Opinion: Porter’s head showed insensitivity to community

I am concerned that new Porter Medical Center president and CEO Lynn Boggs shared so generic an introductory letter, one that could apply to any “small, rural community hospital” (Addison Independent, Jan. 11, 2016). I guess it’s important to fill in the blanks about Boards and Strategic Plans, the need for Cutting Expenses and Generating New Revenue Sources. Heaven knows we could use a few more Mission Statements.
But having practiced at Porter for 20 years and served on her boards for 10, I must tell Ms. Boggs that she has much to learn about her new community. I am puzzled that a 14-paragraph article about Porter’s future could include just three lines about its staff.
I love Porter Hospital. Every time I’ve been a patient, I’ve received excellent care delivered by a staff totally invested in my medical and personal needs, and those of my family. Porter, its staff and volunteers, practice well above the Standard of Care, and are the only reason Porter might survive “the very challenging conditions ahead.”
“Payment models for healthcare services” will always short-change hospitals. Bet on it. Eventually, efforts at containing medical costs will come to a single-payer system devoid of plundering insurance companies, drug companies and the myriad of businesses that peck at the system like birds on road-kill. Groups of citizens will get a single payment a year for essential medical services. The groups will bargain for elective services by becoming healthier.
It’s been my observation that most people get two important health decisions in their lifetime. Do you smoke? How much do you weigh? After that it’s all about genes and luck.
In medical care, survival is success. Porter will succeed if it can continue to attract excellent physicians and nurses. To attract good people you need a good hospital and a great place to live. Porter must improve the health of college students to convince families to send their kids here. In the area of college mental health we need to do more than treat their overdoses.
Porter must improve the health of the service area. It’s the right thing to do.
Patrick Stine, MD

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