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Letter to the Editor:
It was with great dismay and a very heavy heart that I read Commissioner Edward’s recent remarks to us via her letter in the Grant County Beat. I want to attempt to express how disjointed, confusing and contradictory it was but first express how disappointing and wrong her complete dismissal of everything good and everyone’s work at our hospital. Not one mention to acknowledge or thank what our administrative team currently in place and our dedicated caregivers do every day. That was perhaps the most glaring omission and pretty unforgivable. Having worked for the hospital for ten years during some of the most difficult times, the disregard is striking and speaks volumes. This is not the voice of a partner but an opponent and calls in to question the ability to make good decisions for this community.
I just read your letter to the editor in the Grant County Beat. It was thoughtful and balanced. You are obviously working very hard at your job, something all of us, even if not in your district, appreciate.
You will never need my endorsement, but you got it anyway.
This letter is an attempt to clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding the hospital issue. By state statute, the Board of Trustees of Gila Regional Medical Center (GRMC) is not accountable to any entity, including the Grant County Board of Commissioners (GCBOC). The lack of a path for accountability and transparency is worsened by the New Mexico Open Meetings Act, which does not require hospitals to conduct their business in public. Under New Mexico’s Hospital Funding Act, the Commission appoints trustees, but the Act specifies that, “after their appointment, none of the members of the hospital governing board shall be removed except for cause specified in a written charge and after full public hearing on the charge.” In effect, the Commission has no recourse to address mismanagement – even when it threatens to bankrupt the hospital – other than to consider changing the ownership structure of the hospital.
The Commission instigated a partnership evaluation process primarily due to four major issues, 1) ever shrinking days of cash on hand, 2) the mill levy not passing, 3) how the cancer center issue was handled and 4) the amount of money it cost and is still costing to properly implement Meditech (electronic medical record system).
Zach Taylor's July 8 "Keeping you in the loop" edition of his Immigration Matters column in the Grant County Beat requires rebuttal.
I understand Mr. Taylor is a retired Border Patrol officer. I thank him for his service to our country in that capacity. However, I think columns like this are a disservice to the cause of civil and enlightened commentary of public matters.
His ending statement is perhaps the one I agree with most: "Of course that view depends on the objectivity of the reporter as much as anything else these days."
Most rural hospitals in New Mexico have been leased or sold to for profit institutions some years previously. The present board of trustees have made some mistakes in the financial and professional management of the hospital which has resulted in the current financial difficulty. This has happened before.
When I was on the hospital board, about twenty years ago, we made some of the same mistakes and had some financial issues, but not as serious as the hospital has had recently. There is a new Chief Executive Officer and a new Chief Financial Officer. I understand the new CFO has a very good background in the management of the financial aspects of hospitals.
The Mimbres Valley Health Action League is a federal 501c3 organization founded over ten ( 10 ) years ago with the purpose of working to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for the people in the Mimbres region. We recognize that a year ago, the situation regarding our hospital was very different from today. To that end, we are writing to express our support for our hospital remaining an independent entity that offers quality healthcare to all of us based on the following facts.
Gila Regional Medical center finally has the administrative team in place that has driven the necessary changes. We know these things to be true:
When something gets sold, generally the seller gets paid. Yet there has been no transparency about what payment will be made to Grant County if they decide to sell the hospital. Nor has there been discussion of how any money would be used. Would the payout be used for improvement of the health of the public? Do the Commissioners plan a physical project?
I am on record as being against the sale of the hospital to a for-profit entity. In my 50 years as a Registered Nurse, I have worked for both for-profit and non-profit hospitals. While GRMC belongs to us, we can assume that decisions will be made for the benefit of Grant and surrounding counties. No such assurance can be made if it is privately owned. LifePoint, the most frequently mentioned suitor, is a holding company, not a medical administrationcompany, so we would be presumably handed off to a subsidiary, about which the public knows nothing. By the way, googling LifePoint brought me to a poorly functioning website, and a financial advisor's assessment that this company has the fastest decline in stock price of it's comparable group. I don't find either reassuring.
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