Del Norte Tea Party Patriots

Liberty in the Northwest

20 June

Tea Party Host Local Hospital Control Townhall

On June 12th the Del Norte Tea Party Patriots hosted a townhall to allow local doctors to talk about issues dealing with Sutter Coast Hospitals move towards a regional board.  Currently the hospital is overseen by a local board, but in recent months the Sutter Hospital system wants to take over control and move it to a regional one.  This will mean a big change in what happens here in with our local hospital.

Doctors Duncan, Caldwell and Davis along with other speakers talked about what has been occuring around this issue.  One of the large fears is not only loosing local control, but the apparent slide towards attempting to make this hospital a Critical Access Hospital.  This is a special designation for a hospital that services a rural area.  The intent of this federal program is to improve medical access to rural areas with better federal funding.  But Sutter sees this as a way to improve profits.

While Sutter told locals that they are doing everything they can to improve medical access and get doctors into our area on the one hand, with the other they have been moving toward “Critical Access”.  They have reduced rooms in the hospital a 69 bed hospital and by reducing staff and limiting admissions they have reduced their cencus.  Now when asked they can show the numbers are already at the “Criticial Access” level of 25 beds or less and that the average hospital days is less then four.  They have been setting this up for years and now what to tell us this is normal.

The doctors informed us that Sutter has never lost money in running this local hospital, but that “Critical Access” will not improve care locally, but drive it further away from the community.  When Lake County Sutter Hospital did the same thing they now ship 3 to 5 a day out to other hospitals.  Now for them it is just a 30 to 40 minute ride, but for us it means Medford, Redding, San Francisico or Sacramento.  As medicare is still the primary provider Medford is out for transfers.  This puts a huge burden on many locally.

In addition those doctors that treat many for orthopedics, heart surgery and many others will not live or practice medicine where there is no hospital to admit and keep their patents through recovery.  This means we will loose importants jobs needed and wanted here in Del Norte and Curry Counties.  Medical jobs and those support services needed by them are some of the best paying jobs in our area.

We need to work with local government and those on the local Sutter Board to say “no” to regional control and “no” to “Criticial Access”.  We want a full service hospital with a staffed E.R., Acute Care Unit, Surgery, and able to hold patents for weeks not days locally.  We want better care not worse care.  The Federal program was designed to improve rural medicine, not to take a 69 bed hospital and by deception make it a 25 bed one in order to make more money.

You can listen to the whole town hall at Sutter Coast Hospital Regional vs Local Control Town Hall

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