Strength of our hospital lies in ourselves

Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On April 1, there was a "Community Dialog" at the Kenai Senior Center concerning the governance of our hospital. It was attended by some of our community politicians and the public. Everyone spoke their mind.

The theme, I saw, was fear. Fear of what the economic future will be in health care and the effects it will have on our hospital.

Many within the governing bodies believe corporations can save our hospital from the economic changes of the future. I spoke with a hospital board member at the meeting. For the first time, she listened to me and I to her. It was clear to me; She loves our community and hospital, as I do. She spoke from her heart, as I do.

I realized our differences. She listens and believes the corporations. She believes the key to the future of our hospital will best be served with private corporate governance. I believe it is the strengths of the community that is best for our hospital.

Corporate leadership is all the same -- banking, oil and health care. These entities have one main purpose, to make money. This principle brought down the global economic system. The same mind-set that focused on money in banking is also seen in BP's oil corporate system. Corporate leaders always focus on the money. BP's executives do not understand oil production; They understand how to make money. When individuals in the trenches, drilling the wells, speak up about dangers, they are ignored by the money managers at the top. We have oil leaks on the North Slope and destruction in the Gulf of Mexico because these corporate executives ignored those raising alarms. BP's money managers only look for larger profits.

This corporate thinking permeates all industries. Executives in the corporations are basically all the same. They focus on how to make money. These executives in oil and health care do not have backgrounds in the businesses they represent. They think as bankers -- how to make money.

When individuals come forward who work in the industry and raise alarms they are ignored.

I have worked over 40 years in the health care industry. Much like the small investor or oil worker, who raised the alarm in the banking and oil industries, my concerns are ignored.

Whatever happened to health care executives who actually had experience in the delivery of patient care? We are too quick to turn our hospital over to money managers whose primary focus is creating larger profits.

As Alaskans, have we forgotten our independent strength and toughness together as one?

I believe in the independent strength of the people. I do not look to the corporations to save our hospital or nation. It is within us to save the hospital and community from the future.

Ray Southwell, Nikiski



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