Mary’s Musings

Relinquishing precious controls in 2019: A hard pill to swallow

Posted:  Wednesday, December 27, 2017 - 8:45am

2017 has brought lots of changes to our local communities, our state, country and elsewhere around the world.  We constantly have to adapt to new concepts, philosophies and ideas, harder to do the older you get.

For several years, LincolnHealth, which operates Miles and St. Andrews, has been a part of MaineHealth, one of 16 (we think) statewide medical facilities under the leadership of Maine Medical Center. We’ve always maintained our own board of trustees, handled our own finances, and made our own decisions. As we see it, that’s all about to change come 2019. All of the participating MaineHealth hospitals will pool their finances and be governed by one board of trustees, which will determine what’s good or bad for the individual hospitals. We have been promised that we’ll have one local member on the board of trustees, however, for the next five years. That’s a small consolation.

Personally, we’re not too thrilled at the thought of having board members from elsewhere in the state making key decisions about our local hospital. We’re not at all happy, either, that all of the hospitals will be pooling their finances, and hospitals experiencing financial difficulties can draw money from those with more stable bottom lines.

It makes us feel like we’re taking one more step toward becoming a socialist country, where the wealth is shared no matter how much the participants have contributed. It reminds us of the constant complaining by some of our fellow countrymen who resent the fact that some folks make more money than they do. While they argue that the wealthy aren’t “paying their fair share,’’ what they really want is redistribution of the wealth.

Hospitals are a business, plain and simple. Some operate efficiently, others don’t.It irks us, we’ll admit, to think that because our own local hospital maintains a healthy bottom line, we’re going to see some of our money spread around the state to help other facilities keep their doors open. We’re sure this seems like a selfish attitude, but in a democratic society,  MaineHealth’s plan just rubs us the wrong way, both by pooling our money and by making us give up our local control.We’re a hard sell when it comes to believing that bigger is better.