4.095 health offer, tech, covid

Monday 03/06/2023

Two big events today, one to attend, one to run.

First up at 9am was a meeting chaired by Rhonda to introduce a new option for in-house medical care.

History: Until 2018, PAMF doctors held regular weekly office hours at Channing House. This was a result of the founding of CH by Dr. Russell Lee, one of the founders of PAMF. Around 2018 PAMF was bought up by Sutter Health and that relationship ended. Rhonda said that negotiations went on with Sutter Health for some time but Sutter was recalcitrant, insisting on a very sizeable regular payment for very limited coverage. In any event, the weekly office hours by PAMF doctors only benefited residents who used PAMF. That’s most of them, but there are some with Kaiser coverage, and others.

Recently a total of five PAMF doctors have announced retirement, affecting nearly 100 IL residents. So lots of people looking for new doctors anyway, and Sutter Health being typically slow and incommunicative about assigning new doctors. It seems there is also a doctor shortage generally. Problems problems.

So today CH has a new medical partner, Pine Park Health. This is a company that specializes in providing in-home medical care for residents of senior facilities. Their model is, they become your new primary care physician. Your insurance doesn’t change. Like any PCP, they bill your insurer for whatever they do, they have access to all your records, and they can make referrals.You keep all your existing specialists, cardiologists, surgeons, whatever. But you call them whenever you need something, or attend an in-house clinic day. They provide a minimum of 1 day a week of in-house clinic, 2 days a week or more depending on how many people sign up with them. They also provide phone consults, 7 days, 9-5; and do video visits if needed.

The in-house care is actually not by an MD but a Nurse Practitioner. The NP’s are supervised by an MD, one specific MD, Dr. Denise Yun, who was there at the meeting today to answer questions. Since she is the one-and-only MD they have for the Bay Area, how does she do it? She asserted — and I later verified with my neighbor Dr. Margaret — that a typical PCP has over 2,000 people on their “slate”. Most people see their PCP once or twice a year. (That’s still a lot of people. 2000/300 == 7 annual checkups a day, roughly. Do doctors do that many checkups, over and above whatever illnesses people come in with? No surprise it is hard to get an appointment.) Anyway, Dr Yun asserted that as the Pine Park Bay Area MD she has fewer, more like 1,800, people on her “slate”, and doesn’t see them directly except as the NP’s call her in.

So that’s the solution that CH is able to offer, for in-house medical care. If anyone wants to switch, they are making it very easy, and I’m sure the simplicity (no change of insurance) and convenience (in-house treatment) are attractive for the approximately 100 being jerked around by PAMF right now. My PCP is nowhere near retirement and I like her, so I don’t plan to change. I might at some future point if it got difficult to go to her office.

That took until 10:30, which left just 30 minutes to set up for Gigi’s Book Talk. I have to say, that Gerald of IT made a hash out of the A/V for Rhonda’s meeting. She couldn’t advance her slides with the clicker; he didn’t mute zoom attendees as they joined so there was chit-chat from them; there were mic problems galore.

I am very pleased to say that Gigi’s talk came off perfectly. No mic or audio problems; she could advance her own slides, etc. Not only did it run smoothly but I was also able to make a video recording of the talk on my other computer. We have often talked about the ability to record events directly, but to date we have always run them as Zoom meetings and used Zoom to record. This wasn’t zoom, and I managed the recording all by my little self. Running two MacBooks like a boss.

The rest of the day was empty and I just wasted it. (But now I’ve made a list of like 6 things I need to catch up on tomorrow.)

Late news: 6 IL residents and 3 staff members have tested positive for Covid. There was a bus load of people who rode to the Ballet in SF yesterday (Sunday) and someone among them had Covid. Now everyone on the bus is under contact warning, meaning they have to avoid the dining room and public spaces and wear masks, while testing daily. Unfortunately several have already tested positive.

More unfortunately (also ironically), probably some of those now testing positive, also attended this morning’s meeting about in-house health care. If so, we might be on the verge of a good solid breakout. Tomorrow will tell.

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