Time to ask questions

Dear Editor:

Re: Closure of the North Valley Assisted Living Facility, We, the citizens of North Valley Hospital District #4, have just had the wool pulled over our eyes! About a month ago, the hospital board and administration publicly asked the people to share some thoughts about how to get the assisted living facility into a profitable, or at least break even, state. As a result, there was a community meeting held that was attended by approximately 40 concerned citizens. From this meeting, a Concerned Citizens Committee was formed and a meeting was set to meet with the hospital administration’s committee members on Jan. 4, 2013. At this meeting, many ideas were shared with two Board members and Senior Leadership, and it seemed that some progress was made so another meeting was scheduled for two weeks later, Jan. 18th.

However, on Jan. 10, 2013 at the regular NVH Board Meeting, a recommendation was announced at the end of that meeting that the assisted living facility would be closed effective March 31, 2013. This recommendation was passed by the hospital board with no discussion or comment. This quick action will hardly allow for resident placement elsewhere and basically put 30 of our pioneer elders, family members and disabled out on the street.

This facility was built on a bond measure which specified that the funds would be used only for the assisted living facility, and furniture and fixtures. This bond was to have been paid off in 2010. However, the hospital board, in their infinite wisdom, has extended and rewritten the bond so it will not be paid off until 2022. If this bond was paid as originally scheduled, we, the taxpayers, would not be paying the between $350K and $400K each year required to pay this off, and the assisted living facility would be profitable. As a fact, according to the hospital’s own financial projection, the Long Term Care Division of NVHD#4 will be profitable in 2013 while the Hospital Division will continue to have losses.

When are the people of this district going to say “enough is enough?” The hospital board and administration management and operations of entities such as the Tonasket and Oroville Clinics (opened and closed) and the Espresso and snack bar (currently losing money), and the failed policies of the ACES insurance program are good examples of failed practices, along with many others.

We are submitting this letter because we are concerned about the residents who currently occupy the NVH Assisted Living Facility. They will be put at risk by this Administrative and Board action. The least you can do is to take an interest in what is happening in our hospital district and what agenda they have for a building that comes with an upfront cost of at least $400K per year to you as taxpayers. Stand up and ask some questions of our hospital board members and the administration! Find out what is going on and hold those responsible for our hospital accountable for the actions they take.

This Okanogan County and North Valley Hospital District has always taken care of our own; our elderly family, our pioneers and our disabled, so please be concerned enough to get off your duff and ask questions!

Thank you.

Concerned Citizens Committee

of the NVH Assisted Living

Don Atchison, Chairman