Let's not let hospital administrators bully us into decision

October 11, 2003|by Tara Bowers, Maugansville

To the editor:

First of all I would like to say that the Washington County Hospital is a great place to work. The benefits are great, the coworkers are great. I am not an employee myself, but have relatives and friends who are. Unfortunately, the administration of the hospital could use a great deal of improvement.

There are 19 members of the hospital board of directors. Three are doctors and the rest are local businesspeople.

None of these 16 people actually participate in the clinical setting of the hospital. Why not have a clinical board of directors? Certainly, nurses, CNAs, unit clerks, dietary and environmental hourly employees know more about the operations of the hospital than any of these persons, including the doctors. If you want to see a more efficient, cost-effective hospital, just ask these people for suggestions.

James Hamill has been flooding the employees with literature trying to gain support for the new hospital. Many employees are against the relocation of the hospital. These are some of the points he is trying to get across:


1. He states that the current location will not meet quality healthcare and safety needs. Does this mean that current patients are not getting quality care, nor are they safe while there?

2. He want the operating rooms and the critical care unit close to each other, If you take a trip to the second floor of the hospital, you will see that ICU is right across the hall from the OR. How much closer is necessary?

3. The ER is to expand to 53 rooms to provide easier access for EMS and the public. No matter how many rooms the ER has, the public is going to access from one location.

4. Zoned parking for all. Hello! What is that concrete parking garage and that huge lot off of Mill Street for?

5. Single rooms for all patients. Currently there are two full wings of the hospital not being used, and one wing is a nursing home facility. If you do away with half of the conference rooms and move the administration offices to Pangborn Hall, where there is also a lot of wasted space, along with utilizing the wings that are now closed, every patient could have a large private room now.

There are many "points" he tries to make, with the implication that the current hospital does not have these things. If you read his recent letter to the editor and check in to most points, you will discover that the current hospital has all of these things. A far as technology, it does not take a $163 million building to keep up with the marvels of modern medicine. If that were the case, we would need a new building every year.

The critical care wing of the hospital is only 20 years old and has three floors. When it was built, it was stated that it was structurally sound enough to hold eight floors, which means that five more floors can be added to the structure. I am not sure, but the parking garage could probably be built up also. If the critical care wing were to be expanded to eight floors, then the oldest wing of the hospital could then be torn down and presto, there would more space to add on.

Please do not let the antics of the hospital administration fool you. Washington County Hospital provides the best care now and will continue with that quality care at its current location. If a new hospital is built, they will continue to burn medical waste at the current location, and a huge amount of taxpayer money will be spent on new roads and improvements. Yes, no matter where the money comes from, whatever agency, it is still funded by taxpayer money.

Please help keep the cost of healthcare in Washington County to a minimum. Support the expansion of the current hospital and oppose the building of a new one.

Now the hospital is asking employees to decide which benefits they can most do without, because they have to cut costs. Why not start at the top?

Tara Bowers

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