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Portola Reporter
Portola , California
August 21, 2013     Portola Reporter
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August 21, 2013

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8B Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter DITORIAL AND OPINION EDITORIAL COU !1 saves li ies Gift baskets, congratulatory emails and cards of thanks from hospitals around the state should be arriving at Eastern Plumas Health care this week. ... Well, maybe they won't, but they should. Thanks to EPHC's hard work, research and persistence, our little hospital managed to accomplish something that state legislators could not -- the hospital convinced the Department of Health Care Services to grant EPHC's request for an exemption from the potentially devastating skilled nursing Medi-Cal cuts. "It is tremendously good news for us," hospital CEO Tom Hayes said. "This proves that a small hospital and community, working together, can make a huge difference." The exemption, which could save EPHC as much as $1.3 million per year, will also save dozens of rural hospitals in the state millions of dollars. The impact of this exemption could literally be responsible for keeping small frontier hospitals like EPHC in business. Hayes and EPHC Public Relations Coordinator Linda Satchwell were beaming last week when they got the news. They were quick to thank the community for its support, but Hayes and Satchwell deserve most of the credit for this monumental accomplishment -- Satchwell for doing tl e research, and Hayes for making sure the facts made it into the right hands. It was Satchwelrs research that uncovered inaccuracies in a Department of Health Care Services study. She kept digging and found that Plumas could be classified as a "frontier" county. The difference between the words "frontier" and "rural" might seem min6r ... but the distinction probably saved our hospital. "The impressive thing about this exemption, and what makes us proud in Plumas County, is that Linda Satchwell submitted the specific request for exemption which outlined criteria that required the DHCS to grant the exemption to more than 25 hospitals," said Supervisor Jon Kennedy. "This tenacious and well-thought-out effort not only saved our hospital from future cuts, but also saved hospitals in other counties?' Kennedy himself fought hard for EPHC. He traveled to Sacramento several times to plead the hospital's case to legislators. He also helped Hayes author an assembly bill. Armed with Satchwell's research, Hayes took the ball from there. He tirelessly knocked on doors in Sacramento and eventually caught the attention of John Mendoza, the acting chief of the Fee for Service Division of the Department of Health Care Services. Mendoza helped pave the way for the exemption, guiding Hayes through the formal request for exemption process. And it was Mendoza who delivered Hayes the good news last week. The impact of the news was immediate for Plumas County. The hospital announced its Layalton and Portola facilities will begin accepting skilled nursing residents again. The victory for EPHC is some of the best news we've had in a long time. It was a gigantic accomplishment for everyone involved. Satchwell said it was a tremendous community effort "from writing letters, making calls, appearing in our video, posting flyers, coming to meetings and offering to help in any way they could -- it all added up." Hayes agreed. "We did this ourseH, es. And we should be very proudP' Editorials are written by members of the editorial board, which consists ofthepublisher, the managing editor and the appropriate staff writer or writers, and should be considered the opinion of the newspaper. Fea ing /p ewspaper Michael C. Taborski ............. Publisher Keri B, Taborski ...Legal Advertising Dept. Dan McDonald ......... Managing Editor Jenny Lee ................. Photo Editor Ingrid Burke ................ Copy Editor Staff writers: Laura Beaton Debra Moore Carolyn Carter Maddie Musante Michael Condon M. Kate West Makenzie Davis Aura Whittaker Ruth Ellis Sam Williams Will Farris James Wilson - Susan Colt Johnson Samantha P. Hawthome Feather River Indian Valley Bulletin Record (530) 283-0800 (530) 284-7800 Portola Reporter (530) 832-4646 Chester Progressive (530) 258-3115 Lassen County Westwood Times PinePress (530) 257-5321 (530) 256-2277 Mi~nbor, Printed on C~i~m~ N~paper recycled paper Publishers Assoc. Surgery at the VA leaves much to be desired It was a little thing, this hernia in my belly button, an incision hernia from last year. 's surgery. Rather than wait 'til it got bigger, or started to bother me, I went to the VA hospital in Reno for to get it fixed. In the pre-0p meeting and exam by the surgeon he discovered another hernia in a more private place. He than scheduled me for surgery and we talked about post-op pain medication. "Vicodin," he says. "Nope," says I, "I am allergic to all forms of codeine. Stuff makes me itch all over." This same statement has been made to various VA doctors for the past 10 years, but nobody seems to get it. "You have a 10t of allergies," he says. "Yeah, from what I've learned it's probably because of the Agent Orange exposure I had in 'Nam." He said that he would order another medication and that was that. The surgery was scheduled for 6:15 a.m. on July 22. My friend Troy Rittgers agreed to drive me and we got a room in Reno the night before. The next day I reported to the hospital and they got me ready for what was supposed to be some very minor surgery. Troy was to pick me up a couple hours later for the trip home. Recovery rooms are strange places. MY TURN WILL FARRIS Staff Writer Patients wake to the after-effects of some serious knock-you-out stuff and the leftover pain of'being cut upon. My first memory was from some guy saying he had to pee, and somebody else telling him that he had a catheter and it made him f el that way. "If I don't get up I'm gonna pee the bed," he whines. "No you just feel that way, let it go." "But I gotta pee..." This was a circular conversation that wasn't going to go anywhere for a while. Some guy came over to me and asks me how I feel. "Ouch," says I. He then gives me an injection that puts me in heaven one moment and makes me want to toss lunch in the next. He gives me another shot that This week's special days NOT JUST AN ORDINARY DAY COMPILED BY KERI TABORSKi In 1966, the robotic spacecraft Lunar Orbiter One takes the first photograph of the Earth from orbit around the moon. August 24 Thomas Edison patents the motion picture camera in 1891. Not just an ordinary day....a sampling of Construction workersstart pouring weekly notable special days and facts concrete for the Panama Canal 1909. throughout the year. August 21 In 1981, Mark Chapman is sentenced to 20 The American automaker Oldsmobile years to life in prison for murdering was founded in 1897., John Lennon. Hawaii, "The Aloha State" was admitted as the 50th state of the United States in 1959. Motown Records releases what would be its first No. 1 hit: "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes in 1961. August 22 The first Ame:ica's Cup race was won by the yacht "Anerica," winning the 53-mile regath around the Isle of Wight in 1851. Cadillac Motor Company is founded in 1902. August 23 The automobile tire snow chain is patented in 1904. In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as head of the Commtmist Party of the Soviet Union. August 25 The United States is created in 1916. National Park Service In 1950, United States President Harry Truman orders the United States Army to seize control of the nation's railroads to avert a strike. August 26 In 1920 the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution takes effect, giving women the right to vote. blocks the nausea. Comes the surgeon, who tells me that I had an incident coming out of surgery where I stopped breathing, and that it's OK because they put the breathing tube back in for 30 minutes, and I was fine. But because of that they had decided to keep me overnight for observation. Troy comes in and tells me that he will be back in the morning to pick me up. Then I get loaded onto a gurney, into an elevator and into a bed. The nurse comes in and I say, "Ouch." Apparently the doctor had ordered some pain reeds, but the pharmacy hadn't got around to filling the order, and wouldn't for two more hours. Now comes a crisis; I had to urinate and couldn't[The pressure in my bladder was becoming quite painful. I told the LVN my problem and she came back, scanned my bladder telling me that the nurse didn't want to do it. Then she asked me if I wanted temporary relief, or to leave the catheter in. All I knew was that I needed relief from the pressure. She chose the temporary route. I was in pain from the surgery and the pressure that continued to build in my bladder. I asked for pain relief and they brought me Vicodin. "I can't take that stuff," I said. And they went away. Once again I needed relief from bladder pressure. The LVN came in with the scanner again and the RN. I ordered the RN to forget the scanner and get the catheter in five minutes ago. During that long night I asked for pain relief a number of times. Three times they offered me Vicodin, which I had to refuse. Finally somewhere in the middle of the night I was given one Tylenol, which was like trying to put a forest fire out with a garden hose. They took a thousand cc's of fluid out of my bladder, tried to gPce me Vicodin as I left the hospital, and sent me home with the catheter installed and no instructions on how to remove the thing. Apparently a doctor had prescribed a different pain medication, which I received one week later by UPS. Long after I needed the stuff. The Veterans Administration does a lot to try and take care of veterans. But every year at budget time, the VA's share comes out way short from what it actually takes to do the job. The people who were taking care of me in the aforementioned case either lacked the experience, were incompetent or just didn't care. At one point the RN on my ward threatened my 84-year-old roommate because he wasn't doing his breathing exercises enough. The man had just had a knee replacement. I have no complaints about the surgeon. But I suspect that the anesthetist over-medicated me, causing the breathing problem. In a week all my vitals and test results were back to normal. And the care I got on the ward was awful. My sister-in-law, an RN, advised me on how to remove the catheter, else I could have seriously hurt myself. REMEMBER WHEN , KERI TABORSKI Historian 75 YEARS AGO ............. 1938 The Plumas County road crew is oiling the county road from Arlington Bridge to Taylorsville and the streets in the town of Taylorsville this week. The winter storms damaged the roads extensively there. An allotment of $3,000 was made yesterday by California State Governor Frank F. Merriman to rebuild the community water system of Johnsville 50 YEARS AGO ........ 1963 An all-time record of 34,634 attended the five-day Plumas County Fair last week. Hunters Market in Greenville paid $1.00 per pound for the Plumas County 4-H Grand Champion lamb showri by Jim Meyers of Taylors~flle, Advertisement: The opening of the Great Western Timber House Restaurant in Chester August 15 at Noon, Cocktails and hers d'oeuvre will be served. 25 YEARS AGO ....... 1988 The new United States Post Office building in Meadow Valley opened last Road, moving from a location behind the Meadow Valley fire station after its lease expired. 10 YEARS AGO ........ 2003 The 21st annual Portola Railroad Days with the theme "A Step Back in History", will be held this weekend. \ Note: items included in the weekly Remember When column are taken from our bound newspaper archives and represent writing styles of that particular period. The spelling and grammar are not edited, so the copy is which was destroyed by floods in week, located next to the Meadow Valley presented as it actually appeared in the December of last year. Builders Supply store on Bucks Lake original newspaper. M edZ:csare: A baby bo mer's headache y e to one monthaway ' ....................... ~ will or will not cover when I am on from beingthe panic starta Medicareto rise. baby, I am feeling Medicare. If they say nothing, then I guess I Aging isn't the source of my pulsing will make an appointment at the Social blood pressure but rather the stress of " Security office in Susanville to have them working my way through mounds of explain what the different plan options Medicare paperwork and advisements that ...... .. really mean. seem to fill my post office box lately. Like a Then I'll have a better idea of whether or thermometer, my blood pressure continues not I'll need supplemental insurance and in to steam upwards as I seek to understand what it all means and how the pieces work (or don't) together. No one tells you that when you hit the magic age of 65 years the personal insurance you have relied upon and paid dearly for over the years may not be there for you anymore. You spend years working and paying into Social Security and Medicare only to learn that your small monthly Social Security check is going to get even smaller when you have to pay for the mandatory start of Medicare. .Then you learn you still have one more component of Medicare, called Plan A, B, C, D, or maybe even Z, that you also have to pay for. Then there's that little item called supplemental insurance hanging out there on the fringe that may be necessary to acquire, also at a personal cost, to ensure that as a senior you are covering all the bases to have coverage in your golden years: According to the paperwork, the Plan part deals with prescriptions and while this part of Medicare isn't mandatory to start at age 65, it does have the penalty of a higher cost if you delay your entry into the program. As I look at the calendar and count the MY.TURN M. KATE WEST Staff Writer chester days until my birthday month of September, I know my time to figure this all out is dwindling rapidly. Throughout my career I've amassed about 29 years in the administrative field, which is all about paperwork. I have written, pushed, filed and created paperwork by the pounds but the 6-inch pile I've accrued at home is literally scaring me to death. My fear comes from the worry that if I don't make the right choices, I will have $o live at least one year, or until the next open enrollment session, with my mistakes. At this time I am formulating my plan of attack and as with anything else, I am hoping that taking a step forward will help to belay some of the anxiety I am feeling. My plan is to break everything down into components and try to understand just one piece at a time. As a matter of fact, just bringing this topic to the forefront as I write is actually, calming. I think my first step is to call my what areas of coverage. I'm thinking supplemental insurance may be the wild card in the mix that I will have to play very carefully. .As I think about working this plan I am also estimating how long it will take me to work my way through all these individual entities. I'm betting that it will be two full days. I am speculating that I have probably procrastinated as long as I can and that time is now at a premium (no pun intended!). I would also guess that as I make my way through the agencies involved, I will more than likely be forming enough new opinions to write another My Turn column. They say mental stimulation is a good thing as we age, that it can assist with the short-term memory loss we begin to experience at this age. While I would just as soon forget all this, I'm thinking that by the time I get all my 'Ts" dotted and my "T's" crossed I'm likely to be stimulated enough to scare the pants off any verbal opponent I may run across. Wish me luck with my challenge. If I find a less complicated or less stressful way to work through Medicare I will be sure to pass it along,