06-12-2024  7:20 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

James Beard Finalists Include an East African Restaurant in Detroit and Seattle Pho Shops

The James Beards Awards are the culinary world's equivalent of the Oscars. For restaurants, even being named a finalist can bring wide recognition and boost business.

Ranked-Choice Voting Expert Grace Ramsey on What Portland Voters Can Expect in November

Ramsey has worked in several other states and cities to educate voters on new system of voting. 

Asylum-Seekers Looking for Shelter Set up Encampment in Seattle Suburb

Asylum-seekers mainly from Angola, Congo and Venezuela have set up an encampment in a Seattle suburb. Some of the camping asylum-seekers were told to leave their shelter at a church while others lost their short-term motel or rental housing when it expired June 1. A notice for the campers to leave by Tuesday afternoon expired with no law enforcement action.

School Board Selects Dr. Kimberlee Armstrong, Ed. D. to be Next Superintendent

Throughout her career, Armstrong has been instrumental in advancing student achievement, addressing racial inequities and closing the achievement gap for students of color through her dynamic approach to classroom innovation, curriculum enhancement and professional development.

NEWS BRIEFS

Kobi Flowers Crowned 2024 Rose Festival Queen

Flowers has been active in her school community as member of the leadership team at Self Enhancement, Inc., Varsity Cheer...

Summer Events are Shining Through at Multnomah County Library

Start your June by honoring Juneteenth, celebrating Pride and playing the Summer Reading game. ...

PCCEP Forum on Brain Injuries, Policing and Public Safety

This event will feature speakers with lived experience of brain injuries and the criminal justice system, and policy professionals ...

Chaz Ebert Book Signing Event at Powell’s This Weekend

Ebert's new book explores The FECK Principles—a term Chaz coined—of Forgiveness, Empathy, Compassion and Kindness as four...

Portland Trail Blazers Tip-off Summer Series

The Trail Blazers participate in culturally diverse community events throughout the summer ...

Bull that jumped the fence at Oregon rodeo forced to retire from competition, owner says

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Party Bus, a 3-year-old bull bred for bucking, has performed in his first and last rodeo. Party Bus — named after his father, Short Bus — made national headlines last weekend at his first rodeo when he jumped the fence of a crowded arena in central Oregon...

Off-duty guard charged with killing Seattle-area teen after mistaking toy for gun, authorities say

SEATTLE (AP) — An off-duty security guard in a Seattle suburb has been charged with second-degree murder by prosecutors who said that he fatally shot a 17-year-old six times in the back as the teen and his friends tried to return a toy gun that the guard believed was a firearm to a sporting goods...

Josh Sargent out for Colombia friendly, could miss Copa America

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — United States forward Josh Sargent could miss Saturday's friendly against Colombia and could be dropped from the Copa America roster. A 24-year-old from O'Fallon, Missouri, Sargent scored 16 goals in 26 league games with Norwich in England's second-tier League...

Duke tops Missouri 4-3 in 9 innings to win first super regional, qualify for first WCWS

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — D'Auna Jennings led off the top of the ninth inning with a home run to end a scoreless pitching duel between Cassidy Curd and Missouri's Laurin Krings and 10th-seeded Duke held on for a wild 4-3 victory over the seventh-seeded Tigers on Sunday in the finale of the...

OPINION

The Skanner News May 2024 Primary Endorsements

Read The Skanner News endorsements and vote today. Candidates for mayor and city council will appear on the November general election ballot. ...

Nation’s Growing Racial and Gender Wealth Gaps Need Policy Reform

Never-married Black women have 8 cents in wealth for every dollar held by while males. ...

New White House Plan Could Reduce or Eliminate Accumulated Interest for 30 Million Student Loan Borrowers

Multiple recent announcements from the Biden administration offer new hope for the 43.2 million borrowers hoping to get relief from the onerous burden of a collective

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

After years of delays, scaled-back plans underway for memorial to Florida nightclub massacre

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Survivors and the families of victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre had hoped by now to have a permanent memorial in place for Wednesday's eighth anniversary of the attack by a lone gunman who killed 49 people at the gay-friendly club in Orlando, Florida. ...

Virginia NAACP sues school board for reinstating Confederate names

The Virginia NAACP sued a county school board Tuesday over its reinstatement of Confederate military names to two schools, accusing it of embracing segregationist values and subjecting Black students to a racially discriminatory educational environment. The school board in Shenandoah...

Dutch king and queen get a red-carpet welcome in Georgia, and a chance to show off their dance moves

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — The king and queen of the Netherlands on Tuesday received a red-carpet welcome from Savannah's mayor, chatted with crane operators on the dock of one of America's busiest seaports and danced onstage with students from Georgia's oldest historically Black college. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Book Review: Katie Ledecky dishes on what makes an Olympic legend in ‘Just Add Water'

Katie Ledecky didn’t dream of becoming an Olympian as a kid. It was just something she and her brother, Michael, did at a pool in Maryland that she describes as “maximum chill.” The lack of pressure was part of what drove her deep enjoyment of the sport from an early age, and, consequently,...

Book Review: Glamour and tragedy intertwine in Griffin Dunne’s memoir ‘The Friday Afternoon Club’

Actor and producer Griffin Dunne grew up in New York and Los Angeles with the glitterati all around. His father, Dominick Dunne, a television executive and film producer when Dunne was young, liked to hobnob with the rich and famous. His uncle, journalist and screenwriter John Gregory Dunne,...

Academy Museum Gala picks starry honorees for its fall fundraiser

Rita Moreno and Paul Mescal are getting together with Quentin Tarantino in October. It’s not for a movie (yet). All three are being honored at the glamorous Academy Museum Gala, the organization said Monday. The event is only in its fourth year but has established itself as a...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Southern Baptists to decide whether to formally ban churches with women pastors

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Southern Baptists already can kick out churches that believe women can serve as pastors....

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, who was selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame three times in a storied career as a player and...

Russia fires more missiles and drones at Ukraine ahead of diplomatic efforts to stop the war

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces fired missiles and drones at the Kyiv region and five other areas of Ukraine...

Cooking and coughing: Respiratory diseases plague Kenya as more people burn wood to save money

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Piles of firewood surrounded Jane Muthoni in her kitchen made of iron sheets. The roof,...

At least 49 die and 140 are missing after migrant boat sinks off Yemen's coast, UN agency says

CAIRO (AP) — A boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of Yemen, killing at least 49 people and leaving...

Haiti’s transitional council appoints new Cabinet tasked with leading a country under siege by gangs

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s transitional council appointed a new Cabinet on Tuesday, marking the...

Tami Luhby CNN Money

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Get a hip replaced at Olympia Medical Center in Los Angeles, and Medicare will pay the small, doctor-owned hospital $15,585, or about 13% of what Olympia charged in the bills it submitted.

But go less than six miles away to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center for the exact same procedure, and Medicare will reimburse the facility nearly $26,000, or almost 30% of what it billed.

The wide variance between hospital charges and Medicare payments came into the spotlight after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released detailed data on hospital billing earlier this month. CNNMoney analyzed the data and found that payments for joint replacements vary from as low as $9,100 to more than $38,600.

The disparity has to do with the location, mission and clientele at each medical center.

Medicare pays a rate that's set by law for various procedures. What the hospital actually charges -- $117,449 in the case of Olympia, and $87,418 for UCLA -- doesn't matter. And hospitals that agree to accept Medicare, which nearly all do, cannot bill patients for any unreimbursed costs.

But Medicare also pays a little extra to certain hospitals, like those that are in an expensive area, treat a lot of uninsured or sicker patients, or serve as a teaching hospital for recent medical school graduates.

"The disparities in Medicare payments are linked to different circumstances," said Brian Cook, spokesman for the Medicare agency. "We think that's a fair price."

These adjustments can add up to a much heftier check. For instance, Medicare pays an average of $54,682 for a major heart procedure at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, compared to $14,550 to Springhill Medical Center in Mobile, Ala.

In the Los Angeles case, Medicare pays UCLA more because it serves as both a teaching hospital and a transplant center, and has higher uncompensated costs for care. UCLA also treats a higher percentage of sicker patients than its smaller rival.

But hospitals say they are losing money on Medicare patients, to the tune of nearly $24 billion a year, according to Caroline Steinberg, vice president of the American Hospitals Association, an industry trade group. Hospitals say that forces them to bill patients with private coverage more.

For every $1 a hospital actually spends on care, Medicare generally reimburses 90 to 95 cents, according to the trade group. Private insurers usually pay $1.34 per dollar of expenses.

While the federal government released the data in hopes of helping consumers better understand the cost of health care, the information shows how hard it is to untangle what procedures cost and what the payment should be, said Stuart Guterman, vice president at The Commonwealth Fund, which advocates for a better health care system.

He was surprised to see the wide variation in Medicaid payments, and would like more detailed data on what specific procedures cost and what gets reimbursed.

"How do we figure out what the right amount is to pay for good health care?" he said.

The Medicare data can at least give patients a starting point for negotiating their charges. That's particularly true for the uninsured or those with high-deductible plans, said Dan Mendelson, chief executive of Avalere Health, an advisory company for insurers.

"It's important for consumers to be aware of the disparity between hospital charges and Medicare payments," he said.

 

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast