A more logical question is "can competing hospitals coexist in a community?" Merger of the two hospitals was attempted in the early 1980s and defeated largely at Kadlec's behest. And again in 1998 when Kennewick residents declined on the basis that KGH would probably be closed.
Hospital services competitors can coexist, they have locally for 60 years allowing movement between Kadlec, KGH, Lourdes and ambulatory services clinics when desired by patients and physicians.
Can KGH or Kadlec be the only hospital in the Tri-Cities? No. Obviously not because neither has the capacity to handle the full Tri-Cities patient needs and raises the question of quality and efficiency from a single provider.
Provider/physicians (i.e. at KGH Physician Clinics) and patient volumes are key to financial solvency for health care service providers and KGH's recent growth attests that it is a worthy competitor and growing stronger. With 80 plus providers in the clinics and some 220,000 office visits this year, double digit patient volume growth is being seen from one community hospital.
Health care services trends are toward more outpatient and less in-patient services. The resultant is need for fewer hospital beds and better outpatient services. Hence well equipped Medical Office Buildings, urgent care clinics, access friendly physician offices, and a new hospital location with easy patient access, respond to this trend.
KGH has a "Plan" to provide their share of community health care services in convenient locations, with available providers, reasonable costs, and timely patient scheduling. With Tri- Cities growth and an aging population this preparation is mandatory.
KGH has community service as a core policy, contrary, it seems, as to Kadlec's policy of obstruction, delay, and adding costs to KGH's efforts to provide new facilities at Southridge. Without the CON process Kadlec would have to win solely by providing best services at a fair price. Most states have abandoned the CON process and it's time our legislators did the same. It's outdated, costly and time consuming.
What's fair in business competition, as Kadlec is demonstrating, is unethical when affecting community health care services? It's time to stop.
-- Victor Johnson, Kennewick