emergency department. Until major renovations can occur, the office and treatment rooms will receive a facelift. "They really need paint and a spruce-up," CEO Doug Lafferty said. Improvements have already been completed at Quincy Family Medicine to accommodate another physician arriving this summer and increased hours for specialists such as orthopedist Dr. John Foley. Spring health fair The spring health fair will be held May 5 - 8, and this year will offer some additional screenings and include a new feature. In addition to the usual blood draws and the option for bone density checks, the hospital is offering vascular and diabetes screenings. Also new this year, existing patients' test results will automatically be added to their medical chart. "We want to be proactive on our end," Lafferty said. In the past tests were reviewed by a nurse and then ' sent directly to the patient. If the nurse noticed something that might require follow-up, the patient would be called, but it was up to,the patient to notify his or her physician. "That's a big step for us to have it get to the charts," Director John Kimmel said. Lafferty is expecting 400 to 500 people to attend the spring health fair. Foundation celebrates good year Board chairman Bill Wickman reported that the hospital's foundation "had its best year ever." During the donation drive, the foundation received 80 gifts totaling more than $32,000. "We made a concerted effort in the Indian Valley this year," Wickman said. "We made a lot more personal requests." Director John Kimmel said he had been working with local attorneys to include Plumas District Hospital Foundation as an option when they are' helping clients write their wills. "I created a list of local charities," Kimmel said. One of the foundation's annual fundraisers, Denim & Diamonds, is scheduled for March 22. Meeting time change The hospital will now conduct its monthly board of directors meetings at 4:30 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. This is just a half-hour earlier than the current start time of 5 p.m. Board chairman Bill Wickman said he made the request to help accommodate the hospital's desire to minimize overtime pay. The meetings require some hourly paid staff to attend. Wickman will remain chairman of the board for a second year as has been the board's tradition, and Price will continue as secretary. The board elected Kimmel to the new position of vice chairman. Measure A Oversight Committee The board appointed Dennis Clemens to serve on the Measure A Oversight Committee. Clemens regularly attends the hospital board meetings. Flu update Chief Nursing Officer Dan Schuessler reported that there have been five cases of flu at Plumas District Hospital, with two of them occurring in employees. Four tested positively for H1N1; the fifth wasn't tested. He told the board that as of Jan. 31, 147 flu deaths were reported in California, compared to 14 at the same time last year. "It's hitting hard again," Schuessler said. The day after the board meeting, the public health department reported the first flu death, in Plumas County: an elderly individual with many underlying health conditions. i State of the art MRI,CT, Digital Mamma, & Ultrasound- Safe, accurate, local. Portola Medical Clinic: 832.6600 Graeagle Medical Clinic: 836.1122 Loyalton Medical Clinic: 993.1231 Indian Valley Medical Clinic: 284.6116 WWW.EPHC.ORG 6 To send a legal: typesetting@plumasnews.com To send an advertisement: mail@plumasnews.com (plumaspub@a01.com is NO LONGER IN USE