GILA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
The purpose of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders. Corporations are not inherently good, nor are they inherently bad. As is my wont, I listened to NPR’s Morning Edition on Monday, April 9, which had a segment about a man in Fort Myers, Florida who had two CT scans done about three months apart (Google NPR and read the transcript). The first one cost less than $300 and the second one cost almost $9,000. The first one was done by a private imaging center, Summerlin; the second one was done at Gulf Coast Medical Center Hospital in Fort Myers, where most of the hospitals, including this one, and other health care facilities are owned by Lee Health Corporation. With a virtual monopoly this corporation charged what the market can bear.
Here in Silver City, the Gila Regional Medical Center has a virtual monopoly on health care. If our hospital is sold to a private for-profit corporation, what can we expect? Considering that a corporation’s main purpose is to make as much money as possible for its shareholders, fees may well increase significantly. The quality of service may diminish from its current four-star rating to one or two stars if more money for shareholders can be generated by doing so.
What concerns me is that the county commissioners have hired Juniper for $10,000 a month to evaluate the hospital and that by August we, the people of Grant County, will have invested $120,000 into this endeavor. In my experience, it’s hard to imagine a situation in which this amount of money is invested and then at the end you just say, “Oh well, what the heck, we’ll just keep the hospital as is” and then do nothing. However, this is exactly what needs to happen. Our hospital has had some financial difficulties, but with the new administration they seem to be turning things around. Let’s give them a chance. Let’s not sell our hospital to a for-profit corporation.