If the hospital bond doesn’t pass, we will lose health care workers

 

Dear Editor, 

I completed residency and an additional year of fellowship a little over two years ago. My husband and I had one child at the time. He is from New York. I am from Edmonds. We felt like we could go almost anywhere-it was actually fairly overwhelming to decide where to "settle down". The nationwide shortage of family physicians results in a lot of great opportunities. I trained to practice full scope family medicine-which means that we take care of elderly patients, children, obstetric patients, newborns and everything in between and...we learn who and when to refer to specialists. 

While I was in fellowship training, I received an email that CVCH was looking for someone to practice full scope family medicine-including c-sections in Chelan. Like many of you who have chosen to relocate here-I had vacationed here growing up, at Campbell’s actually. On a trip from Edmonds to Spokane, I drove my husband through Chelan to see if he could live somewhere, "like here". Having roots on Long Island, I really didn't know how he would feel about a small town. Compared to my training institutions, the hospital was much different, but my experience was similar to most of yours, in that, the staff was friendly and eager to help-looking forward at that time to building an up to date facility. 

We considered a few different clinics (including my hometown of Edmonds) which actually boasted a "shiny new clinic". Stevens hospital had been bought out by Swedish and was growing and improving. We chose Chelan. We chose Chelan because it boasts a tight-knit, yet growing community. It boasts the lake and sunshine with modern influence from the West side of the state as well as an up and coming wine and tourism industry. 

When we joked about Costco being only an hour away, Manuel Navarro told us that we would change our minds, that we would get to know the Kellys and want to spend a few more dollars to shop at Kelly's Ace Hardware rather than travel to Home Depot. We would realize that the Red Apple Market has an amazing variety of produce and groceries and that we didn't need to travel outside of Chelan. 

Over the past two years, we have grown to love and feel connected to this community. I think that all of the physicians and hospital staff share a similar sentiment. We are not supposed to wave and acknowledge our relationship with you when we see you on Woodin Avenue in an effort to respect your privacy and legally due to HIPPA but we want to wave and ask, "How are you? How is your mom doing?" When you come to Lake Chelan Community Hospital, you are not a 96 year old with a hip fracture-you are so and so's great-grandpa. Your baby is not a newborn with a cold-she is my son's best friend's little sister. 

Chelan has the charm of family medicine 50-100 years ago with real medical needs and a growing economy. Our specialists at Confluence are fabulous-but Chelan has a need for local health care. I want to believe that those voting no for the new hospital are misinformed, misunderstand the facts, don't have all of the right information. As health care professionals we are concerned for the future of your healthcare in Chelan if the hospital bond doesn't pass. We will lose health care workers. We will be very unlikely to meet the standards and requirements necessary to start a residency program to train more rural physicians. 

Whereas, a new facility will attract high quality nurses and staff and allow us to meet standards to train rural physicians-improving the quality of rural healthcare. This is simply impossible in a stabilize and ship model. 

There has been a decent amount of distortion and misinformation about cost of a new hospital. The cost to local businesses and commerce if we don't build will be higher. A no vote is not a vote for a remodel. A no vote is a vote for an exodus of the quality healthcare we take for granted in this rural community. A ship and stabilize vote is a vote for you to travel to Wenatchee-if not Seattle or Spokane to grieve the death of your loved one far from home. 

A good portion of our patients' don't appreciate an unnecessary helicopter ride when they are already feeling sick-not to mention a bumpy ambulance ride. I delivered my son at Lake Chelan Hospital after training at larger institutions because I trust the physicians and nurses working there. I appreciate that they know and care deeply about my family and I. 

As a physician, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend, and a concerned community member, I urge you to consider the ramifications of a no vote for yourself, your family, your neighbor, your coworker and your community. I implore you to ignore rhetoric and hear the stories and know the facts. I agree with contacting Lake Chelan Hospital or watching the video recording of the debate if you are undecided.

The newhospitalnow website is full of legitimate information. You trust us in the office, please trust us now. We need your help to continue to serve you the best that we can. Please trust us and vote yes.

 

Jennifer Snyder, M.D.

Columbia Valley 

Community Health

Chelan

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