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Yes or No? Chelan Valley residents turn out to hear debate for a new hospital facility

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Keri Bergeson, MD, of CVCH opened the forum arguments along with Guy Evans asking that the community remember that at the center of the issue is patient care. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

On April 25, 2017, Chelan Valley residents in the hospital district will be asked to vote on a proposed levy that, if approved, would fund $20 million for the building of a new Lake Chelan Community Hospital (LCCH) facility through an increase in property taxes. The Hospital and its Foundation would contribute an additional $24.5 million (through loans and savings) to reach a total New Hospital cost of $44.5 million.

In an effort for both sides of the argument to voice their points and answer questions from citizens, a community forum took place on Thursday, March 30, 2017, at Chelan High School’s Performing Arts Center and was live streamed on GoLakeChelan.tv. Both the vote yes and vote no groups agreed that the event be moderated by Chelan High School English teacher, Steve Bovingdon.

The ‘Citizens for a New Hospital Now’ chose Ty Witt, MD, Chief Medical Officer at LCCH, Megan Guffey, MD, a family physician at LCCH, Guy Evans, community member and advocate, and Keri Bergeson, MD from Columbia Valley Community Health (CVCH) to represent the group. The ‘vote no’ group was represented by Mike Sherer, a community member and orchardist.

The format for the event was set up as a standard debate with both sides offering introductions, rebuttals and answering questions from community members, which were timed and moderated by Bovingdon, before closing statements were offered.

VIEW VIDEO  – New Hospital Levy Public Forum (March 30, 2017) 

Evans and Dr. Bergeson opened the debate. Evans gave a brief summary of the group’s overall message in favor of the new facility.

“If you are to vote yes, you are voting to maintain current services,” Evans stated. “It is going to be about $10 per month, per household in support for the hospital, and you would be adopting a policy that is pragmatically optimistic.” Evans passed the microphone to Dr. Bergeson to continue the opening statement. 

Guy Evans (right) and Ty Witt, MD (left) addressed citizen comments and questions during the public forum held to offer information to voters prior to the April 25, 2017 levy vote for a new hospital facility. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

“As a caretaker in the community, I also don’t want us to lose the real heart of this. This is not abstract, Bergeson said. “This is about care for our family and friends and loved ones. I am tired of making excuses to my patients why they don’t have the care that they deserve, and it’s always related to the limitations of the facility.”

Bergeson continued to inform the audience that the University of Washington is working with CVCH on a medical residency program in Chelan.

“A residency is like an apprenticeship. They do one intense year in Seattle, then come to Chelan for two years. Seventy percent of residents stay within 30 miles of the areas in which they were trained,” Bergeson explained. “We currently only train residents in big cities. We need to start training doctors in rural areas, so they stay in rural areas. We are not going to be approved for this program in our current facility.”

Sherer, representing the opposition opened by summarizing that the ‘vote no’ group had three major arguments against the new facility:  vision, ethics and revenues.

“The new hospital vision is wrong, we don’t want massive new debt,” said Sherer. “We want to fix the hospital that we have currently. We want to stabilize and ship critical patients to a larger facility.”

Sherer continued, “The current commissioners have failed tax payers for over 20 years. They have failed to perform maintenance on the current hospital and have failed to listen to the will of the people. On the revenue end, there is a Pollyanna view of future finances using biased numbers. This is neither the time nor the project for this community.”

Mike Sherer, a community member and orchardist represented the opposition. Sherer focused on three main arguments against the new facility:  vision, ethics and revenues. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

A timeline was presented by Sherer demonstrating the course of events following a 2005 facility inspection report, which showed the current hospital scoring marginal to inadequate in all areas. He stated that the timeline showed that following that inspection, the first bond levy went to voters to renovate the hospital in 2007. That bond failed. Two subsequent levy votes went to voters between 2007 and 2015 to rebuild the facility, both failing to receive the 60 percent to pass.

“Since that time (2007) there has been little to nothing done to address those issues, and it has degraded further over the course of the past 12 years,” Scherer said.

Dr. Guffey responded in the rebuttal explaining that the commissioners surveyed the public following the failure of the 2007 bond vote to ascertain why the community did not vote in favor of renovation.

“They found that the majority of voters said that they would rather spend the money on a new facility, than updating the out of date facility,” Guffey stated.

Megan Guffey, MD, a physician at LCCH assisted in representing the ‘Citizens for a New Hospital Now’. Guffey clarified data and arguments throughout the event. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

Next, both groups answered questions chosen by Bovingdon from the audience.

If the community votes no in April, how do you propose to pay for renovating the current hospital?

“If we had a can-do attitude we could do some imaginative work to find a way to get that work done, possibly with volunteers,” Sherer proposed. “There are probably a lot of people in this community willing to volunteer to do work.” Sherer added that he would donate his excavator to move dirt and believes that other contractors would do the same.

Ty Witt, MD, commented that he hopes that should the vote for a new facility pass, Sherer would be willing to extend that same offer to help reduce costs.

Can you compare Chelan to Leavenworth Hospital which built a new facility and is now in fiscal and MNO failure?

“There are a few differences between the two facilities. I am not aware that Leavenworth is in fiscal failure. From what I know, they are actually in great shape,” Guffey replied. “Leavenworth does not deliver babies. They do not perform surgeries, but their taxpayers are paying more in taxes for that facility than what we are proposing here. So, they are paying more money for fewer services, and we are trying to provide more services for less.”

Should the hospital default on the loan portion of the new facility budget, will that debt be passed on to taxpayers?

“They (hospital) would find a way to make that loan solvable,” Witt explained. “There is simply no way that it can automatically go back to the taxpayers. The hospital will carry the loan, the $22 million share, and the bond will come from the taxpayers over that 35-year term. They are both completely separate of one another.”

Sherer rebutted stating that should the loan default the community would be held “hostage” to provide the funds to pay the loan. “It will be our community hospital that will be on the ropes.”

The New Hospital Levy Public Forum was held at Chelan High School Performing Arts Center on March 30, 2017. The community was invited to hear arguments from both sides of the argument and pose their own questions to representatives. (Photo by Jillian Foster)

How would you respond to residents living on a fixed income for which any increase in taxes would have a significant impact on financial stability?

“That’s a very touchy point in how our commissioners and administrators came up with this plan,” Witt replied. “It was important for the hospital to carry as much of this loan as we can. That is why the $22 million loan, WIFLI, the accountants told us was our safest number.”

Another point that Witt wanted to express to the community is that residents that are treated at the hospital can bring their tax bill to the billing department and have those tax dollars paid applied to their hospital bill.

Closing arguments began with the ‘Citizen for a New Hospital Now’. Witt offered a prediction that the new facility would have a large impact on the town.

“It will become a uniting, prosperous, shining jewel for the Lake Chelan Valley,” said Witt. “I want to own that can-do attitude that Mike has mentioned. I believe that our people and our staff have had that attitude, and that is how we have made things work for this long in the facility that we have.”

Sherer made the final argument of the evening relating to his original points regarding vision, ethics and revenues.

“Maintain the current facility. Do not replace it, no new massive debt. Live within our means. Stabilize and ship critical patients. We need new leadership at the hospital with a can-do attitude,” Sherer said.

(By Jillian Foster)

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49 Comments on Yes or No? Chelan Valley residents turn out to hear debate for a new hospital facility

  1. I think Capt. Sherer really explained why this shiny new hospital at the dump is a terrible idea and the community needs to step back and really look for alternatives. What is the rush, why push over and over again these bond issues. Maybe it is time for the Hospital Board to Resign enmasse and get some new thinking, remember that the board was not unanimous this time in their vote to build a new hospital. This expensive marketing campaign which has inundated the area with signs and advertising would not be needed if those wanting to bulldoze our present hospital really had a good plan. After all when they build the present hospital the community was completely onboard, they did not have to put out four bond attempts, cause “It was a good idea”.
    Fancy marketing with “pollyanna” predictions that will put the community heavily in debt are seen through by the thinking folks here in the valley. Those of us who intend to live our lives in the valley resist the Real Estate Land Speculators, and highly paid hospital employees push to risk our hospitals future with unsupportable debt. VOTE NO, What is the rush?

  2. The main differences between the sides were obvious. The no side has no concrete and steel plan. They play a shell game with catch phrases like “can do attitude”. If they had a solid, viable plan, we all should have seen it by now with real numbers. Until we see something, it is just empty promises. It is disappointing that they play this game with patients lives.
    The yes side has studied numbers, done by experts in the field of medical economics and building medical facilities. There is a well thought out,conservative economic plan, that is very “can do”. The biggest difference is that the yes side wants better for the citizens of the community. Private rooms, easier access to the facility, a building capable of the technology today’s medicine requires. Mike Sherer’s most disturbing statement was that we should temper our expectations for the community. I strongly disagree. We should at least have a hospital that is on par with
    Tonasket.
    So, the choice is in front of you. A YES vote will advance medicine in the valley for generations. A no vote means in the words of Mike Sherer we live in a rural community so we should take our chances.

  3. The vote no proponents just don’t want change. They are using scare tactics to try and keep their taxes from going up on their expensive homes. Realizing they might be helping their less wealthy neighbors have a modern and well equipped hospital is totally lost on them. Vote yes for our communities future!

    • I hope those who wish to take this new course step back in the next week and see that there is a solid alternative, remember the first attempt at a bond was a proposal to update the existing hospital. The board apparently turned completely around and has since only pushed for a shiny new hospital, and the most recent attempt is not even unanimous in their own board with one commissioner voting NO. People only have to listen to the rhetoric coming out of D.C., and Olympia to have pause, “the government is changing healthcare”. Obamacare is going to change and nobody knows how, so What is the rush. Lets step back and see where all this is going to settle out in the next couple of years and not put the community hospital at risk with this Massive new debt. VOTE NO, Take care of what we have don’t risk it.

      • In 2006, the Hospital Commission, stepped back from the remodel option because feedback indicated that citizens were opposed to spending millions of dollars on the current landlocked location, which included the building of a parking garage costing millions. The commission listened to that feedback and wisely invested in a suitable build site to allow for future needs. You may personally disagree with that decision, but it was well within the authority of the commission, who acted in good faith with input from citizens in public meetings. Your characterization of the commission as some rogue entity is not only false, but unfair. The dissenting commissioner, Mary Murphy, is married to a very public naysayer from the last election, Larry Hibbard. She even stated when she voted no that she agreed that the current facility no longer meets the community’s needs. What she didn’t offer was offer a viable alternative that would. It isn’t hard to connect the dots.

        Last fall several focus groups were convened by random selection from the community, excluding any citizens who worked for the hospital. The groups looked at 5 different possible scenarios, including the costs, risks and benefits of each. The current proposal, to relocate and rebuild the hospital at the Apple Blossom location, was deemed the most cost effective with the most long term benefit to the community. The community has been wrestling with this issue for over 11 years, to characterize it as a “rush” is your opinion, and not a based in the actual reality. Yes, it is a big decision. You owe it to yourself Bill, to actually visit the hospital, get a behind the scenes tour to gain clarity on the deficiencies of the building and why a remodel isn’t the strongest choice. You also owe it to yourself to gain clarity about the financial plan by sitting down with Kevin and understanding it thoroughly. You also owe it to the public because yours is one of the loudest voices against the project, but your opinions are not facts, and misrepresent the spirit and the intent of the proposal. You do a great disservice to the rest of the citizens by spreading unfounded doubt, misinformation, and generating outrage and resentment against LCCH and the people who work there.

    • Scare tactics, hardly! Those opposed to building a shiny new hospital just want to protect what we have and not risk it all for the benefit of few. The pro-hospital folks have spent far far more for their slick campaign than those people opposed, just ask yourself where is all that money coming from, and who is pushing this? It is a question worth asking? What is the rush, it will be years before a new hospital will actually be built with the most optimistic projections, and that assumes that the federal government actually lends them the money. On the other hand a yes vote means every cost in the valley from taxes to rent goes up immediately. VOTE NO, lets maintain what we have and stay within our means

      • A new hospital will benefit exactly the same people it benefits now – all of us. The “Citizens for a New Hospital Now” receives no public funds – it is a grass roots organization filed with http://www.pdc.wa.gov, which regulates election activities in the state. All records are transparent and open to the public. Your insinuations and mischaracterizations are unfair. What inspires you to such malice? Bill, you are becoming a parody of yourself with your heightened hyperbole and histrionics.

      • Given LCCH’s debt capacity, favorable bond rating and thorough planning with experts in hospital financing, the hospital is a good candidate for qualifying for a loan through the Critical Access Hospital program. If for some reason the loan is not granted after the vote, then no ground will be broken at the Apple Blossom site. On the other hand, once the loan is secured, the federal government that contract will be honored for the term by both parties entering into a contract. Should the bond pass the opening of a new hospital is anticipated to take place in 2020, less than 3 years from now. This is a typical time frame for such a project. A question worth asking is why Bill has never actually taken the time to visit the hospital, get a comprehensive tour, gain clarity on the need from both caregiver and patient perspectives, and go over the facts and figures with Kevin. This would be more constructive than your current activity which is more akin to ‘drive by shooting’ in the public square offering opinion as fact, spreading false information, putting forth data out of context and maligning the staff at the hospital. As the default spokesperson for the naysayers, you owe it the public to be honest and transparent – if your arguments were compelling in and of themselves you wouldn’t be engaging in hyperbole, spreading misinformation and attempting to build a narrative to generate outrage and resentment toward LCCH.

  4. The choice is simple. You can believe that the no voters actually have a plan (if they really did we should have seen actual numbers by now) and are not playing an elaborate shell game with the health and welfare of the valley. You can really listen to them and hear deep down what they are saying, “Chelan, you are a rural community and you don’t need or deserve a facility capable of modern healthcare.”
    Or, you can listen to the YES side, who clearly lays out the costs and a vision of a facility that is more than affordable and capable of modern, updatable healthcare for generations to come! This is our chance to invest in the community that we all love! Go to http://www.newhospitalnow.com for the details that have actual numbers that were concluded by respected experts in the field of medical finance and medical construction.

  5. The people who want to preserve our present hospital and not take this risk with massive unsupportable debt have always had a plan, and maybe Brian was not here for it but the first bond was for exactly that, but the voters rejected it because of the inflated price $33 million. The plan is quite detailed and with some trimming and cost reduction still makes a lot more sense than giving up on our present hospital and going into deep long term debt. Instead the hospital commission locked into one solution, buying land and delaying needed maintenance on their present hospital, without the permission of the voters. Now the routine is expensive biennial bond issues and personal attacks on those who want to save what we have, improve it, modernize what needs to be modernized. The citizens need to step back and look up the hill at that classic building overlooking the city and lake Chelan it is part of their heritage, and moving folks out to a mini mall building at the dump would be a shame.

    • Bill- sorry I didn’t mention this below, but your good friend the architect was in on and all for the first rejected remodel vote. (The remodel rejected for $33 million 10 years ago). I may not have been here for it but I know the history. Then the citizens made their voices known that they didn’t want parking garages and double rooms but private rooms and a new facility. So your buddy, the architect, was all in for buying the land. Unfortunately for him, his buddies, the former CEO’s, are no longer with LCCH. Now he, the architect, was a leading voice against the last 2 votes, but is silent this time. Curious.

  6. It is very appropriate that the Internet voice of the no voters keeps posting on April 1st because he is playing everyone for a bunch of April fools. The no voters continually promise a detailed plan but never have produced anything. He always writes about a classic building on the hill but has written many times that he himself will just take a right at Navarre Coulee Road and head down to Wenatchee for his medical care. That means that the current hospital in Chelan is not good enough for him, but that classic old building is good enough for everyone else. Curious.
    The presenting face of the no voters, besides not understanding Medicare finances and depreciation as a tool to help mortgage payments, keeps saying that the people of Chelan should “lower their expectations for medical care in Chelan because we chose to live in a rural community”.
    And for one last April Fools joke, the new signs the no voters new signs have the wrong price for the new hospital. It is $44.5 million, not $47 million. Not exactly sure where the extra $2.5 million came from. It is just the latest in a long line of made up numbers.
    The YES voters disagree. We want the best healthcare possible for the valley and know that is only possible with a new facility that allows for the necessary space and privacy. The finance plan and costs are well explained at http://www.newhospitalnow.com.
    We can all be part of something that helps the community for generations! We can have new family practice physicians trained in our valley! Vote yes!

  7. $1,038,703 Plus Benefits is the total salaries of the top 6 managers at LCCH, that pretty much wipes out the 1.5 million dollar taxpayer subsidy for LCCH, and shows a level of mismanagement that certainly must be questioned when those same people want a brand new hospital. Add an additional 3% per year Cost of Living adjustment and you can stop wondering why LCCH has to go to the voters biennially, with this super expensive advertising campaign. The people of Chelan have three times rejected this hype, preferring to live within our means and protect the hospital that overlooks the city and lake instead of building a shiny new Mini Mall project out at the dump. Debt is bad! And saddling our children and grandchildren with this $47 million dollar debt is unfair, when there are viable alternatives that modernize and revamp the present structure. Remember the first bond was for remodel, and only the 33 million dollar price tag caused rejection. That original revamp could have easily been adjusted with some of the grandiose extras postponed until they could have been afforded. We live in a small tourist town, dependent on weather and the economy of the state and nation to make it through the bad times. Don’t let the expensive hype of the Land Speculators and employees of the hospital sway your vote. VOTE NO, lets protect what we have and not bulldoze our hospital

    • Heavy sigh. 🙁

    • Mr. Worth, having no alternative plan that he can share, has now resorted to trying to shame the salaries of the hard working Administrators and caregivers of LCCH. He hasn’t taken the time to visit the CEO to find out that those numbers, taken in context, are average for CAH across the state and nation. And that is what I thought we all wanted, to go out, gain an education, work hard and be paid on par with our peers.
      He also tries to paint a doomsday scenario for Chelan. I think we all can agree that 2015 is about as bad as it can get here. LCCH was still able to meet its financial obligations. And that was with a debt payment that is actually more than it will be with a new facility. Financial projections were done by Wipfli for a worst case scenario at the request of Bill’s often mentioned commissioner and LCCH is still projected to meet its obligations.
      Everyone has a choice, you can be a glass 2/3 empty like the naysayers, or a glass 2/3 full and want modern healthcare for the valley for generations!

  8. C’mon a small community with small year around population cannot afford to give almost the entire tax share to 6 people. A comparison nationwide puts these 6 well above the national average for a 25 bed hospital. A CEO making $201,600 plus full benefit package, Hospital Commissioners getting full medical benefits for 12 meetings a year, this is outrageous, and is only a small sampling of what has been dug out with a FOIA request. No wonder they have to come to the voters biyearly, and cannot save enough money to update their own workplace. Do we, (the taxpayers) really want to had over another shiny new hospital to the same people that have run down the present one, I think no. Lets go back to the plan from the first bond and renovate what we have and do some cost cutting and scaling back of the grandiose plans of a very few very well paid professionals up at LCCH. VOTE NO we cannot afford this MASSIVE NEW DEBT

    • Mr. Worth actually has to go in to make an appointment with the CEO to get the statewide and nationwide average. Please go to http://www.newhospitalnow for the actual (not made up) facts! We are confident that you will like what you see! Vote YES for modern, private, dignified healthcare in Chelan!

  9. There are plenty of alternatives out there, even the first bond issue was based on upgrading not bulldozing the present hospital. The entire premise of destroying the present hospital is based on a Seattle Consultants opinion. Anyone who has ever hired a consultant knows that they always reach the conclusion of the people who are hiring the consultant. It just makes sense you are not going to hire someone who disagrees with you. The voters of Chelan have thrice turned this push for a shiny new hospital down with good reason. A quick look at the local hospitals in Quincy, Grand Coulee, and Kennewick show just how much trouble a small hospital can get in if it gets to much debt, and most of us in the valley would rather have a good working hospital than one closing its doors and laying off staff. I trust that the voters will once again reject this risky proposal, and maybe the Hospital Board will resign en masse and give some new people a chance to reevaluate the situation. VOTE NO, we cannot afford this MASSIVE NEW DEBT

  10. Sifting through the flack here. My husband and I attended the meeting last week. We saw the hospital representatives present reasonable information. OK, thinking the other side would present how the community could remodel the hospital; did not see that. Is there some place where that information is posted? Someone telling us to vote no and trust that they will have a plan is not helpful in determining which way is the best way to go.

  11. Having a detailed alternative is exactly what the Hospital Board should have had after they lost the last three bond, but instead they went headlong into one plan. Actually buying land and getting an expensive new hospital design. They should have taken the advice of local architects and builders with intimate knowledge of the present structure to see just how much less expensive and better a modernization and upgrade of the present facility would be. The Board paid a huge amount for land out by the dump and are determined that that is the only way to go. They even hired a consultant to prove their point, and everyone who has ever hired a consultant knows that those studies go exactly the way that the people paying for the study want them to go. So here we are, three bond attempts down, nobody knows what these expensive campaigns have cost, as the board has deferred maintenance on the present building. Be assured though, because there are people in the community, local architects and builders who can put together updated plans when this bond issue fails and the Hospital Board gets new members, they already have one member who voted no, which is a first and shows some cracks in their previous unanimous pushes. Vote NO, there is a better way to save our hospital

    • Kaye- as you can read above, all there are is promises of this great, fantastic plan done by architects with intimate knowledge of the facility. Architects that were involved in the original bond attempt that cost $33 million 11 years ago, but did not include more space or private rooms, but did have a parking garage. They give no details on what this new fabulous plan is but assure everyone it must be better. The truth is, they have no plan.
      There were several scenarios done by professionals with experience in building hospitals, You can find them on the hospital website, http://www.lakechelancommunityhospital.com or go to http://www.newhospitalnow.com. There were several scenarios and remodeling on site would cost $56 million vs. $44.5 million to build new. Just getting the present hospital up to code will cost $14 million but won’t add to space, private rooms or patient comfort. The new site will also be more flexible for generations to come. We want to answer all of your questions, so if you have any, please feel free to call the hospital 682-3300 to make an appointment for a tour or talk to the CEO for any other questions. We want to give you solid answers with solid facts, not empty promises.

      • Right. I have seen all of the hospital’s numbers and plans. Like I said, my husband and I were expecting the vote no side to have a similar type of presentation. It is unfortunate to lose the beautiful view of our current hospital and I guess I am just sentimentally hoping there is some way to keep it in its current spot. We use the hospital so I am fully aware of all of the physical problems with the current structure and land, I am curious to know how much a maintain project would cost – I have seen the hospital consultant figures, but am not aware of the vote no’s projections. My husband is absolutely convinced a new hospital is needed, I was hopeful of some kind of a plan from the vote no group.

  12. My husband and I ran a successful business, we know that criticizing how someone runs their business is easy. Telling the community to vote no is easy. Finding publicly reported information is easy. What isn’t easy is putting together a solid plan – how much does it cost? what will it look like? what is the impact? etc. At the risk of being redundant, we saw that the hospital had these answers at the presentation as well as on the fact sheet they passed out and on their website. Bill, I guess you are the spokesperson for the “other side”, can you provide the same type of information for maintaining the hospital? We use the hospital and want to keep doing so, it obviously needs a capital investment or a rebuild. It appears the renovation is quite expensive, do you have information (details) that says otherwise?

  13. I don’t want to steal the thunder from the mailer that will hit your mailbox in a couple of days with the details you are looking for. The LCCH board should have been doing realistic research on remodel and upgrade of the present facility when they started losing bond issue and the last six years, but because they had invested in land out near the dump (at the top of the market) they just seem to be unable to change their direction. There are terrific plans that keep the present facility, and anyone with a little imagination and willingness to have an open mind can see clearly that the present hospital is in a fantastic place and is a really important landmark in the city. Recycling instead of bulldozing a perfectly sound structure is what has given new life to some of our older cities and is certainly a better idea than expanding out in a mini mall style building outside of town. VOTE NO there are better alternatives

    • So there is a mailer coming out with the information? Great. Will look forward to getting this information, it would be nice to have some info on the internet as well if you could pass this on to your group. I hope Bill, it is not just full of more criticisms such as your reply contains. And in spite of your instructions, I will vote the way I feel is best for us and our community.

  14. The LCCH board put out one ballot to revitalize the present hospital and it failed, then they put out two bond ballots to build a new hospital that both failed. The community is obviously twice as determined not to abandon their present hospital as they are to build a new one, but the Hospital Board continues their one track attempts every couple of years on the tear down the old and build new plan. There have been no serious looks at recycling the present building and their efforts have been entirely spent on design and construction of new, including buying land at the top of the real estate market out by the dump. The trend towards abandoning perfectly good structures has really shifted in recent years, recycling existing buildings, particularly buildings like LCCH which look out over the city and lake has been shown to be the wise course. When this present bond fails, maybe we can get a new hospital board to actually change their direction and appreciate the location and design of the present hospital, and actually spend so effort protecting what we have rather than tearing it down. VOTE NO, “ONCE AGAIN” Lets get the board to look at the alternative and rebuild it don’t build new

    • There were several alternatives to building new, one was a complete remodel of the existing facility (but with private rooms and more needed space) that cost is $56 million. And the flexibility for the future would be hampered by the same constraints there are now.
      The cost of building new is $44.5 million and there is flexibility to add a clinic at a later date and space for the helipad that people really want by the hospital.

  15. Brian, where on earth do you get these numbers, do you really think that anyone will believe that 56 million figure. What are you planning on building up there the Taj Mahal? We need a hospital for emergency care, and short term care, with a stabilize and ship policy for anything requiring longer term elective care. This is a community with approximately 6000 year around residents, we just cannot afford your grandiose vision and are much better off with the present hospital. You have to give the community credit for having some knowledge of what the numbers will be and yours are outrageous. You always forget the “land price” in your number and that is why the number is 47 million, just because the hospital is already in debt for the land doesn’t mean they can’t sell that land to recoup their investment and put it into rebuilding the present hospital. VOTE NO figures don’t lie, **** *****

    • Bill- LCCH is not planning on building the Taj Mahal. Just a facility that will have private rooms, space for recovery rooms for the operating rooms (that also will be larger), larger OB suites and a larger ED. It is sad to see that you and your compatriots do not think that Chelan deserves that. We all understand that you and the no voter leaders will never use the facility. It is sad that since you feel that way that you would be willing to saddle Chelan with a facility that is not capable of modern medicine. You would be willing to sacrifice future physicians of a rural residency training. You would be willing to saddle the community with a facility that is not able to be flexible for medicine to come.
      Nobody wants North Valley Hospital in Whitefish. We think that the citizens deserve a facility at least as good as North Valley Hospital in Tonasket. We don’t think that since people live in a rural area they should “take their chances”. We feel the people deserve more, even if you don’t.

  16. Bill – you have exactly zero credentials in healthcare. ZERO. Personally I prefer to take my lead on all things healthcare from those who have credentialed expertise in the subject. You have zero credentials in architecture, design, contracting, building or financing a hospital. You have zero credentials in any healthcare profession. You have zero credentials in the management of a hospital. You have zero credentials in assessing what makes a viable healthcare ecosystem for the Lake Chelan valley. On what expertise do you presume to tell the community what is needed in healthcare – what you state is needed is merely your opinion not fact nor based in reality. I am angry that you continually demean and denigrate the commissioners, the administration and staff with false statements to try to shame them and create resentment in others. I am angry that you would mislead others by posting information about the project and the financing that are just plain wrong at best and blatant falsehoods at worst – and that it is deliberate and by design. I am angry that you persist in using false equivalence to try to compare LCCH with organizations that are not in similiar circumstances. I’m angry that you engage hyperbole, histrionics and other Limbaughesque rhetoric to scare other citizens and undermine trust in LCCH that hurts the organization in both the short and the long term. LCCH has served this community well for nearly 70 years – your malice is misguided.

  17. The proponents of the Toyota Town Hospital at the dump are getting rather shrill as we approach the vote. Maybe losing the last three bond issues has been disturbing. We can only hope that after the vote is finished that they will be willing to see the alternative to building a shiny new hospital in a time when local hospitals that went into deep debt went bust, as Grand Coulee, Quincy, and Kennewick have shown those of us with open minds on this subject. Governor Inslee has issued a warning to rural hospitals to be cautious and remain solvent, and with 12 out of 39 CAH hospitals already in deep financial distress, on the brink of closure, this is no time to put our hospital district into deep debt. Debt is bad!! Endangering our small hospital is just not worth the risk, particularly in a time when the entire health subsidy from the Federal Government is in question. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to not put them in this high debt predicament, and to preserve our present hospital. VOTE NO, The choice is clear

  18. The no voters are using many catch phrases like “Toyota Town Hospital” and building it “shiny knew hospital at the dump” and trying to compare LCCH to hospitals in towns that do not compare to Chelan, like Quincy, or that have completely different financing of operations like Grand Coulee or Kennewick. It is all because they do not have a reasonable, well studied, alternative plan. They try to disparage consultants with outstanding national reputations and years of experience. They just want a no for no’s sake. They are selling Chelan short. They are willing to be OK with less than modern, up to date healthcare for the citizens of Chelan. They think that less than adequate healthcare is OK for you, but not for them because they have said and written many times they will not use LCCH. They bring up 12 of 39 hospitals that are not doing well, when they know those communities are nothing like Chelan. LCCH is one of the 27 out of 39 that are doing well! We should be proud!
    The no voters do not think that you should have private rooms in a hospital. They have said and written that over and over. That means they don’t care about YOUR privacy, infection control, dignity or comfort of a loved one who is at the end of their life. They don’t want more space, which means they don’t care about your experience having a child or how quickly you are seen in the emergency room. They don’t want a hospital that is capable of supporting a residency program, so that infers that they do not care about the training of future physicians.
    The choice is clear. There is a well studied plan that shows this can be easily affordable with an intelligent public bond that will advance healthcare in the valley for generations. Go to http://www.newhospitalnow.com and you can see all the studied facts. We have confidence in Chelan. We want the best for the community and for the future of healthcare. Vote YES!

  19. AND, the reason that LCCH is not on that list of 12 out of 39 hospitals that are going broke is that, “they have not gone into massive debt building a new hospital”. Better to have a hospital without all the shiny bells and whistles than no hospital at all, and that will be the result if the employees of the hospital, and land speculators have their way. We don’t need a hospital with a residency program, we don’t need a hospital that does elective surgery, those are right down the road in Wenatchee, or over the hills in Seattle. What we need is an emergency hospital, with a good stabilize and ship system to get major problems quickly to the better financed and equipped hospitals outside of town. LCCH in it’s present configuration will easily handle the needs of a 6000 year around population if it is modernized and upgraded to meet that goal. Nearly doubling the size of the hospital just does not make sense and risks the viability of the present health care system in the valley. If the professionals at the hospital want the excitement and big money of an intense big city hospital they should “move up to one”. LCCH is a small town hospital subsidized by the taxpayers to handle emergencies and trying to change it into something else is way to big a risk.
    Listening to out of town consultants, hired by the hospital board, agree with that same hospital board is a classic case of misinformation. Ask local people with intimate knowledge of the present structure and the needs of the community and the voters will once again, (for the third time) reject this empire building. VOTE NO let’s take care of what we have

  20. It is sad to read how little the naysayers think of Chelan. They want a “stabilize and ship” hospital but it has been written time and again that those do not exist in rural communities. They have no concern for the quality of healthcare close to home. And, none of them has ever tried to transfer a patient to realize it just isn’t as easy as they would like it to sound. That hospital “right down the road” or “over the hill” is often full and unable to accept patients. But, the naysayers are not in healthcare and either don’t know or don’t care.
    I wish I knew why the no voters are so against patient comfort, privacy and advancing healthcare in the valley for generations to come. It certainly isn’t the financial plan because their arguments against that have been dismantled numerous times in many different forums. One can only surmise that the personal grudges they have against LCCH cause so much anger they fail to see facts clearly. They do not want to see LCCH succeed and thrive!
    Don’t fall for an angry shell game of a group of people who don’t want the best for your health and well being. Vote YES! And visit http://www.newhospitalnow.com for the true facts.

  21. The people who will benefit the most from this shiny new hospital at the dump are the employees, and the real estate land speculators and they have shown themselves to be the biggest supporters of bulldozing our present hospital. Don’t let this extremely expensive out of town advertising campaign sway the common sense of the people of the valley. Our present hospital has met the needs in the past, and will continue in the future if it is properly maintained and upgraded. NO need for nearly doubling the size by going into Massive debt. VOTE NO, maintain what we have and stay within budget, we don’t need to take the risk of this Massive debt.

    • Bill- out of town advertising campaign? The entire yes group community is locals! People who want the best for their and their neighbor’s healthcare.

  22. Bill, hate to steal your “thunder”, but when we checked our mail this AM after being out of town for a couple of days, I do not see an information mailer. We did, however, receive our ballots. My husband has already completed his and voted yes. Your continued all critical but no substance posts are not helpful and quite frankly a turn off. As I said, we use the hospital, happy to do so, but it is very difficult to see how this outdated building could be renovated. When my husband was there for surgery, the room was very crowded, there weren’t even enough plug ins, the recovery room is jam packed, on and on. The staff appeared to be doing their best. It is obvious the kind of renovation your group discusses will take experts and lots of planning, and sadly lots of money – where will that money come from? If we could stick to logic and not be so hell bent on driving with the rear view mirror, it really does seem a new build is the logical choice, sentiment aside. I appreciate your obvious passion, I just don’t see your logic.

  23. New arrivals to the valley forget sometimes just why they came over to our quiet town in the first place. The lack of traffic, lower taxes, strip malls, were what attracted most of us. It is to bad when those same people then ask the community for all the things that the city does have, professional firefighters, quick response police, advanced hospitals, but they all come with a price. The price is, “changing the quiet town into the place they left”. A town of 6000 year around citizens can afford a small emergency hospital, as they have for the last 40 years. Doubling the size of the hospital, getting into elective surgery, plastic surgery, and long term care goes way beyond what a small population needs and can afford. Better to keep what we have and transport people to the bigger population centers which can better afford the level of care that newcomers to the valley expect, rather than trying to compete with our limited resources. The smartest people in this valley do not necessarily work up at the hospital, and three times previously those people have turned LCCH down for their grandiose plans. Chelan has a very nice hospital, it needs some upgrading, and probably new management, but it will easily meet the needs of the population. Risking that hospital with this massive new debt just does not make any sense, and a quick look around at similar hospitals in the area that did exactly that see that they are closing their doors and laying off their employees to try to make payroll. VOTE NO, better to have a viable hospital than a shuttered, Toyota Town Hospital

  24. Statement from LCCH Plant engineering.

    Ken Peters, Manager/Plant engineer, Robert Anderson, Tim Eggars, Scott Dietrich and Kim Gamelkoff

    I, Scott Dietrich, with the support of my Plant engineering co-workers, will work on setting the record straight as to the misconceptions that have been used against LCCH, the commissioners, the administration and the staff of this community entity, the Lake Chelan Community Hospital.

    The naysayers have come out vehemently against LCCH and wrongfully accuse the commissioners, that the members of this community elected to represent us, the administration and what we feel is a direct assault on past and present maintenance department personnel as to faulty maintenance over the course of the history in our hospital. We also feel they have made a mockery of our community’s intelligence by misconstruing and fabricating information that “Maintenance” has been poorly performed over the years at LCCH. They have purposely misrepresented a past report/survey to confuse this community as to the difference between “Maintenance” and “Capital improvements”.

    We as a Medical facility are governed by three (3) agencies, The Department of Health, The State Fire Marshall and The Department of Labor and Industries. There is no wiggle room with any of these (3) agencies. If we at any time had failed at maintenance, as we have been accused, LCCH would have been shut down by any one of these three agencies. The State Fire Marshall was just at LCCH last week and complimented us on the great job we were performing in an aging facility.
    The naysayers have used a 2005 survey from Botesch, Nash and Hall, (BNH) Architects P.S. to try to accomplish this. This report, that had absolutely nothing to do with maintenance, was, used at the public forum at Chelan High School as one of their examples against the upcoming bond election. The report was used, outside of the context of what the report was originally written for.

    LCCH was built in 1972 based on 1969 building codes. This BNH report that has been used against us by the naysayers was commissioned by the then Board of Commissioners and the CEO. It was only intended and utilized to get an estimate of what “Capital improvements” would need to be undertaken to bring LCCH up to the then current 2005 building codes. It was used to determine the most economically cost effective means of either re-modeling to then current building codes, or building new. Let me point out that this report was done by a true architectural firm in conjunction with an engineering firm that does reports like this as their professional business. It wasn’t an interpretation done by those who’s motivation is deceitful misrepresentation to this community as to what this report was commissioned to accomplish. It had nothing to do with maintenance or lack thereof.

    In laymen’s terms, I’ll try to put it in a parallel comparison. The Navy has a vessel that is 45 years old. This vessel has been well maintained. They do an inspection for a total refitting and determine the costs of upgrading propulsion, weapon’s systems, crew facilities, and numerous other improvement’s to be far greater than building a new upgraded vessel that will last for another 45 years or longer. What happens to the old vessel? It gets mothballed, sold as surplus, or scrapped. A new one takes its place.

    We have a facility that is 45 years old. It has been maintained. We can spend $56 million to refit our current facility and still not accomplish what is needed for the future of this growing community and our patients or we can spend over $13 million less and have a state of the art facility that can address this communities health care needs far into the future.

    • Let’s face it Bill – you just don’t want to pay anything toward this community project because you plain don’t care about the community – you have a long history of opposing any community project that might cost you one penny. You and your buddies will stoop so low so far as to post signs with ludicrous numbers to deceive and mislead your fellow citizens. Sad. Currently LCCH provides all the services that you have declared are unnecessary, but in a totally inadequate building. What are your medical credentials again? I forget. What hospital administration and economic bonifides do you possess to declare categorically what is needed or not needed when it comes to healthcare whether we are talking about Seattle or Chelan? We can’t “afford’ a small ER hospital because a small ER hospital would not be economically viable. But because you, personally, don’t want to pay anything toward any community project, whether it is a school, a library, fire stations, or even invest in local healthcare, you will fabricate a doomsday scenario, cast aspersions on the commissioners, administration and employees. LCCH does not compete with Confluence – in fact we are a complentary and they strongly support this project. Face it Bill, you just don’t care about the healthcare of your fellow citizens. You’ve got yours – so too bad about yours, because you are affluent enough to travel away from the community to seek care. Three times the community has actually posted a majority vote in favor of relocating and rebuilding the facility. The community is still waiting, with baited breath, yet the naysayers haven’t brought forward anything resembling a realistic viable alternative plan, complete with the requisite pesky details.

      As for your ‘can-do’ attitude???? All I’m hearing is that you and the naysayers believe that the Lake Chelan Valley ‘can-do” with less expectations for quality healthcare locally. Unbelievable.

    • They are right on many counts. Our hospital is meeting minimal codes set
      by the state. They will never have a facility that better meets fire
      codes more easily than the one they have now. It is rated as
      non-combustible with sprinklers, and an alarm system. But they are not
      meeting all codes per the waver they requested per the electrical, which
      is a maintenance issue.

      But a building is not like their ship that they use as an example. Our
      Hospital, like all well built buildings has a basic shell that outlasts
      many of its working systems and individual pieces. We don’t tear our house
      down when the furnace goes out. We don’t tear town our school when for
      lack of electrical outlets. You don’t abandon a church when the roof
      leaks. And in hospital terms, you take care of the patient. You help them
      heal. You give them new hips, and knees when the person is otherwise
      healthy. There is annual check-up. To keep most buildings healthy it
      requires 2%-2.5% of its value a year to keep it healthy. Four or hospital
      with a working value of around $20M, I believe that would be around
      $400,000 a year. So if the hospital had spent $6M in the last fifteen
      years, especially with adjusted dollars, our hospital would be in good
      condition. Money spent for remodeling and modernization would be in
      addition to the maintenance amount.
      (There are thoughtful and intelligent professional people in this valley who really know a lot more about hospitals, particularly this one than some of the folks that profess to be experts) VOTE NO Rebuild and modernize what we have, a beautiful hospital looking over the valley and Lake, lets not send out sick and injured out to the dump

  25. The new hospital will not be at risk because there is a sound financial plan that has been studied with many different models. The debt payment, because of Medicare finances, is actually less than the debt payment is now. So the financial argument of the naysayers has been debunked over and over.
    The pro hospital people do now want Harborview East in Chelan, they just want a facility that is capable of providing quality, up to date healthcare so residents can stay close to home. So that patients can have an experience in the hospital, privacy, larger OB suites, larger ER, that the people of the valley deserve. And a facility that will be able to be flexible to handle the changes in medicine for generations to come.
    The no voters have written and said time and again that patient care and comfort isn’t necessary because either A). They won’t ever use the hospital, so it isn’t good enough for them, but should be good enough for you, or B). We all live in a small town so we should lower our expectations for healthcare and take our chances.
    Take time and go to http://www.newhospitalnow.com for all the details. There is an intelligent financial plan and a vision of optimism for the future of Chelan valley and it’s citizens! Vote YES for a better future!

  26. The ballots are out there, and the choice is certainly a clear one. Remodel and keep our present hospital or take a BIG chance with MASSIVE DEBT, by nearly doubling the size of the present hospital, while having the same number of beds and personnel. The real estate land speculators, and people who work at the hospital are pushing this white elephant on the community with little regard for the increased hardship this cost will impact those not working at some of the best paying jobs in the valley. Rents will go up and all other costs incurred by the landowners will have to be increased to pay for the Toyota Town Hospital, that is undeniable. That means that everything from gasoline to hardware will rise, in a town where the cost of living is already driving the working poor further into the countryside. On top of that the hospital district is going into deep debt, at a time when local hospitals are failing left and right, and the governor of the state has warned that Rural Hospitals should not expand as 12 out of 39 CAH hospitals are in desperate straits here in the state of Washington. This is a terrible idea fostered by the few who will benefit financially on the backs of those who will have to foot the bill. VOTE NO lets keep what we have maintained and upgrade it to meet the needs of the current population

  27. All we see and hear are the same old tired arguments against by a group of naysayers that:
    A. Have no alternative plan.
    B. Do not know anything about Critical Access Hospitals, much less have any experience in how to run one.
    C. Do not know the difference between the financing of a sports arena and a hospital.
    D. Are only able to give statistics out of context, because only a “quick look” will support their baseless assumptions and arguments.
    E. Don’t really care about the comfort and care of the community because they will never use the facility (It is not good enough for them, but should be good enough for you).
    F. Have leaders that have personal grudges against the hospital so no matter what is actually best for the community, they want the hospital to fail.

  28. The reason that the arguments against the Toyota Town Hospital remain the same ones that three times previously have defeated this bond issue is that they are on solid ground and nothing has changed. There is absolutely no reason to nearly double the size of our local hospital and putting the entire healthcare of the valley at risk. The real estate land speculators and hospital workers don’t seem to fathom just how risky this shiny new hospital is, or they don’t care, it has to be one or the other because the financial data is in and it has shown to be a recipe for disaster. Nothing seems to convince them, the failure of 12 out of 39 CAH hospitals of similar size, the failure of Quincy, Grand Coulee, and Kennewick hospitals because they over extended. Not even a warning from Governor Inslee seems to get through to those who want this grandiose expansion of a hospital. A plea for restraint from the working poor of the valley whose rents, gasoline, and virtually every other expense will rise to pay for this White Elephant has gone unanswered, from people working at the highest paying jobs in the Valley up at LCCH. Time to “fish or cut bait” folks, VOTE NO, Lets keep out hospital on the hill, maintain it don’t bulldoze it

  29. Bill and his well heeled friends don’t care about the economics of this valley or the viability of the hospital – they just aren’t willing to pay a penny toward it. They do seem to be willing to spend plenty of money and jeopardize their integrity to spread false information and put up signs that are actual lies.

    To date still no numbers from the naysayers derived from their team of “experts” Pretty sure when self identified “experts”, sent by the naysayers, were discovered skulking around the hospital a couple of weeks ago, that even they were quickly coming to the same conclusions that attempting to do anything to that building, on that site, is beyond a waste of both time and treasure. They were asked to make an appointment and return to do their assessment. They never did. Bet they saw it was literally putting lipstick on a pig. Don’t waste the Hospital District’s and your money – VOTE YES!

  30. Those of us who want to save our hospital not bulldoze it have put out the facts. Those fanatics who want the shiny new hospital out at the dump just will not listen to the financial facts. They will not listen to the local hospitals that are failing because they overextended and are now broke. (Coulee City, Quincy, Kennewick) They refuse to even acknowledge that 12 out of 39 CAH hospitals are in desperate straits. These facts have been repeated over and over and apparently the folks absolutely committed to building this grandiose hospital nearly twice the size of our present classic structure cannot see beyond their own hype. Hopefully for the fourth time, the voters will not be blinded by this expensive advertising blitz and will VOTE NO, and save our present hospital looking over the city and the lake

    • All we see and hear are the same old tired arguments against by a group of naysayers that:
      A. Have no alternative plan.
      B. Do not know anything about Critical Access Hospitals, their finances, much less have any experience in how to run one.
      C. Do not know the difference between the financing of a sports arena and a hospital. Nor the difference between a growing community like Chelan and other communities.
      D. Are only able to give statistics out of context, because only a “quick look” will support their baseless assumptions and arguments.
      E. Don’t really care about the comfort and care of the community because they will never use the facility (It is not good enough for them, but should be good enough for you).
      F. Have leaders that have personal grudges against the hospital so no matter what is actually best for the community, they want the hospital to fail.

  31. Time to check the recycle bin for those ballots, people who do not vote in off season elections need to vote in this one. A failure to vote is effectively a yes vote because those folks galvanized to build this white elephant at the dump, will surely vote. Those of us on the South Shore and Stehekin may never use LCCH cause it is easier and quicker to turn right on Navarre Coulee or take a helicopter to Confluence, than it is to wait for a round trip on an ambulance or a boat ride. Not voting will mean a 30 year debt, and if the 12 out of 39 failing hospitals in the state are any indication, it will also mean an expensive bailout of this grandiose nearly doubling of the size of our present small hospital in the near future. Few people go to a hospital for luxurious accommodation, it is a place to get repaired and out of as quick as possible, and the cost of overnight stays is astronomical. If people want elective care it is far better to go to a big hospital that does the procedures repeatedly than one that does them occasionally, so what we need is a good emergency hospital just like what we have now and we can let the grandiose visions of the employees and real estate land speculators go elsewhere. So pull those ballots off the shelf and VOTE NO, not voting will be an expensive decision down the road, when these vocal proponents need the taxpayers to bail out this poor decision

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