Letters to the Editor (Opinion-Editorial)
New Lake Chelan Community Hospital
April 23, 2017 – By Tom Anglin
NEW LAKE CHELAN HOSPITAL – THE TRUE COST TO PROPERTY OWNERS
FACT: The $20 million bond and interest are the only costs associated with the new hospital that property owners in the Lake Chelan Hospital District are responsible for.
FACT: 55% of hospital district property owners are part time residents who are registered voters in other districts, but they do pay property taxes on the property they own here.
FACT: 55%, or $11 million of the $20 million, and the associated interest, will be paid for by people who own property here but vote elsewhere.
FACT: 45%, or $9 million of the $20 million bond will be paid by paid by our District’s property owners who are full-time residents of the Lake Chelan Valley.
FACT: The $20 million and associated interest are both calculated into the $ 0.38 per $1,000 of assessed value that property owners will be pay.
Written by Tom Anglin
April 20, 2017 – By Kim Green
Originally my husband and I decided to deliver our baby in Chelan to avoid having to drive all the way down to the Wenatchee Hospital for all of our appointments, not to mention the actual delivery! We live north of town and the Wenatchee Hospital is well over an hour away for us. Now, after having multiple experiences at the Lake Chelan Community Hospital, the most notable being the birth of our son, we can say that we are strong supporters of the hospital and clinic (we no longer just see it as a way to avoid a long drive). During every visit to LCCH, we were treated with lots of good care and compassion. The nurses and doctors, and all other technicians, provided for us a heartwarming community feel due to the connections and relationships that were formed. We love the small town feel of LCCH. To be able to keep that going, with the progression of a new, up-to-date hospital, is something that’s really important to me.
I have been in a shared room at the current facility, recovering next to someone else. I have had my blood drawn in the closet. I have nervously driven up and down the steep driveway in icy conditions. Do all these things matter much to me compared to the great care we have received? No. But would it be really nice if these issues (along with a host of other very important ones) were taken care of?Definitely!
I love the idea of healthcare expanding in this area, not diminishing and moving down to Wenatchee or elsewhere. As a teacher in Chelan, I am proud of our schools and our library. I am thankful our community consistently supports our school levies. I hope our community can step up and support this new hospital in much the same way.
For those on the fence, or those who didn’t vote last time, please consider voting yes. Every point that the opposition makes that may sound convincing is clearly addressed by newhospitalnow.com. I encourage you to go there and spend some time reading through the different tabs and getting informed as I did.
Please Vote Yes! Thank you.
April 17, 2017 – By Joshua Schkrohowsky, MD
Imagine you are cheering on your child at his wrestling match. He gets taken down and in the process, injures his elbow. He is standing there in extreme pain, holding his crocked arm. All you want is to have his pain relieved as quickly as possible.
This happened a few weeks ago at the Chelan wrestling meet. As the local orthopedic surgeon, I was able to reduce the athlete’s elbow right there on the mat, relieving his pain immediately. Without local orthopedic care this child could have been sitting around for a long time in the ER waiting with a dislocated elbow or being transferred to Wenatchee for the closet orthopedic care.
Don’t risk losing access to orthopedic care. A new facility is critical in keeping up with the rapid changes in health care delivery. Just think, when this hospital was built in 1972 there were no computers in the hospital, MRIs didn’t exist, and there were no arthroscopic surgeries. I hope to be able to continue offering state-of-the-art orthopedic care into the foreseeable future.
Think of your kids and your own future. Keep orthopedics in the valley and vote YES for the new hospital.
Joshua Schkrohowsky, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon, Lake Chelan Community Hospital and Clinics
April 17, 2017 – By J. Waszkewitz, MD
A NEW HOSPITAL FOR CHELAN?
WHY: I have been a physician in Chelan for 30 years and have cared for patients in the Lake Chelan Hospital almost every day of those 30 years and I can tell you that we now have a dedicated, well trained and hard working staff struggling to provide the best care they can in a small, old and inadequate building. The wiring is too old to power the next generation of computers, lab and x-ray equipment. The pipes, embedded in the concrete slab and walls, are rusty and frequently break. The building is just too small. People share closets for office space and equipment is stored in the halls. There is no room to add new medical technology as it becomes available or add new or expanded services. The double patient rooms are small and present problems when matching male with male or female with female patients or accommodating patients with infectious diseases. The small number of ER rooms sometimes results in long waits to get service and there are times in the winter when cars, including ambulances cannot get up the hill to the hospital.
WHY NOW: No, the hospital is not about to fall down but doing nothing is not an option. The building does not meet state code in many, many areas. Until now the state has grandfathered in these deficiencies but no more. Recently the state notified the hospital that it would have to update the old emergency power system to keep its doors open. The estimate cost for updating this single system is more than $2 million or about 10% of the hospitals’ share of a completely new building. And this is likely to be only the first of many expensive fixes that will be required to patch up our old hospital building. Clearly the hospital commissioners were prudent not to go down that road of unknown expenses which, in the end, would still leave us with a small, old and inadequate building. Expanding the hospital or building new on the existing site was also considered but the estimated cost of excavating and blasting into the rocky hillside was unbelievably prohibitive. Every consultant and reasonable person that looks at these numbers agrees; it is cheaper to build a new hospital than put money into a fixer upper building or build on a hill side.
WHY NOT: Passage of this bond will mean higher property tax. Nobody, including me, wants to pay more tax but we do so for the good of our children with better school and for the benefit of us all for police and fire protection. Over the 30 year term of this hospital bond the additional property tax would be, at maximum, only 38 cents/$1,000 of assessed value per year or $38.00 per year for a $100,000 house or $190.00 per year for a ½ million dollar house. This would be just a bit more than we already pay for our library and the amount of tax each property owner pays will decrease with time as more houses and business are added to our tax base.
And consider this; every year the hospital brings $26.7 million into our community from various federal and state programs and from private insurance companies. It employs 284 people and has a payroll of $16 million/year.
Please do not be fooled by the misleading and deceptive scare tactics of the “Vote No Campaign.” The total cost, including interest over 30 years, of the $20 million bond we are asking you to approve is $32 million ($20 million for the bond +$12 million total interest over 30 years)
The “No” campaign also claims that the hospital cannot afford it’s’ $22 million share of the cost of the new hospital but multiple consultants and financial experts say we can. Because ours is a critical access hospital the federal government guarantees us a 1% profit over expenses and the cost of repaying the loan would be a covered expense. The total cost of the loan, including interest would be $38 million not the $154 million “massive” debt you might have seen on the “no “campaign signs.
VOTE: The opposition is relentless. They are organized, they are loud and they are wrong. Do not let them deny you the best medical care we can provide and do not let them force the hospital commissioners to waist your money trying to modernize an old building. Please vote. And for the health of your family, our community and our future, PLEASE VOTE YES.
J. Waszkewitz, MD