Facing Hospital Facts

This letter is in response to Kenneth W. Robinson's letter ["Hospital Is Crying Wolf," Loudoun Extra, May 20].

Given the prior affiliation of both Robinson and his wife with Loudoun Healthcare Inc. (LHI), the intuitive lack of perspective in relation to the issues cited is troubling.

Yet, since these same themes are repeated in multiple editorial submissions from proponents of HCA Inc., this proves an opportunity to set the record straight . . . again:

* Loudoun County's Board of Supervisors, by sponsoring a health care facilities plan amendment to the Comprehensive Plan, is acting in the best interest of residents, not in the special interest of either HCA or LHI. Since the state health care commissioner has no jurisdiction in facility location, and, given that state statute provides for county planning in relation to health care, Loudoun County supervisors are acting responsibly to assure equal and reasonable health care access.

* Neither HCA nor LHI have an advantage in the anticipated planning process. Quite to the contrary, the entity best suited to advance health care in relation to planning guidelines and fiscal capability would certainly be favored.

* HCA's own Ernst & Young submission to the state demonstrates the devastating, negative financial impact of Broadlands Regional Medical Center (BRMC) on Loudoun Hospital Center. This is a public document and easily accessible.

* Loudoun Healthcare's quality of care has just been recognized by Advance for Nurses magazine as "Best in Knowledge" for ER nurses, has received an honorable mention for 2004 nurse of the year by Nursing Spectrum magazine and has received the Virginia Health Quality Achiever Award from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

* In the past 36 months, 222 physicians in multiple specialties have sought and been granted privileges to practice at Loudoun Hospital Center.

* Although two bond houses upgraded Loudoun Healthcare's standing, both houses indicated that this standing was in jeopardy should the BRMC project be built.

* Taxes collected from a proposed HCA facility could be afforded the county whether built in Broadlands or, based upon sounder planning, elsewhere in Loudoun while not harming an existing provider nor resident access.

* Finally, Loudoun Healthcare's management is on record stating that this community does need another hospital, doesn't believe it can or should be the only health care provider and will defer to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors regarding the location of future health care centers.

This is quite a different picture than the one painted by HCA supporters, including the perspective of Robinson, who serves on the HCA/BRMC steering committee.

Then again, facts do have a way of making conjecture pointless. Despite personal or professional considerations, readers are best served by an informed, accurate and straightforward dialogue. Hence, thank you for the opportunity to set the record straight . . . again.

Roger A. "Tony" Raker

Community relations director

Loudoun Hospital Center