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By Lou Marzeles

Herrera Beutler at KVH, hospital plans physical therapy center


Lou Marzeles

CONGRESSWOMAN VISITS: Above, U.S Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (right) talks with staff at the hospital Monday as CEO Leslie Hiebert listens.

The process of enacting law for healthcare in this country has itself been very unhealthy lately-that's a conclusion of U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who visited Klickitat Valley Health (KVH) on Monday, though she also emphasized she maintained a positive attitude toward eventual outcomes.

Predictably she was asked about the Republican healthcare plan recently voted in to replace Obamacare and which she voted against, among the few Republicans who did so.

"It was rushed," Herrera Beutler said. "It's going to the Senate now, where it could end up being rewritten." She stated she was in contact with some senators urging them to allow a process to accommodate something carefully and better considered. "Take some time, take six months," she said.

Among the issues with the House plan as passed was the issue of pre-existing conditions, a topic that has haunted every effort to grapple with healthcare, and the trend toward narrowing insurance options around the country-including Klickitat County-reducing the number and kinds of plans available to choose from. "It gets very frustrating," Herrera Beutler said. "A lot of what's happening is shoring something up here, putting a finger in the dam there." The result for her remains an unsettled and unacceptable jumble too quickly thrown together. She stressed that the healthcare legislative process is still unfolding. "And I'm still very hopeful," she added. "I think something can work."

Lou Marzeles

The basement space at KVH where its new physical therapy center will be located.

Herrera Beutler's visit to KVH was arranged just a little over a week before, when she made it known she would be in the area and was willing to visit, with healthcare high on her list of key priorities.

Last week at a Chamber of Commerce business lunch meeting at the hospital, CEO Leslie Hiebert and marketing head James Semlor presented floor plans and details for KVH's new physical therapy center. To be located in the basement of the building, the center will serve KVH patient needs-"We have no interest in competing with commercial physical wellness businesses, and we can't anyway," Semlor stressed. Work begins on the area in a few weeks, and the center has an anticipated opening time of fall this year.


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