Del Norte Tea Party Patriots

Liberty in the Northwest

24 July

Doctors Fight for Local Hospital Control

Over 160 citizens of Del Norte County got together to listen to a panel of local doctors and others about the critical issue of local hospital control.  Almost 30 years ago our local hospital Seaside was purchased by Sutter Hospital system and renamed Sutter Coast Hospital.  It was later moved onto donated land onto Washington Blvd., but retained the name Sutter Coast Hospital.  Since the inception it has been overseen by a local board of directors, but today Sutter Hospitals wants to place our hospital under a regional board located in the bay area.

The panel of doctors lead by Dr. Duncan current Chief of Staff at Sutter Coast,  Doctors Davis and Caldwell brought to light what will happen if local control is lost.  The primary problem is loss of control over our local hospital to a regional board that does not know or understand our needs.  The second is the direction Sutter is taking our local hospital and that is towards becoming a “critical access status” hospital.

Critical Access Status is a federal program designed to give better access to medical services in rural area.  The idea is solid, with federal funding provide the money needed to take a limited service hospital or clinic up to a 25 bed facility and improve service to that area.  Now Sutter sees this as a way to fund our Sutter Coast Hospital and improve their bottom line and all it takes is to take the 74 bed facility down to a 25 bed facility.  This will of course mean the loss of service and jobs to Del Norte County.  Sutter did with in Lake County and their 600 employees were cut in half.  Lake County is now under served, but Sutter is making more money.  Sutter has not lost a dime since taking over Sutter Coast, but more is more.

Loss of local control will only speed this approach to critical access status and harm all those who live in Del Norte and Curry Counties.  We need and deserve to have a hospital that serves the needs of the community.  We want one that allows for long term care and recovery.  Under critical access average stay is limited to 4 days.  This means we will not have doctors that specialize in surgeries that require many recovery days in the hospital staying and working in our community.  They will have to live in and around a hospital that allows them to work and see their patents as they recover.

The Sutter Hospital in Lake County now ships out patents daily in order to stay critical access, but unlike Lake County their nearest hospital is only 30 minutes away, ours is 90 minutes or more.

I have attached the link to the meeting  and you can listen to the doctors as they explain it in their own words.  We must stand up and fight for what is best for our community and let Sutter know that we want local control and no “Critical Access Status”

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