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Letter: Preserve Lodi Health’s independence

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Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 12:00 am

In 1952, Lodi Memorial Hospital was supported by local citizens and their generosity to open an independent hospital serving all members of the community.

The article in the Lodi News-Sentinel on July 11 stated that Lodi Health, which oversees Lodi Memorial Hospital, was looking for a partnership with a major health care system to assure its financial strength moving forward.

The citizens of the Lodi community and the surrounding area need to support Lodi Memorial Hospital and assure its independence and continued availability to all of the public.

The danger I fear is that this partnership will create a majority controlling partner other than Lodi Health, eventually allowing Lodi Memorial to be taken over by an entity like Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield or Sutter Gould, and unless you are a member of that insurer, you will not be allowed to use the services now provided by Lodi Memorial to all of the community.

An example: Kaiser took over hospitals in Manteca, promising to maintain them, and then either closed them down or reduced services to the local community, thereby causing individuals to have to travel outside of their community to get services that in the past were readily at hand in their home community.

Lodi Health and Lodi Memorial Hospital should maintain their autonomy and at least a controlling majority over 50 percent of the partnership. In so doing, it will protect the community and its hospital’s independence and services to all the Citizens of Lodi and the surrounding area.

I would hope that Lodi Health and Lodi Memorial Hospital will keep the town-hall agenda and fully disclose its intentions to the above financial moves, and take into consideration the public input to keep the hospital independent. It would be a shame, after all the public’s donations of the past decades, to be sold off to a private entity and lose this community asset.

Let Lodi Health know how you feel about this issue. You can email at www.lodihealth.org or mail to Lodi Health, 975, S. Fairmont Ave., Lodi, CA 95240. Telephone: 209-334-3411 or toll free: 800-323-3360.

Michael Lusk

Lodi

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