Letters to the Editor

Voting ‘yes’ to hospital district might have changed the picture | Letter to the Editor

I read with interest the concerns expressed by community members at the recent meeting held to discuss the impact of the proposed merger between Highline Medical Center and the Franciscan Health System on the Vashon Health Center. (“Islanders express skepticism over health care merger,” May 1) The reservations voiced by many appear to boil down to the desire to maintain community, organizational and individual autonomy and control.

I would like to point out that island voters had the opportunity to form a local hospital district in 2006. The proposed hospital district would have helped preserve the independent operation of the Vashon Health Center as well as providing support for other essential health services on the island. However, the proposition was rejected in the special election, in large part because the elected Hospital District Board of Commissioners would have had the authority to levy a property tax. As a result, we must now depend on decisions made by organizations that may or may not care what Vashon residents think or want. As one meeting speaker succinctly stated, “We really need the Franciscans to bail this clinic out. If the clinic folds, where are people going to go?”

As the old saying goes, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

— Susan Doerr

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