Given what has recently been reported regarding this community’s medical complex, the editors, journalist and reporters of the Daily Inter Lake need to tell the public the rest of the story about Kalispell Regional Medical Center / Northwest Health Care and all of their related entities. Serious investigative journalism is now needed to reveal the many aspects of this medical complex.
Sometime back, before the relocation of the hospital to Buffalo Hill, when the hospital was still located on Fifth Avenue East in Kalispell, the Catholic order Sisters of Mercy bequeathed the “old” hospital to Flathead County.
Soon thereafter changes began to happen. The hospital was relocated to a new facility on Buffalo Hill. In more recent years huge growth has occurred within the medical complex. Today it is the largest employer in the county, employing some 4,000 employees.
It is time the citizens of the county learn the true nature and details that make up this medical establishment; such as:
• Who owns the hospital complex?
• What are all the names of the different entities and how are they related to each other?
• Are these entities for-profit or nonprofit?
• How is one set of losses offset by another gain — between these closely held entities?
• Are county/city property taxes paid on all of the real-estate holdings?
• What is the corporate structure of all of these different entities?
• Who elects the board(s) of directors and who are these directors?
• What remuneration and benefits do these directors receive?
• Who are the senior corporate officers and what are their salaries, bonuses and benefits?
• Does the county still have an active role within the medical complex?
• How many private medical offices/practices has the hospital establishment purchased and what are their names?
• Why is it personal physicians are no longer allowed to see and treat their patients who are hospitalized?
These and many more questions need answers and disclosure.
In recent years the medical complex has acquired many previously physician-owned medical offices. It is now nearly impossible to find a non-hospital-owned medical office. With this has come substantial changes in the way our physicians now practice, often times to the detriment of patient-doctor relations.
We all are fully aware of the many changes that have occurred in recent years within the medical environment as a result of government and insurance involvement. But questions still beg for answers and transparency with regards to our community medical establishment, which all of us have come to depend on.
This community provides the financial support for the hospital and all of its varied entities, thus it deserves to know the truth and to have reliable answers to these and many more questions.
Doug Johns is a resident of Kalispell.