Why I support the new hospital district
First my disclaimer. I’m Tom Quigg, a real estate broker in Grays Harbor for more than 20 years. The communications official for Grays Harbor Community Hospital is David Quigg. He is the son of my first cousin. I looked it up, and according to two sources we are “first cousins, once removed.” We don’t socialize and have never discussed hospital operations.
Please let me tell you a couple of reasons why I’m voting for the creation of the hospital districts as proposed.
The public needs a voice in how the hospital operates and the services it provides. Especially in the currently under-served areas such as the North Beaches and South Beaches. Some say the beaches should vote “no” on the hospital district, and then drive a harder bargain to be enticed to join. Drawing a line in the sand serves no purpose and only causes more hard feelings. True leadership is to join together now for a common goal. Coupled with a little statesmanship, this will get the area served quicker and will promote long-term cooperation. Some have said we should let the existing hospital declare bankruptcy, and then sell the assets to a private hospital. Bad idea. It wasn’t too long ago the Providence Hospital System pulled out of the former St. Joseph Hospital (now East Campus) in Aberdeen. In this issue of The Vidette, Senator Jim Hargrove points out that nearly all rural areas in the state are served by public hospitals. The reason is obvious. Private hospitals want to be where the greatest profit potential exists, which is not in rural areas.
Finally, some say the new hospital district will increase our taxes. Senator Hargrove says that is not the case. State leaders have been advocating a public hospital district for years. The senator points out that just the simple act of forming the public hospital district will increase state and federal funding for Medicaid to the point where it will completely remove the current annual deficit, including debt service, “without raising any property taxes.”
We cannot run the risk of failure of the hospital. If we don’t pass the vote for the district now, who knows how long the argument will continue. Let me tell you one thing I’ve observed. Uncertainty in the local economy is a leading factor in lowering the value of real estate. Having a high-quality, stable, well-funded hospital weighs heavily on the decision of individuals to relocate to our community.
Continuing without the stability of a public hospital could greatly prolong any recovery of real estate prices. I hope you will join me in voting “Yes” for the formation of the public hospital district as it is proposed. Working together is the best opportunity we have to bring Grays Harbor back to the community it once was.