Vancouver Business Journal

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County, wine industry approaching smoother waters

County, wine industry approaching smoother waters

A learning experience. That is how both vineyard/winery owners and county offici...

Banner Bank to open Salmon Creek branch

Banner Bank to open Salmon Creek branch

Banner Bank, a Walla Walla-based financial institution with a branch in East Van...

Study: $7 billion investment in state transportation would yield $42 billion in benefits

Study: $7 billion investment in state transportation would yield $42 billion in benefits

A healthy ROI awaits the state of Washington if its leaders are willing to make ...

Downtown Vancouver cocktail bar readies for opening

Downtown Vancouver cocktail bar readies for opening

The owners of Grocery Cocktail and Social, a new cocktail bar/restaurant located...

WSU Vancouver: Enhancing the business community for 25 years

WSU Vancouver: Enhancing the business community for 25 years

25 years ago, Washington State University opened its Vancouver branch on the Cla...

Maruichi Northwest to invest $30 million in port steel mill

Maruichi Northwest to invest $30 million in port steel mill

A new steel mill is coming to the Port of Vancouver USA’s Centennial Industrial ...

Health Care & Hospitals

Healthiest Companies of Southwest Washington 2014

Healthiest Companies of Southwest Washington 2014

Recognizing the employers who go above and beyond to create a healthy workforce

Studies continue to show that good health practices at work create a more productive and efficient environment with less absenteeism, proving that the “daily grind” doesn’t have to be a grind. From a Vancouver-based manufacturer to a regional law firm, these four workplaces are making the 9-to-5 a happier and healthie...

Food & Agriculture

County, wine industry approaching smoother waters

County, wine industry approaching smoother waters

A learning experience. That is how both vineyard/winery owners and county officials seem to view the past few years, as they sought solutions that would encourage the development of wineries in the county while mitigating impacts to neighboring parcels. And, like many learning experiences, it was sometimes fraught with mistakes, misunderstandings and frustration. But Marty Snell, Clark County comm...

News Briefs

Riverview Community Bank posts $1.1 million in second quarter earnings

Riverview Bancorp Inc. reported this week that it earned $1.1 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, in the second fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2014. The second quarter results also included a $3.5 million reduction in nonperforming assets, an 18.6 percent decline.

Spotlight

ExecuTech Lease Group: Putting the personal touch into equipment leasing

ExecuTech Lease Group: Putting the personal touch into equipment leasing

Many restaurants and small businesses use a cash register and a separate terminal to handle sales, while another PC handles timecards and inventory management. But as the business grows, so does the need for a full-scale point of sale (POS) system. Such a system in a restaurant, for example, integrates everything from placing an order to a credit card swipe into one piece of equipment. But this ty...

The elephant in the room

There are two experiences everyone who lives on this planet shares - birth and death.  Birth is something we don't have awareness of and tend to experience through stories from our parents. Death on the other hand is a much more personal, first-person experience.     

There are two experiences everyone who lives on this planet shares - birth and death.  Birth is something we don't have awareness of and tend to experience through stories from our parents. Death on the other hand is a much more personal, first-person experience.     

Because our culture is one of life, few of us spend much time thinking, much less talking, about how we would like to die. As Congress and the nation have entered into the healthcare reform debate, how we die has become the elephant in the room. 

One of the facts about healthcare expenditures is that a disproportionate share occurs in the last year of life. A large percentage of these costs can further be classified as "futile care" since they neither change health outcomes nor improve the quality of life. Because our cultural and healthcare delivery system focuses on life, we are seldom willing to step back from aggressive treatment and ask the question, "Why are we doing this?"

The good news is there are alternatives in the form of Palliative Care and Hospice. Both of these programs work with the patient and their families to help them on their journey while allowing them to make their own decisions on which paths they would like to take. 

Palliative Care is available to anyone who is faced with a life-threatening illness and is still seeking curative treatment. It provides assistance with pain and symptom management, emotional and spiritual support and assistance with navigating the healthcare system.

The most important aspects of Palliative Care may be the support in establishing and clarifying the goals of care and providing education regarding the end of life. When the time comes and that cure is no longer an option, transition to Hospice care allows the patient and family to focus on quality of life. The primary goal is controlling symptoms so that life can be enjoyed as long as possible. Wherever hospice care is provided, there is an interdisciplinary team working with both the patient and the family to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual support and education.

From a public policy perspective, Hospice has the additional benefit of saving Medicare approximately $2,300 per patient. These savings are mainly the result of reduced "futile care" that does nothing to change the outcome or enhance quality of life.

One of the challenges of healthcare reform is the added cost of insuring an additional 40 million people. Legislation currently debated in Congress calls for about 50 percent of the cost to come from reduced Medicare expenditures - causing a reduction in Hospice and Home Health, two of the most cost-efficient Medicare programs.

In addition, the state of Washington is looking to totally eliminate Hospice for Medicaid to help solve their budget challenges.

On the federal level, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has offered an amendment to the Senate bill that reduces the Hospice cuts. As of press time, Sen. Maria Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray, both of Washington, have not signed onto this amendment. 

If you have an interest in preserving options for everyone on their end of life journey, please contact Senators Cantwell and Murray and urge them to endorse the Wyden amendment to the Senate's healthcare reform bill.

For more information on Hospice and Home Health, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization at www.nhpco.org.

Marc Berg is director of HomeCare and Hospice at Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver.

Opinion

Focus Column

How fitness makes you better at work

How fitness makes you better at work

In August of this year I had the opportunity to submit an article to the Vancouver Business Journal entitled “Healthcare...

5 Ways to win in workplace wellness

5 Ways to win in workplace wellness

In the building industry, you might not expect to need a fast horse in the race to win in wellness. Construction workers...

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