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Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

Something wrong with the scenario

Letter to the Editor


I have waited to comment on the CMC “situation,” as Jess Utz so kindly referred to it; but I can no longer.

I worked at CMC for 10 years and I enjoyed my time there. I helped raise funds for the dream of the new facility to be realized. I am so sorry to see that dream come to a choice, one that should never have been. More administrators to more providers ... well, we got the more administrators, but not the more providers. Something is very wrong with that scenario.

Years ago, Mike Wiltermood, CEO of Coulee Community Hospital said: “You can not have a hospital without good doctors or without good nurses.” He further stated, “And we must always remember, without them, we have no hospital, and we do not have jobs.” Pretty profound, I would say.

I realize administrators of most businesses today are under the impression that as long as the doors stay open on a business “they” are entitled to bonuses in addition to their usually inflated salaries. Again, how sad. Again, without the providers, there is no backbone to the business; if anyone should have the bonus, it should be the provider, the nurse, the supporting staff. That is the morale builder. Then, if there is anything left, the administrator “might” deserve a bonus.

The members of the greater community of the Grand Coulee area are proud of that new facility. They gave money, be it a dollar or $1,000 or more. They have a vested interest in keeping the doors open. They expect to see the hospital “family” to be a part of the community family. When they go to the hospital facility they look for familiar faces, expect to hear voices they recognize, and there’s nothing wrong with that. A community of maybe 5,000 people supports those around them; the family with a sick child, or who had a house burn to the ground, or had a death of a loved one; everyone is connected somehow. Be it through the reservation, the bureau, the school or the hospital. Do our administrators fully understand that there is more to a community hospital than big jobs in suits with bonuses? I hope so.

We have many summer visitors who depend on CMC to provide their care should they have a mishap while visiting in our area. I wonder if they would be as eager to come without the good care of CMC should its doors close. I believe we have elected a good board of hospital directors, and I trust them to do what is best for our hospital and our community. There should not be a CMC “situation” unless it is one of how we can make it even better. With great providers, & nurses & support staff & enough of them to provide the service to the community they have dedicated their lives to.

We’ve had it in the past and can do so again.

Lois Chilton

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Reader Comments

Lloyd Knopp writes:

You have stated this so eloquently. I fully agree That the providers and nursing staff are the backbone of any medical facility. With out them you don't have a medical facility, and this is where CMC has gotten off track. When they started cutting back on providers and nursing staff, under the guise 'it was necessary to save payroll so they could make the monthly mortgage payment' might have worked , till they started adding more administrative positions, necessitating more secretaries and assistants to those secretaries, all of which only add to the 'overhead' and not pay the bills.