In response to Dr. Burk Gossom’s letter | Letters

I have watched the discussion regarding the upcoming county hospital board election from the sidelines, with the only goal to ensure that voters have the facts in hand so that they make an informed decision on Nov. 3. Dr. Gossom’s recent letter to the editor of this publication requires me to step out of the sidelines and respond to correct several assertions that should not be left unchallenged.

1) Dr. Gossom incorrectly claims that PeaceHealth Peace Island has the power to override decisions between a patient and physician. That is not true. PeaceHealth respects the physician-patient relationship in all areas and across all disciplines.

2) Regarding emergency department usage and costs: the PeaceHealth Peace Island emergency department charges are far below the state average for emergency care. Moreover, we leave appointment slots open in the clinic every day for patients not requiring emergency level care.

3) Dr. Gossom also claims that PeaceHealth Peace Island “strives for maximum charges.” Dr. Gossom needs to check no further than to see the facts don’t support his statement.

4) Dr. Gossom writes, “The only people who pay the highest charges are the poor and uninsured.” This statement is not based on facts. PeaceHealth Peace Island charges everyone the same amount, and for those without governmental coverage or commercial insurance, and/or for those individuals who have limited resources to pay bills as a result of high-deductible plans or no plans at all, PeaceHealth offers assistance. Last year, we wrote off $534,000 for those people with no or limited means to pay.

I encourage all San Juan County residents to become fully informed about the facts related to PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center. You can view or download a booklet, Know the Facts about healthcare on our island.

Jim Barnhart

Chief Administrative Officer, PIMC