My Turn: U.S. health care ills aren’t Tahoe Forest’s |

My Turn: U.S. health care ills aren’t Tahoe Forest’s

Don’t take nation’s health care ills out on Tahoe Forest Hospital

I am an elected member and have served on the Tahoe Forest Hospital District board for the past two years. I have spent a great deal of that time becoming educated on the complex world of health care delivery in this country. Prior to my semi-retirement five years ago, I ran a successful retail business in the North Tahoe-Truckee area for 30 years.

During the course of the current Measure C campaign I have followed the articles and letters to the editor in the Sierra Sun and have come to the conclusion that most of the dialogue expressed by those in opposition to Measure C relates more the frustration of how health care is delivered rather than specific problems within the district.

Unlike most district hospitals, Tahoe Forest Hospital’s day-to-day operations are profitable. We are highly rated by our patients, our staff and our physicians. Unlike most district hospitals, for over 50 years we have been able to reinvest our profits back into our hospital to fund capital improvements. The cost of hospital construction, mandated by the state regulatory agencies, as well as the cost of the complex equipment that hospitals require in the modern world have finally made it necessary for us to ask the taxpayers to assist us in maintaining the quality of care we expect at Tahoe Forest.

We are not alone in making such a request. For years district hospitals throughout this nation have asked their communities for financial assistance in providing quality health care.

Whoever heard of a system where you receive two bills for your hospital stay? The hospital takes your insurance (Tahoe Forest Hospital takes almost all insurance plans in the United States) but the physician does not.- In most cases the physician would like to accept your insurance but the insurance company refuses to reimburse the physician anywhere near the true cost of the procedure.

Whoever heard of a system where insurance companies and the government ” through Medicare and Medi-Cal ” pay a percentage of an arbitrary cost they have assigned as the proper cost of a procedure without regard for the true cost of the service? Those same insurance companies arbitrarily decide if the hospital or physician are “preferred” providers or not, and that determines the insured’s level of insurance reimbursement.

When you have a medical emergency or a debilitating illness, as a district hospital, Tahoe Forest Hospital, its professional staff of highly trained employees and the fine physicians who practice in our community provide excellent patient care. Nobody is turned away. If you are underinsured or uninsured the hospital and the physician often are not paid, or are not adequately paid for that service.-

This is the current way health care is delivered in this country. As a small rural hospital we can do little to alter that delivery system. Our health care professionals and board members are as frustrated as you are about these issues. Please don’t make our hospital suffer because of that frustration.-

Please vote yes on Measure C to maintain the quality of care we expect and deserve in the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee community.-

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