I would like to comment on two recent articles from your Aug. 14 Free Press regarding health care services on the Camas Prairie.

The first article outlines the ambitious and creative plan for Kootenai Health to acquire St. Mary’s Hospital and CVHC/ The article also presents St. Mary’s five-million-dollar expansion of their Kamiah clinic. And to support these plans, they have recruited four new physicians. A small comment was also made about the separate management contract between Kootenai and Syringa Hospital.

The other article on the same page outlines major issues with Syringa Hospital, to include inadequate funding of Syringa’s EMS services on the prairie. In addition, Mr. Spencer discusses the aging infrastructure of Syringa Hospital, and the lack of adequate finances to even provide landscape management of the property, much less updating the hospital rooms and the heating system.

But they do have 3,000 new light bulbs.

What is really concerning, though, is that a quoted board member is more concerned about hallway handrails and rounded corners than discussing solutions to these other potentially catastrophic problems that could spell the financial demise of Syringa Hospital.

Maybe it is time for Kootenai, St. Mary’s and Syringa to stop competing, and to work together to develop a plan to integrate the three organizations into a single health care system for the benefit of all the patients on the Camas Prairie. Many of us have suggested such a model in the past. And I hope the Syringa CEO and the other board members have a little better insight on what is really important, besides handrails and rounded corners.

Joel E. Cleary



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(1) comment


Treat your customers and employees nicely and the money will come. Syringa is the clinic and hospital I use, but I can't say I am satisfied with it. Always looking for alternatives.

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