People need to say ‘enough is enough’

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When are we as a community going to say enough is enough. Las Vegas has, in the last (few) months, not lost just one, but two primary care physicians. Not to mention the number of specialists who have moved through the revolving door called Alta Vista Regional Hospital.

Community Health Systems is a Tennessee-based company (that) has no interest in Las Vegas and its people unless it is included in the profit numbers and the bottom line.

Why do we have to put up with second-rate health care? Many patients travel to Santa Fe or Albuquerque for care, and where does the money they spend go? It goes to Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

This facility does not have the necessary equipment or staff to provide quality care to the people of Las Vegas, and many cannot go out of town for care, so they just go without care.

This facility has a physical therapy department that is closed, a cath lab that is used for storage, and an ICU that does not always have the one-on-one nursing required of critical care medicine. Not to mention a burned out and overworked staff that are chastised when they advocate for the patient.

If it costs money, they refuse to get it. They have gone so far as to state they would rather send patients out of town than buy the equipment needed for this facility.

I could go on and on about the negative feedback and reputation this facility has. Does anyone ever wonder why the community refers to it as “Hasta la Vista”?

For the record, I am also a former employee of CHS. Administration would tell you that I am just disgruntled because I did not leave on good terms.

In fact, I left because I was fighting a losing battle for my patients, and when I spoke up, I was harassed and told I was an incompetent nurse even though I had a near perfect employee evaluation: a 4.8 out of a possible 5.0 score, and yes I can prove that.

My family and I are guilty of going out of town for some of our healthcare. We have a very good primary care physician who happens to be a CHS employee, but that is the extent of our care with CHS. I just hope he does not leave at the end of his contract as well.

You cannot have a successful practice without patients. But you also need quality care for a successful practice. You cannot run a doctor’s office like the local Wal Mart! Health care costs are soaring, and with the new health care law going into effect soon, New Mexico alone is 3,000 physicians short of what it needs, and over 10,000 nurses short.

The physicians who leave AVRH are bound by a no-compete clause in the contracts they sign with CHS, so it prevents them from going into private practice in Las Vegas so they go out of town.

Again I say enough is enough!

The city has right to first refusal in taking back this hospital. I call on our elected officials to take back our hospital and contract with a New Mexico healthcare company like Presbyterian, (which) as a non-profit facility, puts all profits back into the system in order to provide quality care to New Mexico because they have an investment in New Mexico and its citizens.

Selling our hospital to Community Health Systems was by far one of the biggest mistakes we, as a community, have ever made.

Yvonne R Cartee, LPN
Las Vegas