We’ll keep our own hospital, thanks

I too read with dismay Michael Billings thoughts on consolidating the three county hospital districts. Maybe he’s right, but I’m not sure it would be fair to expect the people in mid-county to have to drive to Tonasket to be treated at North Valley Hospital.

It might make sense though — patients from Omak and north could travel to Tonasket which would be centralized between Oroville and Omak and those from Okanogan and south could utilize the hospital in Brewster. The hospitals in Tonasket and Brewster could then split the money that once went to Mid-Valley Hospital.

I’m being facetious of course, but it’s not much worse than Mid-Valley Hospital Administrator Billings self-serving comments came across to many of us in North Okanogan County. We might have disagreements about just how we are going to accomplish what we want with our hospital in Tonasket, but it is still our hospital and the vast majority of us support it.

Why, would anyone living in Oroville or the Okanogan Highlands want to have to be transported twice as far to get treatment? As my father used to say if you’re going to get treated for something they can’t handle at Tonasket you might as well keep going all the way to Wenatchee or even Spokane.

There should probably be a less competitive and more cooperative atmosphere amongst our local hospitals. However, planning and sharing of resources is one thing, but making North Valley Hospital into some sort of satellite or triage for Mid-Valley would be a mistake. A lot of us rely on our hospital for the best in medical care. It is also a major source of jobs for our area and a big part of the local economy.

We in the north county are a proud lot, we enjoy having some sort of local control over our schools, our city governments and our hospital. We’ve been fighting the ‘Mid-County is everything’ attitude for decades… I couldn’t imagine what would happen if our north end hospital combined with the one in Omak. There’s a reason we live and work where we do, we like it better.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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