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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

By Jesse Utz 

Fight for OUR hospital

Jess Shut Up


I don’t have all the answers. There, I said it. Kids are now smiling and so is my wife. Now, with that being said, I think it is about time I wrote about the big issue in our community, the situation at the hospital. I use the word “situation” because that’s exactly what it is. The thing about a situation is that it can be changed and we usually allow it to happen to get to this point, either knowingly or with closed eyes.

I must be honest, Coulee Medical Center is not where I go for my primary care. I left when a doc I trusted left before. I just felt I had to go with him since he was the only doctor I ever trusted and he had been my doctor as long as I remembered. But with that being said, when I got sick I had no choice but to get some work done at CMC and I have made multiple ER visits for myself and my family. Would I rather have my primary physician right here at home? Of course, but long ago someone, or a board of someones, made a decision to cut some medical staff loose and the cause and effect of that made me follow the doctor, as did many of you. I know this by looking at the faces in his waiting room and seeing Grand Coulee Area faces.

OK, now that the air is clear and you know where I am coming from, we can chat about the current situation. That is, if you’re still reading.

First off, not just the hospital will be affected by the loss of the two professionals we have already lost. Like many of you have already said, the loss of Lovelace and Hughes is a big blow to CMC and to their patients. But it is also a community-wide sucker punch to the gut. In a community that already has seen a mass exodus of great men and women of high integrity and professionalism, this is one more in a long succession of holes punched in our neighborhoods, leaving us searching and asking, why?

They will be missed, but it’s not too late to get up off the canvas and fight back before the next right hook comes in the form of a Castrodale-Chaffey combination that will surely knock us out. Not just our community but Coulee Community Hospital. Remember that name? Before it became Coulee Medical Center, it clearly had community in the title. I’m just saying.

I understand fully that this is a business and it needs to make money to survive. I get it. But there has to be some kind of moral, steadfast structure that allows us to have the piece of mind that, as customers, we will be able to see a provider, lab tech, nurse, x-ray tech and so on that is not disgruntled or overworked to the point of just doing the job to get through the day. That equals the herding of cattle one by one in a little room and moving to the next. Primarily, the docs cannot have, in the back of their minds, thoughts of their next move in an arena in which they seem to be losing. It affects us all no matter how professional they are. In my mind, CMC is not a business about dollars and cents, although I know that’s important to survive, but it’s a business about trust first. I know we trust the doctors! That can not be said about the administration right now. Now matter how you slice it.

OK, so with all that said, now what? Support the board we have voted in. Support the staff that we trust with our care. That means even more people will have to attend these board meetings and even more letters will have to be written to the paper. When we see these doctors and nurses in the community, we need to let them know we are on their side and will stand with them. This is OUR COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, and we want to keep it. With the current administrators or without. I trust that the right decisions, not for business but for community, will be made.

Otherwise, we will be on the ropes, once again, as a community, trying to fill the gaps left by missing neighbors, friends and high moral professionals being forced out of our neighborhoods.

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