Voters face biggest decision in a generationMark Satterfield, MD
Plumas District Hospital Board President8/4/2010
In the next few days we’ll be receiving our mail-in ballots to vote on Measure B. This measure represents a critical threat to PDH’s ability to continue to provide quality medical care for future generations.
Like me, many of Quincy’s current physicians decided to locate here because our community has the size, location and base of commerce to sustain quality medical care and a small hospital for the long term.
It’s been apparent for years that our tired old hospital was going to need replacement, but numerous plans were scrapped because they were either inadequate, not cost-effective (i.e. remodel) or overly lavish.
After finally honing in on a modest plan that’s just the minimum our community needs and passing Measure A in 2008, there followed a spike in interest rates that caused tax rates to increase to never expected levels. People were angry.
But interest rates have dropped and the cost of building materials are at lows not seen in a decade. Contrary to what its supporters allege, passage of Measure B would not provide any more funds for PDH to upgrade. No further bonds could be sold. Its passage would make building the basic hospital proposed for Quincy’s future impossible.
PDH is at a tipping point. We are at risk of entering the “death spiral” of ever-declining quality of care and ever-declining profitability of our institution. How do you attract quality doctors to a community that has voted down even this most modest replacement hospital?
Once you aren’t able to attract quality doctors, the quality of the nursing staff, administration, and technical staff also begins to deteriorate.
The ability to deliver babies and stabilize trauma victims would be among the first services to go. Could this be the last generation of children born in Plumas County? All the other Plumas County hospitals quit obstetrics long ago.
Nobody wants to work at or patronize a second rate medical facility. People who have a choice begin to seek their care and employment outside the county, accelerating the decline.
Just look at how it happened in the nearby communities that have lost their hospitals.
So, let’s not be penny wise and pound foolish. The cap is dangerous to the entire future of our community. The proponents are misinformed when they say they love the hospital and it will not suffer if the cap passes.
In reality our community would gradually loose the quality medical care it has come to depend on. Retirees and young families will choose not to move here and property values will suffer far more than the modest amount necessary to help rejuvenate this critical community resource.
The Chico State Economic Impact report calculated that for every tax dollar spent in support of PDH there is a 15- to 30-fold greater return to the community in salary, wages and business activity. Where can you get a better deal than that?
The cap would choke the life out of our hospital and community and poison our future. Let’s think clearly; let’s have the vision to work together to insure a robust future for Quincy and its hospital. Vote NO on “B.”