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Public deserves freedom to choose on surgery center

Posted: January 17, 2012 - 10:12am

Finally, someone admits that the not-for-profit Central Peninsula Hosptial actually makes a revenue all on the backs of those of us who have had no choice but to seek over-priced services at their facility as there are no other options on the Peninsula. A friend recently provided a copy of her bill from an outpatient surgery center that was 60 percent less than what I paid for the same surgery at CPH. It's one thing to cover your costs but I consider this highway robbery.

I support Kahtnu Ventures' endeavor to provide an alternative facility for outpatient surgeries, and can only wonder why CPH has chosen not to collaborate with them.  The physicians have indicated in the paper and on the radio that they first approached the hospital prior to seeking a CON (certificate of need) only to be told that they (CPH) could not/would not do it. Kahtnu should be commended for their efforts to bring a lower cost option for outpatient surgeries to the area.

It is disturbing to note that both the borough and the city of Soldotna are considering a resolution opposing this idea without first investigating the real impact.  It is even more disturbing to me that the council member from Soldotna who happens to be employed at CPH was listed as the sponsor of the resolution opposing free enterprise. Whose interest is she really looking out for -- her job or the community she represents?

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bewildered
9
Points
bewildered 01/17/12 - 12:26 pm
0
0
I don’t want my health care

I don’t want my health care going to the lowest bidder (Isn’t that what happened to the Space Shuttle Challenger faulty equipment from the lowest bidder? )
I want quality health care.

Yes, I have had surgeries at both. I choose a community minded, community supported Central Peninsula Hospital EVERY time!

akal
252
Points
akal 01/17/12 - 01:44 pm
0
0
hmmm

competition is a good thing, I had to go to San Diego for an mri ,it cost $400 . the same scan at CPH would have been many times that cost. competition from Mexico was one of the reasons it was so low,many people have to travel outside or go to other countries to get medical help ,the prices at CPH are so high the locals can't afford them. so yes bring on the surgery. also the Challenger didn't fail because of a lower bid the design was faulty.

Allen
618
Points
Allen 01/17/12 - 02:22 pm
0
0
Please Show Us Your Figures

This letter reads as though Jenny Montgomery was given talking points by the Kahtnu Ventures group or perhaps she works for or is related to one of the surgeons in that group. In order to prove that her letter is really independent of that group, I ask Ms. Montgomery to post her data so we can check out her claims.

For example, did she pay for her surgery or did her insurance company? If her insurance company paid, how are the Hospital's charges "on the backs of" her or anyone else around here? Also, if the cost of the surgery was so important to her, why didn't she do some research to find the cheapest place? After all, she had a choice, outpatient surgery is by its very nature not an emergency.

I would hope the Soldotna City Council opposes the Kahtnu Ventures plan - the Hospital is the economic engine that drives Soldotna and the Council would be crazy not to oppose this unfair competition plan. I say unfair because there is not a level playing field between a highly regulated public hospital and a for-profit private surgery center.

Momofthree
0
Points
Momofthree 01/17/12 - 05:03 pm
0
0
Why does it matter?

I support Kahtnu's proposal for a free standing surgery after doing much research on this project and after reading and listening to newspaper and radio reports.

Did you listen to the callers on KSRM this morning? Others are providing the same examples of higher costs at the hospital versus at a surgery center which caused them to go to Anchorage. Also Kahtnu has provided this information to all of us when they discussed it in the paper, on the radio and other articles that I have taken the time to read about why surgery centers cost less. What does it matter if she actually paid for the surgery out of her pocket or if her insurance company paid the bill. Most of us have high deductibles and must pay at least 20%, of the bill, or in my case I pay 30%, and 20% of a higher amount seems unnecessary when that 20% could be of a lesser charge. So I agree that these costs are "on her back" and the backs of other who are expected to pay the full amount. Also, I think that higher costs are driving medical insurance premiums off the charts which affects my pocket book. By the way I would think that an ambulatory surgery center would be as highly regulated as the hospital. I called one of the surgeons to verify this last comment and they indicated that the surgery center would use the same regulations as the hospital and that a surgery center opened in Fairbanks a few years ago and that they just passed there JCAH inspection which as I understand has very high standards. He also mentioned that State and Federal regulations apply to surgery centers just like they do at the hospital. I believe in high quality care at a lesser cost and availability closer to home.

colonialpast
56
Points
colonialpast 01/17/12 - 05:39 pm
0
0
Know the truth...

Everyone is forgetting that CPH is community owned and provides many services to the community for example: Diabetes education, Safe sitters, Safe Kids, Pays for food when people show up in cafeteria and can't pay, ER, and not to mention is largest employer on the Peninsula. If this surgery center opens all this will be gone. This is how nice small communities become big cities. America has plenty of big citlies. Besides, the doctors that are doing this have been very unethical and full of lies to the community in order to get there way. Yes, cost may be higher at a hospital but look at all the benefits a hospital gives back...this surgery center will not...it's only for profit and that's it!!!!!

Allen
618
Points
Allen 01/18/12 - 11:46 am
0
0
Listen to the Assembly Meeting

Instead of listening to KSRM (Sound Off) listen to last night's Assembly meeting, towards the end of the meeting, where the Kahtnu Ventures group (Henry Krull, Jim Ziril) spoke, and then the Hospital group (Rick Ross, Rick Davis) spoke, and you can hear real data.

To me, the Hospital has the much better case: why should we pay 9 million dollars for one surgery room when the Hospital surgery suites are not full now, and another one will go online in May that will only cost $900,000? And we the customers will be paying for the 9 million, let's not kid ourselves.

Jenny Montgomery testified at the meeting last night, and as expected, her "facts" were minimal. She looked at a friend's surgery center bill and made a couple of phone calls. Not persuasive to me. Ray Southwell also testified but he could not stay focused on the resolution before the Assembly, he just wanted to complain about the Hospital management and board. Not helpful.

The most disappointing thing to me about listening to the Assembly meeting was to hear several people just spouting slogans ("free enterprise") and insulting the assembly members, but who clearly didn't understand the issues at hand. We Borough taxpayers have invested a lot of time and money into our community hospital, which provides a broad variety of health care and serves everyone without discrimination. So there better be some darn good reasons to allow a private for-profit surgery center in, to cherry pick the profitable procedures away from the Hospital. And I didn't hear them last night.

justamom
12
Points
justamom 01/18/12 - 02:08 pm
0
0
Not on the Kenai

As much as I love living on the KP, there isn't one "surgeon" down here I'd let trim my dogs toe nails, yet alone cut on me. I don't support the surgery center, and I won't be having any type of surgery at the hospital either.

RaySouthwell
953
Points
RaySouthwell 01/18/12 - 05:03 pm
0
0
We get what we deserve

Allen,
Politicians understand how to stay in control. Divide and conquer.

I am trying to get the the root cause of the problems at CPH.

It is just like all other levels of government. We do not speak about the financial global meltdown and its root causes. We talk about decisive issues. Obamacare-99%-Tea Party-Occupy Wall Street, etc.

Like our nation, our local hospital is being destroyed because we fight over superficial issues instead of finding out the truth.

The Borough Assembly believes the building is their only responsibility concerning CPH. The care delivered is not their fiduciary responsibility. That is left to a hospital board with no experience caring for the patients.

In the end people always get what they deserve-an empty shell of a building. I have seen it before. Check out the history of “DC General Hospital.”

Oh, Now the Assembly is talking about appointing the members of the Hospital Service Area Board, we don't need no stinkin election of board members. It will become just like the unelected corporate hospital board. "Good ol boy" network

colonialpast
56
Points
colonialpast 01/18/12 - 05:28 pm
0
0
No Sense

Ray,

You are not even making sense. You can hardly use one story to vouch for all. Every situation has different rules and exceptions.

If you look up the facts only about 3% of the community goes to Anchorage for surgery and 1.5% of that is due to scheduling issues not dislike for the hospital. With another OR coming online at the hospital there is no way to justify the need for a surgery center except for $$$. It all comes down to $$. The doctors opening the surgery center is purely in it for themselves and could care less for the community.

granny
160
Points
granny 01/18/12 - 06:27 pm
0
0
That is a bit harsh colonial,

That is a bit harsh colonial, many of those doctors have been around for a long time and done good things in the community. The hospital is in it for the money also.
I'm interested in why the hospital has refused to collaborate with the doctors. The answer to that question given by mayor Navarre last night rang hollow with me. Because the charter won't allow it?!! Too simplistic. I know from other first -hand experiances that there are board members who do not believe in collaboration. Between this issue and the effort to sell the hospital (part of it) I'm coming to believe that if CPH is truely a community hospital than the community should have a more direct say in the make-up of the board. MSchrag

colonialpast
56
Points
colonialpast 01/19/12 - 08:59 am
0
0
Not Harsh...True

The hosiptal is a NON-Profit organization...it makes revenue to pay its bills, expand (like the future Oncology/Infusion center), recruit new experts and GIVE back to the community in so many ways. If you listen and read the reports correctly the hosiptal will join efforts if it comes to that. But I stand by what I said earlier...if the doctors are so caring then they shouldn't be so underhanded in their efforts to open this surgery center.

Allen
618
Points
Allen 01/19/12 - 01:30 pm
0
0
Joint Venture

Mayor Navarre was trying to make the point that the current agreement between the Borough and the Hospital operator wouldn't allow the operator the freedom or flexibility to do joint ventures with for-profits like Kahtnu Ventures.

I also heard the Hospital CEO, Rick Davis, say the Kahtnu's business plan did not make good business sense: a 9 million dollar one operating room versus the Hospital's new operating room which will cost $900,000.

MNC
0
Points
MNC 01/19/12 - 01:43 pm
0
0
Freedom of choice means for ALL not just those with insurance!

Shouldn't Medicare and low income and uninsured patients ALSO have the freedom of choice? I don't think that the surgury center would be taking the Medicare patients or accept payment based on income, and I don't think that the community needs the surgury center.
HOWEVER, when the state considers the CON, IF it was possible for them to REQUIRE THE CENTER TO TAKE MEDICARE PATIENTS I think one of two things would happen if approved...
1. With the Medicare requirement making it less lucritive the center would either not open or have to raise prices... or
2. The center being required to take Medicare patients could lighten that burden from the hospital.

Alaskalad
55
Points
Alaskalad 01/21/12 - 11:32 am
0
0
Health Care

Would it not be time to look around us and notice how the rest of the world handles Health Care?
If we added all the money now spent ,by consumers for their own insurance , by employers for Workmen's Comp , by uninsured individuals to the much larger amounts administered and spent by the government for VA benefits, Native Health Services, Medicare/Medicaid and others , we soon approach the cost to run a single payer healthcare system . When we remove profit as a motive our costs will be further reduced .
And after a while perhaps we can climb up from our current World Heath Organization rating of number 37 and join other developed countries closer to the top.
PLUS one wouldn't have to spend time trying to figure who is going to give you the least screwing , the doctors and nurses could practice Medicine , and the Executive Officers could work for a wage instead of a fortune.
That is what I think.

snowgirl
0
Points
snowgirl 01/21/12 - 12:40 pm
0
0
Protect Your Hospital!

As an RN with 30 years of Hospital experience in the State of California let me humbly offer to you a view from a state that has many privately owned hospitals. I am in the "we have TOO much government!" camp but when it comes to health care, we need to be very careful whom we let take over our hospital business. This new venture group will be in it for profit only - they will NOT be interested in patient care. The reason that they can charge less to people with private insurance is because they will not accept medicare or medicaid patients as those surgeries are paid at pennies on the dollar! They also can and WILL pick and choose WHICH surgeries and procedures they will do at their facility. They will be SURE to make a profit and will take all the cream from CPH. CPH will be left with only the uninsured, the medicare and the medicaid patients. Eventually, your beautiful and patient centered hospital will be in the red and then will follow the road that hospitals have trudged along in my state. They will be bought by a Not-for-profit corporation that will raise prices anyway and will focus ONLY on profit and will no longer care about the Borough or it's people. In California, we are MUCH farther down this dreaded road so I offer this info to you so you don't make the same mistakes. You are correct to say that the Borough shouldn't have opposed this 100 percent since the people are divided, but in THIS particular case, they are right and are trying to protect you. A good way to solve this dilemma would be to vote them out next election since they voted against you, but just remember that they DID have your best interests at heart. My wonderful, small community hospital that I have worked in for many years is now owned by a venture corporation and they show NO respect or interest in their employees and do not care about patients. The bottom line is profit and even the Nurse Managers admit that the dollar is our focus! God help us but you still have a chance to block this. CPH will always have to charge more for it's services as it is mandated to accept the poor and uninsured. They are there to help you. Last summer I was a patient in your hospital and compared to Corporate pricing, you have a very low price scale. Also, the negotiating they will do with you even with good insurance is phenomenal. Most importantly, the care I received was excellent. The nurses were proud of the hospital - I remember sadly how I used to be able to feel that way about MY hospital! Nurses that are happy and oove their hospital give better care! Protect your hospital or you will lose it! Continue to care about it's solvency, be proud of it and support it whenever you can. If you don't like something about it's pricing, etc, don't sell out to a private corporation - instead attend their board meetings and WORK IT OUT! Bless you all. I envy your state, your independence, and your pride in your community. Get online and read the California newspapers, especially those in the Bay Area, and you will see your future! However, the good news is that you can circumvent it......what has happened to us does NOT have to happen to YOU! Be careful, stay free, be involved, and be informed. Knowledge is power!

RaySouthwell
953
Points
RaySouthwell 01/21/12 - 07:50 pm
0
0
Colonialpast

You present statistical numbers as if the question is-for or against Kahtnu.

That is my point I am making. We are not looking at the root cause of why the independent surgeons want to build a free standing ambulatory center?

Our publicly owned hospital is being destroyed based on the hospital inc board management style. Healthcare dollars will be shrinking. Hospitals, nurses, doctors and others must work together for the survival of our community hospitals in Homer and Soldotna.

TheCentral Peninsula Hospital inc board is dividing these groups and they will be fighting over the healthcare dollars of the future. In the end this fight will will destroy our hospital in Soldotna.

These surgeons have a vested interest in our community. They have shown it. They are fighting for control of their practice. The hospital inc board want to control it all. In the end they will destroy it all.

RaySouthwell
953
Points
RaySouthwell 01/21/12 - 07:57 pm
0
0
M Schrag

How about an elected Board. We have an elected Hospital Service Area Board (SAB) that recommends to the Borough Assembly. The Assembly always ignores what the elected SAB encourages.

Now the Borough Assembly wants to eliminate the SAB election and just appoint who they want.

RaySouthwell
953
Points
RaySouthwell 01/21/12 - 08:11 pm
0
0
Allen

It appears to me any time the INC board wants to make a change, they just have to get it approved by the Assembly. I don’t think the public would object to cooperation between local independent doctors and our hospital.

The unelected INC board believes they knows what is best for us and want to control it all. They have bit off more than they can chew this time.

In the end their behavior will destroy our community/public hospital.

I agree with Davis about questioning Kantnu’s business plan. The surgeons have found financial backing and are desperate to protect their independent practices. That shows me their commitment to the community. Big risk for little financial gain.

RaySouthwell
953
Points
RaySouthwell 01/21/12 - 08:15 pm
0
0
MNC

I believe I heard Dr. Krull say they would take medicare patients.

RaySouthwell
953
Points
RaySouthwell 01/21/12 - 08:24 pm
0
0
Allen

It appears to me any time the INC board wants to make a change, they just have to get it approved by the Assembly. I don’t think the public would object to cooperation between local independent doctors and our hospital.

The unelected INC board believes they knows what is best for us and want to control it all. They have bit off more than they can chew this time.

In the end their behavior will destroy our community/public hospital.

I agree with Davis about questioning Kantnu’s business plan. The surgeons have found financial backing and are desperate to protect their independent practices. That shows me their commitment to the community. Big risk for little financial gain.

rlevy
0
Points
rlevy 02/07/12 - 10:28 pm
0
0
health care costs

Taxes are not the issue. Health care costs are. There are so many benefits to increased medical facilities here that any argument(s) that distract us from our health care issues are moot.

We have a great opportunity here to help every borough resident improve health care and health care costs by allowing all of us to have a choice in health care. This is what makes our country great, and many countries do not allow free market development.

Allowing CPG to be a monopoly is ridiculous. Everyone knows that hospitals are some of the most expensive places to go for non-major surgeries. Even for major surgeries, there are often many cheaper choices, as Anchorage has shown us with many thriving, privately-held surgery centers.

CPH has nothing to lose by suggesting and distracting us with increased tax threats and other irrelevant issues like operating room efficiency.

The fact is that any business that follows the laws should be allowed to operate. If you don't like a facility, don't go to it. Exercise your choice, just like you do with every business here, but don't prevent us from the opportunity to exercise ours.

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