Seniors, veterans denied choice

After a long battle with bureaucrats, the Surgery Center of Kenai recently opened its doors. The Surgery Center could offer medical care to Medicare/Medicaid and Tri-Care patients at significant savings over Central Peninsula Hospital.  In addition,  the Surgery Center could save seniors more than 40 percent in co-payments. Medicare/Medicaid and Tri-Care will not reimburse for services unless the Surgery Center is issued a transfer agreement from Central Peninsula Hospital.

The Surgery Center physicians, individually, have been caring for Medicare/Medicaid and Tri-Care (military) patients for years. However, as a Surgery Center, Medicare/Medicaid/Tri-Care requires the center to have a “transfer agreement” with Central Peninsula Hospital. Central Peninsula Hospital refused to issue the transfer agreement.  Alaska Regional and Providence offered the surgery center a transfer agreement, but Medicare requires that one be granted by a “local” hospital.

Central Peninsula Hospital is owned by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and theoretically takes direction from the borough mayor and assembly. Central Peninsula CEO Rick Davis has refused to sign the transfer agreement.

His refusal to sign a transfer agreement is an outright denial of medical care choice, to senior citizens and veterans. Physicians who are willing to serve senior, Medicaid  and veteran patients are directly being told:  No, CPH will determine which doctor and hospital seniors and veterans will use.  

These are not doctors making your medical decisions.  These are government bureaucrats deciding your medical fate. When questioned about his concern for community access to medical choice at the Aug. 5 assembly meeting, by assemblyman Wayne Ogle, Davis said that he is not concerned about the community, he works for the hospital.

Senior citizens throughout the United States are being denied access to their choice of medical care services and doctors, as a result of $550 million in cuts to Medicare providers initiated and approved by the current administration.    At the same time, Medicare administrators are being encouraged to reduce costs in order to extend the solvency of the program.  Doctors are beginning to turn away Medicare patients.  These are facts.

It is a dangerous and frightening leap into the world of rationed medical care if we allow bureaucrats to decide the medical care we receive. This must be corrected immediately, or like a disease, will spread.

Alaska residents and legislators  across the state  please stand up. Contact Mr. Davis, CEO CPH;  KPB Mayor Mike Navarre and the CPH board of directors. Demand the right to make your own medical choices. Demand that your fellow KPB seniors and military keep the right to choose their own doctor.

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