The bond doesn’t make sense

I just got my Klickitat Valley Health bond measure postcard. KVH does many things well. But the proposed bond to upgrade its hospital acute care capabilities with more modern private rooms, including two “larger semi-private rooms that can be converted to an emergency ICU,” two operating rooms and expanded “advanced surgeries” to include “joint replacements,” and add 15 “Long Term Care” nursing home beds, may not be one of them. KVH argues these improvements are needed for future growth.

Once upon a time Goldendale had a nursing home with a couple dozen beds. It proved financially unviable and closed. KVH built an assisted living facility, but it too proved insolvent and now serves as the Family Practice Clinic and office space for additional administrative staff.

In the early 2000s a new hospital idea was presented to the community by KVH and the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce. Ultimately instead of a new hospital, we only got a new lobby, a larger ER and imaging departments, and a huge unfinished lower patient care floor used for storage. Now KVH wants another bite at the rest of the “new hospital” apple, and our tax dollars will again be needed to pay for it. But the reasons presented for the new addition seem to have some holes in them.

According to the State, KVH has 25 licensed hospital beds, 10 of which are “semi-intensive care.” How many acute care in-patients does the hospital average—maybe four or five a day? This takes an equal minimum number of nursing and support staff and a “hospitalist” to take care of them. Couldn’t KVH convert the existing double-bed occupancy rooms to single-bed occupancy by just taking out a bed like other facilities do? Wouldn’t fresh paint and new flooring be more affordable than construction of an entirely new patient care wing? And if they really want more modern patient rooms (and two new surgical suites), why not move PT to the old clinic building? The huge lower floor could then be converted to the new patient rooms and OR, which are conveniently close to needed modern infrastructure, the ER and diagnostic imaging, and serviced by a large and currently unused patient elevator, as was originally intended.

Long-term nursing home care for 15 people out of hundreds who qualify doesn’t seem to fix much, especially when adult family homes have made up for the lack of nursing homes across the country. And KVH already uses its surplus hospital beds as “skilled nursing facility / swing beds.”

A few people may need a relatively rare once-in-a-lifetime “advanced” orthopedic surgery—why do you want to everyone to pay thousands of property tax dollars for “local” advanced surgical services at a small community hospital (in addition to health insurance premiums and/or deductibles) just so you can have “local convenience”? For less than $50 in gas, you could get the same advanced surgical services at larger facilities by personnel who perform these complex cutting-edge procedures daily. As numerous studies show, frequent practice really does make a difference in quality of care—that’s why we have advanced cardiac, stroke, and trauma centers.

Bob Yoesle



It's complete nonsense

So many people are willing to make wild assertions that several of Gov. Jay Inslee’s actions during the pandemic have been unconstitutional (some state, sometimes federal). Wild claims such as Inslee instituting unjust laws are ignorant and just complete nonsense! These assertions are based on what? On Sherriff Songer’s uninformed say so? On Fox News’ disinformation? Or two-year old mentality: “You can’t make me!” No Covid-related laws have even been proposed by Inslee. And if had done so, the legislature enacts new laws, not the governor.

Based on the accusations, I’m reasonably certain these assertions are not based on even a reading knowledge of either constitution, let alone an in-depth knowledge of constitutional law.

Here’s your chance to read, understand, think for yourself, and apply critical thinking skills to Inslee’s and the Washington State Department of Health’s actions during the Covid-19 pandemic:

Washington State Constitution:

The current Secretary of Health was appointed by Inslee. The Secretary of Health enforces all laws created for the protection of public health and all rules established by the State Board of Health. This includes the common-sense rules instated to maximize Washington residents’ safety during the pandemic.

Inslee didn’t make any laws. He just followed constitutionally designated procedures, which includes appointing a Secretary of Health, who, as all appointees, was confirmed by the Washington State Senate.

Steve Heitmann

White Salmon