Lawsuit took away from VMC focus | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

"I find myself in a unique position in that I am the only remaining trustee on the UW Medicine/Valley Medical Center Board that approved the Strategic Alliance."

I find myself in a unique position in that I am the only remaining trustee on the UW Medicine/Valley Medical Center Board that approved the Strategic Alliance. I serve on the Valley Board of Commissioners. And I am on the UW Medicine Board.

I have from the very beginning been receptive to the concept of a Strategic Alliance between Valley Medical Center and UW Medicine. In my role as commissioner, I approved the due-diligence process. And after all the difficult work by Valley Medical Center administrative staff, the support of the community and elected officials, it was clear that the alliance would be good for the hospital and the community in moving healthcare forward into the future. And I was right.

Unfortunately, the majority of the Board of Commissioners didn’t feel that the Strategic Alliance was legal and thus decided to file a lawsuit. Of course I opposed and expressed my reasons why.

One, UW Medicine was well known as one of the best facilities in the nation and two, proof was in the pudding so to speak, that they knew what they were doing legally. Three, it would be an awful waste of taxpayers funds when we could use that money for healthcare. Four, it was due to personal vendettas and, five, we needed to accept the alliance and get on with hospital business.

Forming the Strategic Alliance with UW Medicine has allowed Valley Medical Center to provide better public access to its clinics, implementation of more sophisticated services, and reduced costs to name a few.

However, filing the lawsuit caused diversions from healthcare, and hundreds of thousands dollars of public funds spent that could have been used for patient care.

And all was for naught. After three courts decisions, the final one, the first week of November, from the Supreme Court validated that the Strategic Alliance was indeed legal.

Unfortunately I was right again. So how do I feel about the Supreme Court decision? I am elated and yet frustrated. Frustrated because as I stated, it was a waste of taxpayer money on both sides, and it took away the main focus of what we are here for.

However, I am elated due to the fact that we can move forward with the Triple Aim: Improving the healthcare for individuals.  Improving the health of populations and reducing the cost of healthcare, per capita. And also continue going moving toward an ACO (Accountable Care Organization).

Carolyn V. Parnell,


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