HCA Should Reassess

I didn't have a dog in this fight, but I did follow the arguments advanced for and against Broadlands Regional Medical Center (BRMC). I was amazed at the arrogance exhibited by HCA Inc. and BRMC in their full-page advertisement in last Sunday's Loudoun Extra.

The ad states that the 6 to 3 vote against HCA's land-use request deprives Loudoun County residents of a state-of-the-art hospital, new health care options, improvements to Belmont Ridge Road and $4 million in annual taxes, and HCA lays that at the feet of the six "wascally wepublicans" who voted against its request.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Let's be honest. Patients would be receiving treatment today at South Riding Regional Medical Center had HCA officials not been so intransigent in their insistence that the hospital be built in Broadlands instead of south of Dulles International Airport and closer to South Riding.

Do HCA officials not understand a landslide vote when they see one? They seem to think that the constituents represented by the six Republican members of the board did not make their support, or lack of support, known before the vote. The pseudo ballot in the ad reduces this to the lowest common political denominator, and that's unfortunate. It should not be about politics.

Loudoun needs another hospital and perhaps more than one. HCA should put the Board of Supervisors to the test. Pick up your marbles, move them to the South Riding area and resubmit your land-use request. I'm betting that the board will approve the request unanimously and that all of the things whose loss the HCA bemoans will again be within our grasp.

T.A. "Pat" Blake


No Means No

I was delighted to read for-profit HCA Inc.'s back-page ad in last Sunday's Loudoun Extra, proving once again that the wind of anger always blows out the lamp of intelligence.

The spiteful ad also provided an excellent commentary on the character of the HCA. Just like the sniveling bully who doesn't get his way, the HCA blamed six distinguished members of our Board of Supervisors for the rejection of its inappropriate application to encroach 4.5 miles from a well-established nonprofit medical complex that has served our residents well. The ad was an insult to the residents who opposed the new hospital and an insult to the thousands of residents who did not support this application.

Asking our residents to keep an open mind while their PR firm poured in garbage by the ad-full, HCA officials did get some to publicly support them, but they overstated the level of support and spent thousands of dollars just to learn that you cannot antagonize and persuade at the same time.

Using cute negativity to demonize six supervisors will only increase those supervisors' popularity and vote count in the future, for they did the right thing. If anyone heard Supervisor Jim G. Burton's (I-Blue Ridge) colorful characterization of the HCA before the 6 to 3 vote, thanking him for his vote is akin to thanking the captain of the Titanic for a smooth sail.

The image created by the HCA's PR firm was that of an obstinate encroacher -- unwilling to consider alternative sites, willing to use veiled intimidation tactics and spend and win at any cost -- who still doesn't get that the word "no" is a complete sentence. The HCA should ask its PR firm for a refund.

However, this exercise wasn't a total loss. . . . We can always use it as an example of corporate bullying, and now we all understand the term for-profit much better. Let's hope we have seen the last of this soap opera. Enough is enough.

Lou Gros Louis