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What’s happened to VVH?

Locations: Letters Published

Dear Editor:

Ran into Dr. Greg Feinsinger at the Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist church’s chili cookoff.

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“I want you to write a letter,” Feinsinger said,”about what’s happened to Valley View Hospital.”

“You mean since the Mennonites gave up control?” I asked.

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“Yeah,” Feinsinger replied,”Back when they weren’t so focused on making money.”

Sorry Greg, I can’t be too critical of Valley View after two week-long stays, a ten-week outpatient stint, and frequent visits to the emergency room and imaging department. I got mostly first class care.

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I’ve been particularly impressed with the nursing staff. One of them who had experience at Billings in Chicago and Mayo’s in Phoenix said, “This is the best staff I’ve ever worked with.” They work as a team. No goats. No heros. Everybody pitches in.

As for the opulent, five star hotel accommodations, single occupancy rooms, fireplaces, windows with mountain views, I found it exactly what I needed. I was very depressed during my hospital stays. I had cellulitis in my right ankle and I was convinced they were gonna amputate. I was already missing a left foot. The surroundings and some very sympathetic nurses got me through the crisis.

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The only exception to quality care I can think of is a physical therapist who didn’t listen to me and caused an injury that resulted in a three-month stay at the Heritage Park Care Center. That’s how I ended up in Carbondale, so it all worked out for the best.

The fact remains, Valley View is the most expensive hospital in the state. That doesn’t matter to Medicare recipients or the wealthy, but it’s a great hardship for younger middle class families, a growing number of which are uninsured thanks to the federal government’s repeal of the individual mandate. They have to decide whether to get needed health care or put food on the table.

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The fact that Valley View is a nonprofit is a joke. They make lotsa money. Every time they have one of their frequent expansions, they don’t float a bond issue. They pay for it cash on the barrelhead. Valley View’s CEO, Gary Brewer, makes over $1 million per year.

I see your point, Greg. Valley View should do more for the indigent and uninsured, but it’s still a top medical facility.

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Fred Malo Jr.