An open letter to the Lake Chelan Community Hospital (LCCH) Board
Three years ago when LCCH Board of Directors was seeking public approval for the current hospital bond, there was community opposition. The opposing voices stated the following:
1. The new facility would be too grand and too expensive.
2. A better concept for this small community is to have a first class emergency center which would stabilize the patients and then ship them to a larger facility (“stabilize and ship”).
3. The new facility would be insolvent no later than 7 years after it was built.
4. The political landscape meant that existing government funding upheavals were likely.
In the past three years the LCCH has replaced the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with both temporary and permanent leaders. It is encouraging that the current CEO has publicly acknowledged that:
1. The LCCH is about $5 million in arrears.
2. To have any opportunity to build a new hospital before the government loan for $22 million expires in spring 2021, the hospital will have to close the clinic and sanctuary NOW!
I sense that the LCCH Board and CEO are presently reconsidering carefully all the options and the best path forward. Please revisit the concept of “Stabilize and Ship” of emergency patients from a quality emergency care center instead of a complete hospital with all services. The Lake Chelan valley must be able to respond to local emergency health care needs (i.e., car accidents, heart attacks, falls and broken bones, birthing babies, marine accidents, etc.). Once the Emergency Room personnel have stabilized the patient then the patient could be shipped to a larger facility.
Embracing the “Stabilize and Ship” concept will allow for the construction of a more modest facility, within the hospital’s means, which will meet the basic needs of the community. It is encouraging to know that you are re-evaluating the current unsatisfactory situation before rushing to consume government and local funds for a facility destined to fail.