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Saturday, April 4, 2015 - by Jo Ann Eddleman

When Your Health Matters?

By Jo Ann Eddleman

Does anyone really think those of us who are opposed to paying increased taxes to fund a $12 million debt to enlarge this hospital are any less aware of our healthcare needs than those who are promoting this new facility? Are not the hundreds, if not thousands, of county residents who do not use this hospital or the local doctors able to receive the healthcare they need with the doctors they use who practice in Abilene, Brownwood and San Angelo? Will not all major illnesses or trauma always be treated in a hospital other than CCMC “when [our] health matters?” If lives have been lost because they were unable to get to a full-service hospital or a higher-level trauma center via a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art ambulance service or Life Flight, let’s hear the numbers.

All I’m hearing is how great the service and caring staff are at CCMC, which I do not doubt. When you have a ratio of 26 hospital staff to 1 patient, you can and should expect extraordinary care. Will a larger facility make the staff care even more? Will fewer people be transported to Abilene, Brownwood, San Angelo or DFW for the advanced care they need? Will the 8,000 plus people in the county all of a sudden decide to switch doctors and make CCMC their hospital of choice? How many insured patients do each of the CCMC doctors have? Those are the folks that we might reasonably expect to be admitted at this hospital under the care of a local doctor. Is that number available?

How many people are going to change their insurance company to make sure they can be admitted at CCMC just because it has been renovated and has a few new pieces of equipment? Is the age and condition of CCMC really the reason so many people choose not to use CCMC for their medical care, or is it because their doctors practice in Abilene, San Angelo, Brownwood, .….?

No one is saying that improvements can’t be made at the hospital. My question is: What improvements have been made in the last few years? What improvements has Preferred Management paid for with the annual $10,000 it is contractually committed to use to make improvements? Since the hospital evidently did not see to it that the roofing company honored its warranty on the roof that is leaking, why can’t the hospital get a loan to make this repair just like the rest of us would? Exactly how much money would it take to repair the dirt berm in the basement with a reinforcement wall? If the hospital makes these kinds of repairs, is the CMS reimbursement provision we hear so much about not available to absorb some of the costs? Just asking.

Why does our hospital always pass the one and only firm and absolute Life Safety Code regulatory requirement regarding fire protection if wood framing is such an issue? (And since when is 3-deep brick exterior wall considered a wood structure?)

No one has yet told me the name and location of even one rural hospital that has been closed in our area, or any area, for code compliance reasons. If this is such a risk to our hospital, typical examples of such closures or even threats of closure should be a dime a dozen.

Let’s not make our decision to incur this 20-year, $12 million debt and the tax increase needed to fund that debt based on heartwarming stories of how much a few patients love our hospital. This hospital will still be open for those who choose to use it, and it will most likely have the same caring staff. Let’s make our decision based on what Coleman County needs and, most of all, what Coleman County can afford.

Bottom line: If we were to poll the insured residents of Coleman County, how many do you think use CCMC as their first choice when their health matters?


(This is the opinion of one or more persons and may or may not reflect the opinion(s) of

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