Letter to the editor
Gaisford addresses city council vote on Integris clinic
September 4, 2016
On Sept. 19 the Alva City Council is going to consider whether to permit or not permit a major hospital system to open a physician clinic in Alva. Our city leaders must look beyond all the distractions surrounding this issue and not gamble the future of our community and our healthcare on the empty promises of an entity which has outright ignored all efforts by our local hospital to bring their services to work with and in our local hospital.
We need our hospital, its beds, its emergency room, its technology, and all of its services and providers for the health and safety of our people and our economy. We need more providers and services working with the local hospital to make the most of our community investment in the hospital.
We don’t need outside entities siphoning patients out of our local healthcare system. We don’t need outside entities taking healthcare dollars out of our community and away from our hospital. We don’t need any providers who aren’t willing to work in and with our local hospital.
Integris says they want to work with Share Medical Center, yet they have had an offer on the table since last October to skip this permit process and bring their providers to the hospital, and Integris has not responded. They have not so much as even acknowledged the offer; they have been completely unresponsive. They have not said yes, no, “thanks, but no thanks”, no nothing. And this past spring, when the president of Integris Health was asked about SMC’s offer, face to face, by the SMC CEO, the response was, “I’ll get back with you.” But that hasn’t happened either.
Again, they say they want to work with Share Medical Center, but their application states that they won’t seek staff privileges at the hospital or make formal transfer arrangements with the hospital. They say they don’t need such commitments to make their clinic work. I suppose that is true since they have a perfectly capable hospital an hour away which will gladly take as many healthcare dollars as they can from our community. They have no interest in what is best for our patients or our community.
Share Medical Center is our citizens’ hospital. Our citizens built it. We are paying for it. We own it.
Do we really want to gamble the millions of dollars we’ve invested in a hospital that we desperately need on a nine to five, Monday through Friday clinic that doesn’t need our hospital?