We have submitted the following letter to the editor of the Post-Crescent and have been informed that it will be published on December 1, 2018.
Letter to the Editor:
In his recent letter, Walt Edwards (former President of Appleton Medical Center) made two, important observations: (1) our local health systems (“hospitals”) were built by this community, and (2) they are now led by people with little connection to this community.
Health care is a unique service that resembles education and other public services more than manufactured and other private products. Thus health care receives enormous public support in the form of tax exemptions for property, profit, and publicly-subsidized debt as well as volunteerism.
But over the last forty or more years the managers of health services have adopted a culture that emphasizes private goals at the expense of public ones. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a serious problem.
It is a problem because the managers of these now enormous corporations have seemingly forgotten their mission. That mission is to produce high quality, low cost (“value”) health care services for the benefit of the citizens of the community. Instead they produce care that is increasingly unaffordable for citizens but which rewards the managers and corporation.
Mr. Edwards worries that the ThedaCare trustees are not “paying attention”. We concur. Our group has attempted to communicate with two current trustees and the CEO. In each case we were brushed off and ignored. It is our view that these trustees are not paying attention to their responsibility to serve the community. Instead we believe they are serving the interest of the corporation to stifle competition and serve the corporation’s interests of increased revenue and market share-at the expense of the community.
We believe the current trustees should resign and be replaced by a board that is broadly representative of our community and which will return the organization to its mission to serve the interests of the entire community (“accountability” and “transparency”) for low cost, high quality health care services.
Merton D Finkler PhD, Fox Crossing
William J McLaughlin, Appleton