02-23-2024  3:29 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Amid Fentanyl Crisis, Oregon Lawmakers Propose More Funding for Opioid Addiction Medication in Jails

Democrats are looking to counterbalance restoring criminal penalties for possession with expanding access to treatment for a potentially growing number of people in the criminal justice system. The proposal would create a million grant fund for jails looking to provide opioid addiction medication. Federal data shows only 24% of jails provide such medication to people with prior prescriptions.

KGW Apologizes After Airing Racist Image

Television station KGW says it deeply regrets inadvertently showing a racist image during a segment called “The Good Stuff,” which invited viewers to share “cheesy, silly, or memorable” photos from the past. The 1950s image showed children throwing balls towards a sign prominently displaying a racial slur. KGW apologised for “the profound hurt this image inflicted upon our viewers and staff, particularly members of our Black community.” Leaders of the Portland NAACP chapter said they were appalled

Rep. Blumenauer Talks Retirement from Congress and His Plans to Help Put Portland Back Together

U.S. Representative for Oregon has held his seat for nearly 30 years.


Black Community Input Helps Fuel George Park Project

The effort is an innovative partnership between the City, Portland Parks Foundation, and The Kidz Outside ...

Renewal of School Local Option Levy Will be on May Ballot

If approved by voters, the levy renewal would maintain the current tax rate and continue to fund approximately 660 teachers and other...

Wyden, Merkley Announce $70,000 for the Oregon Food Bank

“Nothing is more important than making sure folks in need have food to eat, and the resources to thrive,” Wyden...

Historic Church in Seattle Hosts Free Black History Month Film Series for All

New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, located in Seattle’s historic Central District, will host “Freedom Fridays: A Black History...

Remains found over 50 years ago identified through DNA technology as Oregon teen

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The remains of a teenager found more than 50 years ago have been identified through advanced DNA technology as a young woman who went missing from Portland, Oregon State Police said. The remains are that of Sandra Young, a high school student who disappeared...

Amid fentanyl crisis, Oregon lawmakers propose more funding for opioid addiction medication in jails

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kendra Sawyer spoke with her dad from the Deschutes County jail and told him she loved him. Six hours later, in the throes of opioid withdrawal, the 22-year-old took her own life. A year later, Sawyer’s father, Kent, is left wondering whether his daughter,...

Mark leads Arkansas against Missouri after 26-point game

Missouri Tigers (8-18, 0-13 SEC) at Arkansas Razorbacks (13-13, 4-9 SEC) Fayetteville, Arkansas; Saturday, 12 p.m. EST BOTTOM LINE: Arkansas hosts the Missouri Tigers after Tramon Mark scored 26 points in Arkansas' 78-71 win over the Texas A&M Aggies. ...

Deen scores career-high 35, makes program-record 9 3-pointers as Bradley downs Missouri State 86-62

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — Duke Deen scored a career-high 35 points and made a program-record nine 3-pointers as Bradley beat Missouri State 86-62 on Wednesday night. Deen shot 13 for 17, including 9 for 12 from beyond the arc for the Braves (19-9, 11-6 Missouri Valley Conference)....


Message from Commissioner Jesse Beason: February is 'Black History and Futures Month'

I am honored to join the Office of Sustainability and to co-sponsor a proclamation to mark “Black History and Futures Month” ...

Ending Unfair Contracts Harming Minority Businesses Will Aid Gov. Kotek’s Affordable Housing Goals

Senate Bill 1575 will protect small businesses from state and local government’s unfair contract practices while also allowing the building industry to help the governor meet her affordable housing project goals. ...

February is American Heart Month

This month is a time to recognize that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, especially in the African American community ...

Thrilling History of Black Excellence in Our National Parks

In every facet of American life -from exploration; conquest; defense; economy; resistance; conservation and the pursuit of human rights – I can show you a unit of the National Park System where the event took place, where African Americans made the...


A love affair unraveled before a Black transgender woman was fatally shot in rural South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A Black transgender woman and the guy she was secretly dating had just been pulled over in rural South Carolina. Dime Doe, the driver, was worried. She already had points against her license and didn't want another ticket to stop her from getting behind the wheel. Daqua...

Native American tribes gain new authority to stop unwanted hydopower projects

Federal regulators have granted Native American tribes more power to block hydropower projects on their land after a flurry of applications were filed to expand renewable energy in the water-scarce U.S. Southwest. Previously, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted developers...

HIV/AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent, known for her inspirational talks as a young child, dies at 39

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Hydeia Broadbent, the HIV/AIDS activist who came to national prominence in the 1990s as a young child for her inspirational talks to reduce the stigma surrounding the virus she was born with, has died. She was 39. Broadbent's father announced on Facebook that she...


Dreaming of summer peaches? Some gardening tips for growing a peach tree in many climates

I planted my first peach tree last June, five months before Pantone named Peach Fuzz the 2024 color of the year. How serendipitous! Today peachy tones are showing up everywhere, from TV backdrops to home furnishings, clothing and brand logos. But for me, it’s not about the trend but...

FuboTV files lawsuit over ESPN, Fox, Hulu, Warner Bros. Discovery sports-streaming venture

Streaming service FuboTV has filed an antitrust lawsuit against ESPN, Fox, Warner Bros. Discovery and Hulu, which are planning to launch a sports-streaming venture in the fall. The lawsuit has been filed in the Southern District of New York. FuboTV, which focuses primarily on live...

Far from gloomy, darker paints create a cozy, more welcoming room

Dark hues have a bad rap as gloomy and depressing. More likely, they're bringing home the good vibes, all year long. One weekend when I had the house to myself, I painted our family room Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal, a deep, earthy gray. I waited till I had two...


Belarus cracks down on clergy who supported protests of its authoritarian leader

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — The Rev. Viachaslau Barok was a familiar face in Rasony, a town in northern Belarus near...

US is imposing more than 500 new sanctions on Russia's war machine, indicts Russian businessmen

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department plans to impose more than 500 new sanctions on Russia and its war...

AP PHOTOS: Ukraine endures a second year of war with scenes of grief, suffering and also joy

The second year of Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s full-scale invasion brought no respite for Ukrainian...

UK and EU agree to cooperate on tackling illegal immigration as post-Brexit relations thaw further

LONDON (AP) — Britain and its former partners in the European Union have struck a deal to cooperate more on...

Polish lawmakers OK morning-after pill for ages 15 and over in a first step to ease reproductive law

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s lawmakers voted on Thursday to approve over-the-counter access to the...

Senegal's president says he'll leave office in April, but gives no date for elections

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal’s President Macky Sall said Thursday that he will end his term in April as...

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