Consolidation is not an option

Dear Editor,

I am rather disappointed, Mr. Billing, that you did not claim ownership to your title as Administrator of Mid Valley Hospital in last week’s editorial in the Omak Chronicle titled “Consider Consolidation.” The readers would then have more clearly recognized that the article was written from the competitive edge point of view rather than having consideration for the medical needs of the communities in the North Okanogan Valley.

Statistics reflect the fact that for every six miles between the patient and the hospital the risk of death increases by 1%. For those patients who live in Oroville, Chesaw, or Loomis and even Tonasket, consolidation decreases their chance for survival in an emergent situation.

As the Health Information Manager and Medical Staff Coordinator for North Valley Hospital for the past seven years, I work directly with our physicians who admit patients to and care for in this hospital. I can attest to the fact that those physicians are truly some of the finest you will ever encounter. The compassion and quality of care they provide to their patients is surpassed by none, regardless of the state of the facility. Their commitment to North Valley Hospital is reflected by their continuing efforts to recruit those new physicians who believe in providing the same high standards of patient care as theirs. This is done by recruiting only those physicians who truly want to practice medicine in a rural setting, who desire this lifestyle, and who want to become an integral part of the surrounding communities.

North Valley Hospital Board of Commissioners is also committed to renewing our equipment. Radiology and laboratory equipment is continually purchased to keep up with the rapid and ever-changing technology to better serve the diagnostic capability for our physicians. The commitment for Quality Improvement is done by staying abreast of new regulatory processes and procedures that strengthen the environment for safe health care.

The labor shortage is not an issue as you stated. North Valley Hospital has a strong nursing staff that is embedded in the community in all departments, including acute care, emergency services, obstetrics and surgery. And, certainly the specialty physicians shared between Mid Valley Hospital and North Valley Hospital are beneficial to us all, wouldn’t you agree?

So in ending, to you Mr. Billing, it may appear that North Valley Hospital is only “applying a Band-Aid,” but to me it is making an expensive, committed effort to improve the facility to better serve the physicians and patients. I might add that the hospital bond was approved by our hospital district voters with a resounding 72% “Yes” vote! Without this hospital in this location, our patient’s health would be severely compromised.


Willa Bedient

HIM Manager & Medical Staff Coordinator

Proudly serving North Valley Hospital