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Top tech trends for 2015

Top tech trends for 2015

Remember when a cloud was just a puff of white or gray in the sky? A file was ma...

Port commissioners approve Northwest Packing Co. lease extension

Port commissioners approve Northwest Packing Co. lease extension

Fruit processor Northwest Packing Co. will continue to call Southwest Washington...

Trust reveals plan for Academy renovations

Trust reveals plan for Academy renovations

Although officially it won’t be a done deal until late January when escrow close...

New laws affecting business in 2015

New laws affecting business in 2015

With a new year come new rules and regulations. However, most of the pressing ch...

2015: A critical year for future of the Port of Vancouver

2015: A critical year for future of the Port of Vancouver

The upcoming year holds several major projects for the port of Vancouver. Ten ye...

Best in Business 2014

Best in Business 2014

Here are the winners of the Vancouver Business Journal’s 2014 Best in Business A...

Technology & Electronic Solutions

Top tech trends for 2015

Top tech trends for 2015

Remember when a cloud was just a puff of white or gray in the sky? A file was made of paper? Security required a locking cabinet and a key? It’s hard to overemphasize just how much modern workplaces have been transformed by technology over the past three decades. Today, clouds are a trendy online tool, security requires complex rules and the systems that companies use to generate new leads are und...

Accounting & Finance

What businesses can expect this tax season

What businesses can expect this tax season

The tax man cometh – and just exactly what that means this year depends on your business. For some, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will bring significant ramifications. For others, capitalization and repair rules are going to be a major concern. For businesses and CPAs alike, IRS response times could cause problems. In the following paragraphs, local CPAs share their expertise with VBJ readers to h...

News Briefs

Governor to discuss investments in education during Vancouver visit Thursday

Governor to discuss investments in education during Vancouver visit Thursday

Gov. Jay Inslee will meet with local school officials on Thursday afternoon to talk about investments that help at-risk students. Additionally, he will host an informal discussion about college affordability with WSU-Vancouver students.

Spotlight

Heritage Bank: Banking on growth in SW Washington

Heritage Bank: Banking on growth in SW Washington

One-year after opening a new branch in East Vancouver, Olympia-based Heritage Bank is looking to continue to expand in Clark County, riding positive economic trends.

Heritage entered the Southwest Washington marketplace in September of 2010 via their acquisition of then-struggling Longview-based Cowlitz Bank (also known as Bay Bank). And after more than four years in Vancouver, starting at the ci...

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

ACA: Delayed tracking, reporting & penalties are over

ACA: Delayed tracking, reporting & penalties are over

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was written into law, there have been several confusing delays with its implementati...

The 2015 tax filing season is here

The 2015 tax filing season is here

It is time again for the lively advertisements encouraging taxpayers to get their billions back. Meanwhile, IRS computer...

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