1. What are the major pros and cons of privatizing Sarasota Memorial Hospital and what is your position?
I don't see any pros in privatizing our community hospital. It is essential to the health and well being of our community that our hospital remain publicly owned and operated. For profit corporations tend to eliminate services that aren't traditionally profitable such as pediatric care and labor and delivery services. Research shows that as access to quality Healthcare declines, so does the average life expectancy. Therefore, I would vehemently oppose privatization.
2. Regarding the expansion of Sarasota Memorial Hospital: please expand upon why you agree or disagree with the current expansion?
I am in favor of the current expansion to meet the needs of our citizens. As the population of the county continues to grow rapidly, it is critical to our lifestyles that we broaden our reach into our undeserved communities.
3. How would you like future expansion to proceed?
North Port is the largest city in the county and we need to focus our expansion efforts on where there are critical needs. Parents should not have to travel for hours to obtain quality Healthcare for their families.
4. The failure of the State of Florida to expand Medicaid increases the hospital's
uncompensated costs. What is your position on accepting the Federal Medicaid Funds?
The state has failed its taxpayers by choosing not to expand Medicaid. Children and the elderly are among our most vulnerable citizens and to prevent higher costs in the future we must ensure that we maximize funding now.
5. Moral and financial reasons for accepting Federal Medicaid Funds which were presented to the past Legislature did not work. How can the taxpayers encourage the Legislature to accept the federal Medicaid funds?
It is unimaginable to me that we live in the wealthiest country in the world, yet our legislators are not willing to help provide for the needs of the citizens of this State. This is not about providing charity, many of those in need are the working class. Having basic health care needs met should be a right, not based on one's financial abilities. If your home or apartment catches on fire, the fire department will do everything they can to put out the fire, without asking how you're going to pay for their service. Education is a right, police protection is a right and health care should be as well.
6. Mental health services are currently poorly funded; the low income working poor and some elders could benefit from the expansion of the federal Medicaid funds. How do you feel the hospital can be instrumental in providing the proposed expansion of mental health services that may be funded under the Affordable Care Act?
As a nurse, I am a staunch advocate of patients rights. We must urge our elected officials to honor their duty to serve the needs of the public.
With SMH providing the only acute care services for mental health in our county, Administration and the Hospital Board must act locally and be vocal in emphasizing the need for our citizens. We currently have a major drug epidemic that could be devastating to an entire generation and their children if we don't act with intense purpose.