New Study puts Maine at Number Four in the Nation in Emergency Room Visits per Capita.

(NEWS CENTER Maine) — A new study puts Maine at number four in the country in emergency room visits per capita. A study conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation collected data for community hospitals, representing 85% of all hospitals between the years 2012 and 2016. Not included in the study Federal hospitals, long term care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals and others, according to the study.

The top area listed for ER visits per 1,000 people is Washington D.C. The nation’s capital has the highest percentage due, in part to the increase in crime around the area, according to the website MedicareHealthPlans.

The States with the Most ER Visits

  1. Washington D-C
  2. West Virginia
  3. Mississippi
  4. Maine
  5. Ohio
Maine Hospital Emergency Room Visits per 1,000 People
MAINE US
2016 489 440
2015 725 441
2014 580 428
2013 599 423
2012 595 424

Northern Lights Eastern Maine Medical center says the amount of Emergency Department visitors is similar to the study’s timeframe. Dr. James Jarvis, Sr. Vice President and Sr. Physician Executive, and Dr. Michael Melia, Chief of Emergency Medicine, say there are multiple factors landing Maine in the top 5, but EMMC is actually seeing sicker patients arrive in our emergency department than we would in other parts of the country.

“We are, if not close to the oldest state in the nation, so that already brings unique challenges to us,” said Dr. Jarvis. “We are an underinsured state. The decision was made not to expand Medicaid in the state of Maine. In fact, we actually contracted the number of patients that are covered under Medicaid that would leave us with a number of patients that is either under or uninsured in our state.”

““There is more rural medicine in Maine then if you were in New York City,” said Dr. Melia. “Some people are going to seek care for acute things as opposed to going on long trips to go see a doctor for routine medicine.”

Dr. Jarvis says it is easier for patients to get to the ER than a primary care doctor. Many patients have transportation issues to get to proper care.

“It is easier to call 911 and have an ambulance come to your house than it is to get a taxi cab, a friend or a relative or Uber to come to your house,” said Dr. Jarvis. “For some people it winds up for them being cheaper and they are going to get taken to an emergency room and not a doctor’s office.”

Another concern is what the hospital calls ‘super utilizers.’ Patients that continuously frequent the Emergency Department.

“We do have certain individuals who will seek care at the emergency department hundreds of times a year and that certainly taxes the system,” said Dr. Melia. “We try and put resources for those individuals to find out why are they super utilizers and what resources are necessary in order to keep them away from the ED and get them the care they needed.”

LePage orders flags to half-staff, vigils planned in Portland, Rockland

Flags in Maine have been ordered at half-staff as vigils are being planned to honor the eleven victims of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, (while the deaths of two African Americans in Kentucky are ignored… that’s just sad.)

AUGUSTA (AP) — Maine Gov. Paul LePage has ordered United States and state of Maine flags be flown at half-staff in respect for the eleven victims of the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.

The Republican governor said Sunday that he and his wife are “deeply saddened by this tragedy, which occurred in a place of worship.”

Police in Portland also said they were boosting patrols around houses of worship. The Maine Council of Churches is holding a vigil on Tuesday evening in Portland at 5:30 p.m. There is another being held in Rockland at 6 p.m. on Monday at Adas Yoshuron Synagogue, 50 Willow St.

Authorities say gunman Robert Bowers made statements about genocide and killing Jewish people.

Bowers is being treated for gunshot wounds and is due in court Monday.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump ordered flags at federal buildings throughout the U.S. to be flown at half-staff in “solemn respect” for the Pittsburgh shooting victims.

WHAT ABOUT THE “WHITES DON’T KILL WHITES” VICTIMS IN KENTUCKY?

Nope.

New version of health care bill will help Alaska, Maine — home of two holdout senators

 

WASHINGTON — The Republican senators at the forefront of the latest effort to undo the Affordable Care Act plan to release a revised version of their bill Monday sending more health care dollars to the states of key holdouts, as hardening resistance from several GOP senators left their proposal on the verge of collapse.

According to a summary obtained by The Washington Post, Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, will propose giving Alaska and Maine get more funding than initially offered. Those states are represented by Republican senators Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Susan CollinsMaine, who have expressed concerns about the bill but have yet to say how they would vote.

The Cassidy-Graham legislation would overhaul the ACA by lumping together the current law’s spending on insurance subsidies and expanded Medicaid and redistributing it to states in the form of block grants. Alaska would get 3 percent more funding between 2020 and 2026 than under current law, and Maine would get 43 percent more funding during that time period, according to a summary obtained by The Post.

Political tensions, financial worries drive doomsday bunker sales

North Korea’s nuclear tests, severe weather and fears of a financial meltdown are boosting demand for underground bunkers in Maine.

Northeast Bunkers of Pittsfield is “busy as the dickens,” its owner said about the recent nuclear threats and hurricanes.

“Generally speaking, we have higher sales with these types of events,” said owner Frank Woodworth, a former general contractor who started his underground shelter business 15 years ago.

His two-person company sells four to six steel shelters a year ranging from 8×13 feet for two people to 8×20 feet for four people. Prices range from $40,000 to $60,000 installed. Customers are located across Maine, but mostly west of the 20-mile area near the coastline. He’s installed about 50 bunkers to date.

Customers who install bunkers are secretive about it, he said, declining to refer the Bangor Daily News to any of them for comment.

His company uses camouflage and indigenous trees and brush to hide the entrances. The bunkers, buried three to four feet underground with a doorway and stairs to get down to them, also have leach fields for septic, are near groundwater and have filtration systems to keep out gases.

Bunkers were popular in the 1950s and 1960s, especially during the Cold War and Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. One such shelter, built by an Augusta man in the 1950s, made the news in 2011 when officials said it was blocking a $17.3 million sewer project. The former owner said it was protection against a nuclear attack.

Nowadays, bunkers are built not just for doomsdayers, but for the wealthy worried about safety, and for others concerned about civil unrest, financial collapse and nuclear attacks. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian reportedlyordered an elaborate underground shelter after she was attacked in Paris.

Rising S Company of Murchison, Texas, is one of the largest bunker makers in the country, producing about 160, or 10 a year, since it started. About 30 of those bunkers are in Maine, including some near Portland, he said.

Echoing Woodworth’s comments about clients wanting privacy, he said only half a dozen of the total shelters he’s installed were done so with a building permit. Permits typically are required for expansions or buildings added to existing property.

Customers typically decide to order bunkers based on an accumulation of concerns, not because of one event, like the changing of a president, Lynch said.

“But we’ve seen an increase in sales recently in the last couple months with North Korea’s talk about and then doing missile tests,” he said. That includes four bunkers his company installed in Japan.

His shelters, which are custom built of steel and are square to allow more room, range from $39,500 up to the most expensive he’s sold so far, a $14 million, 8,000-square-foot bunker in metropolitan Los Angeles. It has a swimming pool and a bowling alley.

In Maine’s Farmington region, Margaret, a retired school teacher, and her husband, a retired Air Force colonel, had a 1,000-square-foot Rising S bunker installed in March. So far, the longest they’ve stayed in it without coming out has been 18 days. They bought the bunker over worries about war and the instability of the banking system.

“The U.S. is an enemy to so many nations,” said Margaret, who spoke via email through Lynch on the condition that her last name and exact location not be used.

She described the bunker as having three bedrooms and an open floor plan with a kitchen, dining and living areas. It sleeps 10 people. The amenities include an air filtration system, plumbing and a homey feel inside.

“I have decorated it with family portraits and other things from around our home so it really feels good when we go inside,” she said.

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157 Mainers die every year that we don’t accept federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage

Maine People's Alliance
Robin,I had an incredibly fun and insightful interview with Mainers for Health Care (Yes on 2) campaign manager Jennie Pirkl on the Beacon podcast this week, and something she said got me thinking.

She reminded me that the best evidence we have indicates that about 157 Mainers die every year we fail to accept federal funding to expand health coverage through Medicaid. Over the last few years, we’ve seen it happen. We know some of their names. We’ve read their obituaries.

157 people a year over the next couple decades is more than 3,000 lives that could be saved and only 220,000 people voted in the last odd-year referendum election.

So, if Question 2 passes with a bare majority, it will save about one life for every 35 votes.

35 votes! That’s one radio ad! That’s a couple shifts of knocking on doors!

This election matters and it has never been easier to make a difference. You could literally save someone’s life. Visit www.mainersforhealthcare.org to give some money or volunteer right now.

Also on Beacon recently:

Thanks as always for your feedback and for sharing these pieces on social media.

Keep up the fight!

-Mike

Mike Tipping
MPA Communications Director
mike@mainepeoplesalliance.org

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High court to decide if medical marijuana covered by workers’ comp

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court will decide if state law requires Workers’ Compensation Insurance to pay for a millworker’s medical marijuana or if the insurer could be charged as an accessory in a drug deal under federal law.

Justices are set to hear arguments in the case Wednesday at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta, which will be the first time the state’s highest court has considered the question of insurance reimbursement for the cost of medical marijuana.

The case pits a former Madawaska mill employee, injured on the job, against the company that administers the mill’s insurance for injured workers.

Gaetan Bourgoin, now 58, of Madawaska, in 2015 sought reimbursement for medical marijuana prescribed for pain due to a back injury suffered in 1989 when he was 29 and working at what is now Twin Rivers Paper Co.

Bourgoin tried a variety of opioid-based painkillers over the years without relief, according to briefs filed in Portland.

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Supreme Court Lifts Restrictions on Trump’s Travel Ban, Affecting 24,000 Immigrants (cuz no one’s ancestors ever came here as an immigrant, right?)

H13 travel ban

Back in the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily lifted restrictions on President Trump’s travel ban—meaning about 24,000 refugees may now be barred from entering the United States. Last week, an appeals court in Seattle ruled that tens of thousands of refugees who had received promises of assistance from refugee resettlement organizations should be allowed to enter. But on Monday, the Supreme Court intervened to block this ruling. The Supreme Court is soon expected to issue a fuller ruling on the ban, which blocks refugees and all citizens of six majority-Muslim nations from entering the U.S.