No Transparency, No Trust: No on Measure I

I have always been extremely proud of my hometown. Born at Tulare District Hospital and raised in Tulare, I chose to return to Tulare after college and dental school, establish my dental practice here and give birth to my two children at Tulare District Hospital. Tulare is where my husband and I have raised our children. My whole life has revolved around Tulare and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

During the first bond election, you may have received a phone call from me or others urging you to vote for the bond. At that time, community leaders were behind the tower project 100%, and they should have been. There were stated goals, a budget and overall transparency.

However, this time around is very different. I cannot support a bond which gives money to people who will not say who they are, will not tell us who the potential contractors are or give us a budget itemization of cost. Especially after the misuse of the first bond monies, HCCA and the Board should be answering these questions. I will not support a rubber stamp Board who has given away all of their authority to a private company. How can this Board claim to represent the people? They have already approved a 15-year contract, with 10-year automatic renewals, which gives our public hospital away. There is so much wrong with this contract that it would take at least a 5-page newspaper exposé to thoroughly cover every facet.

It pains me to see that the hospital has declined as it has. Providing excellent, safe and compassionate care has taken a backseat to greed and the almighty dollar exhibited by the management and the Board. This should never be a knock on the many good and dedicated employees of our hospital who are caught up in this vortex.

As a healthcare professional, as a wife, as a mother and a primary caregiver to my aging parents, I am deeply concerned about this 40-year bond.

As a healthcare provider, it disturbs me greatly when my patients relate sad, yet avoidable stories from their experiences at our hospital. As a mother, I feel sorry for expectant mothers of today, who cannot have the experience I had of giving birth at Tulare District Hospital in the 1990’s. This was at a time when it was becoming popular to go to Kaweah. I chose Tulare hospital for the hometown sense of family and community from the doctors, nurses and staff.

As a caregiver for my parents, I would absolutely love for doctors’ appointments to be in Tulare, so as to not miss so much of my workday. Unfortunately, most of the doctors in town have lost full privileges at the hospital at the hands of the Board. I know that in the middle of the night, if I get the call that one of my parents needs ambulance service, they will be heading to Kaweah and if Kaweah is overcrowded, they may end up elsewhere. This is not as it should be.

Back in 2003, my father had a stroke and I was fortunately present to witness the tell-tale signs. I took him immediately to our hospital (only a 3-minute drive). I drove up to the emergency room door and told the medical personnel that my father was having a stroke. No one asked me for insurance information before treatment. They triaged him and gave him the necessary clot-busting drug and then determined through blood work that he had had a recent heart attack.

This was truly life-saving, and at 95, he is sharp as a tack, writing powerful letters to the Editor on this very issue. I have no confidence that this scenario would happen today at the Tulare hospital. I would be calling 911 and the emergency personnel would transport to Kaweah Delta. This is true for any cardiac event or any serious fall requiring orthopedics as well.

This is why we citizens need to come together and save our hospital. This is just the beginning but we can and will succeed in restoring our hospital, including finishing the tower. Not, however, with this Board and HCCA at the helm. We have a fantastic group of community leaders ready and willing to help save our public hospital. Join me and my dad, Dr. Tom Drilling, and the rest of my family and friends in voting NO on Measure I.

Dr. Patricia Drilling

20 thoughts on “No Transparency, No Trust: No on Measure I

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  1. Perfect and honest! Thank you for sharing. This is a truthful walk down memory lane and to what has come of our hospital due to greed.

  2. I have worked for the hosptial for almost two years and quite frankly I feel offended by this article. I attend leadership meetings and we are always discussing “put the patient first and everything else will follow.” Excellent care is my bottomline, not money. With all do respect, what Dr. Drilling may “feel” or is confident/not confident in is not fact. The experience she relayed with her father has been the experience of other Tulare citizens who are also alive and well because of the excellent emergency care they received at TRMC. In fact, under the management of HCCA, TRMC now has specialty stroke care in its ER. I recognize I am new to this community and can understand there is much hurt from the past, but we are on a very bright path with a promising future for the health care in Tulare. Please join me in voting YES Measure I.

    • Dr. Drilling did not write an article, as you suggest. It was an opinion piece. Please feel free to submit one of your own.

    • You are being paid to vote yes we as citizens have reasonable doubt that our money is going to spent wisely and as a two year employee as you are staying you don’t have a long standing history with the establishment that brings value as some of us have had a longer standing history with the hospital

  3. Wonderful Letter Dr Drilling! I love how you put it. ….We need to save our hospital. Put our community leaders back the helm! Transparency and Accountability. That’s all this is about. Thank you for your time to support No on Measure I.

  4. Since HCCA has come the hospital has improved. If Measure I doesn’t pass the hospital will close. The first bonds that was passed was the first phase, it was never enough for the whole project. When Bob Montion put this together he know it wouldn’t be enough for the whole project. Now we need to pass this bond for the second phase. Please save our hospital, VOTE YES on I.

  5. In June of this year I went to the Tulare District Emergency room at 6:30 in the morning. I was very ill. There were two other people waiting to be seen ahead of me. They Eventually were seen and I waited. They waiting room began filling up. I had blood drawn. Gave a urine sample and stool sample. At 9:30, I was in such bad pain, I couldn’t sit or stand, was severely dehydrated and was running a fever and was beginning to have a hard time catching my breath. I asked how much longer I was going to have to wait and they told me there were not any beds available and didn’t know how long but it could be some time. I couldn’t wait any longer so I left. Took 20 minutes to drive to the Urgent Care not Court Street, was ther maybe 15 minutes and was in a bed and they were starting an IV for my dehydration. I was eventually diagnosed with C-diff, brought on by taking a strong antibiotic for a dog bite which I had received 2 weeks earlier. If you don’t know what C-diff is, you should find out. I had know idea and had never even heard of it before. I was seriously ill and was heading down hill quickly. On top of it all, Tulare District had the audacity to send me a bill for almost a thousand dollars. After this experience I have changed my primary care physician who is key proponent to Measure I, to a practice in Visalia and I will be going to Kaweah Delta for my hospital care. It saddens me, like Dr. drilling to see this happen to our community hospital. After much consideration and reading the facts, I am voting No on Measure I.

  6. Great opinion piece Dr. Drilling! I hope you send it to the Times Delta as well. I will be joining you and many others in voting NO on Measure I.

  7. The facts are there for all to see. This opinion is just that, an opinion missing facts and validated data. Anyone who wants to know what’s really going on can clearly find the facts at any board meeting, in the records of how the first bond was spent, the 4 independent audits, talking to those who actually work at the hospital, and the list goes on.

    I support measure I and Tulare’s hospital!

  8. this all so sad that you are throwing each other under the bus… This is exactly why medical care has gone stupid. We have allowed politics into the game. When I got into nursing I wanted to help people, save lives and make a difference. I sincerely believe I do; I don’t need headline recognition to the measures I have gone for my patients or my coworkers. We have always worked as team, we are like family at TRMC. Dr Drilling not having confidence in our staff is a slap in the face. I am sorry you you have allowed leaders on both sides of this measure to persuade you into an opinion that reflects poorly on us the people inside the hospital. No one ever gives us credit for believing that this community deserves healthcare and deserves a hospital to care for you and your loved ones. Try giving care to preconceived judgement and degradation. You all are trying beat us into the ground. And all we are trying to do is do what we set out to do and that is to heal, help others and make a difference.

  9. We provide excellent care at our hopsital at TRMC. Sadly, ALL hospitals have bad experiences, I can name several and some fatal mistakes other hospitals have made. Someone we know died during childbirth at KDDH, due to their negligence. But I’m not here to bad mouth other hospitals, each community needs their hospital… Bottom line, this current administration is being chastised for decisions that were made BEFORE them. This current administration didn’t make “those decisions” that the NO on I proponents speak of. We have a tower sitting there waiting to be finished, so $85 million wasn’t wasted. There is an amazing hospital building (with equipment) that any community member can sign up to go tour, to see where your $$ went. It’s my money too, I’m a tax payer. I’m not going to go broke if my taxes go up by $12, neither are any of you. One thing is for certain, you need a hospital in this town, period. We need the Bond to pass, so VOTING YES ON I, is the correct decision!

  10. Dr. Drilling,
    You said yourself, he received the care that saved his life.,, why be optimistic about the future? The trends have shown excellence and improvement, please do not pass judgement on past decision makers who are not relevant today. Everyone is so stuck on HCCA’s contract that they cannot see past the great work that is being done everyday. I almost lost my life had it not been for Tulare. I was misdiagnosed by several doctors before Tulare’s ER gave me a correct diagnosis and a chance at life. I am also a wife and mother who had her children at Tulare Regional and I am pleased to say I will vote YES so that our community can continue to receive the care they deserve. We shouldn’t have to drive to Visalia and risk dying along the way when the answer is in our backyard, put your personal differences aside and support your community. Have you ever been to a board meeting, or received your facts by calling and speaking to Dr. Benzeevi himself? Before you criticize make sure you have the facts and have exhausted your resources, they have been transparent and in my opinion stood in the line of fire while everyone has criticized them over the past issues that they were not involved in. And if that is still not enough and you do not believe the hospital will close, then study the California code and you can learn about earthquake standards for hospitals.

  11. I will have to completely disagree with you. The reason why our expectant mothers choose other hospitals is because our own Tulare Doctors push them to go else where. On July 27th I had the privilege to deliver my beautiful daughter at Tulare’s hospital and their is nothing that Tulare does not have that other hospitals have. It makes me very sad seeing people go to other hospitals because they had a bad experience 15 years ago! VOTE YES ON MEASURE I.

  12. Pretty simple a yes vote will bring Tulare into the 21st century. With the completion of the tower not only wI’ll there greater capacity for healthcare, but will also bring jobs well past those provided by the new hospital. A no vote is to bring an inevitable closing of the hospital without a miracle and a much larger bond being passed. A closing of the hospital is a huge loss of jobs and who would ever want to build a business with no emergency health care? If you are fine with those consequences then go ahead and vote no, but I know that my family and I will vote YES on measure I.

  13. i wish all of you could put yourself in the shoes of us…. The employees who work so hard day in and day out to provide our community with healthcare and service excellence. We have had chaos, instability, fear of job loss, salary cuts, harassment, etc. for the past 10 years! …..until HCCA came along and not only saved our hospital, but saved our staff! For the first time in a very long time we feel appreciated, motivated, inspired, and empowered to do our jobs beyond the best of our abilities……. In spite of all the negativity in the community around us. HCCA is the very BEST thing to happen to not only our team, but our community as well ! I encourage all of us to leave all this negativity in the past…. Let’s look to a positive future and vote YES on Measure I so we can continue to do what we do!!!

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