Don’t pass hospital bond until improvements are made

To the editor,

I would like to offer a perspective on the upcoming hospital bond that many voters may not realize. This hospital is supported by a taxing district and is designed to cover basic operating expenses so that the taxpayers have access to local medical care. I am totally in favor of having and supporting quality local medical care facilities, but what we as voters fail to realize is that if the hospital has a failure in proper administration, patient numbers drop or become non-existent. This results in revenue reduction and depletion, which greatly strains the hospital taxing district. When a medical facility does not maintain a patient load, it is very difficult to attract and retain medical professionals, creating a disastrous effect on local health care.

I want to share with you some personal experiences with this hospital as it is administered currently. On December 13, 2015, my mother fell at home and fractured her left hip. After surgery and a short stay in a Pocatello hospital, we needed a place for her to rehab and have therapy. We wanted to keep business local and support the hospital, so we talked to the Power County Hospital about a swing bed stay. We were told that if we didn’t get my mother admitted by a certain date, the only doctor that could admit to this hospital would be out of town. So we had to push the Pocatello hospital to administer the blood she needed quickly and had to admit her to Power County Hospital at 9 p.m. on the day the doctor was to be leaving town, a highly irregular time to admit a patient from a transfer.

On March 19, 2017, my mother fell and fractured her right hip. Having gone through this situation before, we called to set up having my mom rehab at the Power County Hospital, this was on March 20, 2017.

We were told that if she couldn’t be admitted to Power County Hospital by 1 p.m. on March 21, 2017, they could not take her as a patient because, once again, the only doctor that could admit her was going to be out of town through March 26, 2017. They said it looked like our only option was a facility in Pocatello.

This hospital turned away thousands of dollars in revenue because administration did not have another doctor to admit patients while one was on vacation. Whenever this happens, a Locum Tenens could be hired for the period to admit patients and not lose revenue. This has been happening in this hospital district for many years.

Back to the perspective, simply spending money to make a facility look attractive will not change the way administration handles the every day business of the hospital. Let us not vote yes for something until we know that the management of the hospital and a plan for increased patient load and revenue are in place. This has not been projected in the bond plan.

I am in favor of updating our local facility but not until there is a change in the way administration operates the hospital. My personal experiences have proven this.

We should hold the hospital board and hospital administration responsible for providing not only a facility for medical care, but a plan for revenue growth and sustainability of investment by the taxpayers for the future. A yes vote for an updated facility will not repair or replace a lacking in a business plan, but would only promote the current situation and mask the main important issues.

Lynn Scherer

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