The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

This is the right time to invest in new hospital


Last updated 7/18/2013 at Noon

A new public hospital is a weighty investment requiring careful consideration rather than swift emotional reactions or knee jerk negative responses.

This is an expensive long-term investment we all must give careful, rational consideration to.

A few key questions should be considered. Are we willing to pay what it will take to ensure the best possible care locally in a medical emergency? If we don’t invest in a new hospital, will millions in renovations to the existing hospital be the best investment of taxpayer dollars? Will the renovation of the old building for $9 million eliminate the issues of aging and deterioration, or will this be a short-term fix?

Ultimately we think our money is better spent on building a new hospital capable of today’s modern medicine.

When Jim Parrish served as administrator here a decade ago, he spent his tenure planning for a new hospital. He recognized then the facility was aging and advancing beyond its structural and technical capabilities. Ten years later the facility is atrocious.

Receiving quality healthcare is possible at the current East Adams Rural Hospital. Guaranteeing the best possible quality of care with the latest technology is not.

The building and its infrastructure are unreliable at best. One example: The electrical system is teetering on failure. The electrician’s message is clear — do not plug another instrument into an outlet. The state’s message crystal clear: fix it, all of it, or else.

Many years ago the communities chose a public hospital model rather than inviting a healthcare corporation in to operate the facility. Collectively we made a decision to take financial responsibility for maintaining a hospital in East Adams County.

Our investment in the current facility has long run its course. The building has given us 60 good years, but is feeble, worn and nowhere near meeting modern day code and energy efficiency standards.

Advances in modern medicine are light years ahead of the current facility. Computer technology has left this hospital in the dark ages. When it was built 60 years ago, the facility wasn’t designed for the computer age. Medicine was delivered in a much different way back then.

The patient and public bathrooms weren’t constructed with walkers and wheelchairs in mind. The facility fails to comply with the modern day Americans with Disabilities Act. Doesn’t it boggle your mind that a hospital doesn’t have wheelchair accessible bathrooms?

If you have a heart attack, your loved one is injured in a farm equipment accident or your teen involved in a car wreck, they need immediate care and stabilization. Such emergency care needs to be done here as quickly as possible to diminish the extent of injury and erase the potential for death. Those lifesaving efforts should be performed in the best possible facility with the latest technology.

Healthcare isn’t something to scrimp on. When you or your loved one is in need of immediate medical care, you’re going to want the best, not the most fiscally conservative care. The hospital district needs to spend wisely and design carefully to ensure it can protect a new investment by taxpayers, because the investment needs to be made.

As communities we chose to take financial responsibility for a public hospital district. For 60 years the current facility has served us well, but it no longer can meet the needs of modern healthcare.

It’s time to collectively vote in favor of constructing a new hospital to ensure our families and their future families can be properly cared for right here at home.


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