I have been extremely disappointed in the Clarion's editorial remarks this last month regarding the changes at Central Peninsula Hospital. I can only assume that such support for something as ridiculous as this joint venture (JV) was, would stem from the fact that CPH has been a large financial contributor to this paper through it's almost daily advertisements.
I don't think this JV idea came about "suddenly," as a response to this year's changing economy, but has been in the works for a long time. I have observed the unnecessary budget cuts and price increases approved by the hospital board the last couple years that have ripened the hospital in preparing for a sale. I have also observed the interactions between the board and the hospital's administration with borough assembly members these couple of years so that it was no surprise to hear of those who voted yes.
I think with term limits and reelections coming up that the board and administration thought this the best time to act, to move forward with their political agenda and vision that is NOT representative of our community's vision.
First, what is the big deal about growth and expansion? It does nothing but feed their ego. There is nothing wrong with being small and staying small, and actually, growth could be the downfall of this hospital. Already CPH has to use their own revenue to pay for the doctors practices they have bought, because the practices can't support themselves. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, lost in the name of growth. We cannot grow faster than our population and stay in the black. Small doesn't need to be temporary; it can be our destination.
Second, we now have a non-elected CPGH Inc. board and an administration that clearly has an exit strategy rather than a commitment strategy. Do we really want a non-elected board calling all the shots when they are just waiting for the right time to jump ship? We have a good thing going here with a borough-owned hospital and we almost gave it away to be someone else's success story. Let's not be the business "success" story that sells out to the highest bidder to make the most money, while thinking only of how to keep the "maximum value" of our hospital. But rather, let's be the community "success" story, working together, as we have in the past, to provide quality and profitable health care, expanding only to meet the needs of the community and not our egos, and pouring our success and profits back into the community where they have come from.
For too long, the board has been focused on who will buy us instead of how to best meet the needs of the community. Now is the time to demand an elected CPGH Inc. board to ensure that the board and the community have a similar vision for "our" hospital. This, editor, is the answer to your question, "what now for our hospital?"
Brenda Trefren, Soldotna
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