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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Outside View: Is Pullman’s hospital bond worth every penny?

Pullman voters may soon have to decide whether to support a $28 million bond to pay for a more robust, high-tech Pullman Regional Hospital.

The hospital has plans to build a $40 million, 45,000-square-foot health pavilion that it may need the public’s help to pay for.

The hospital says the expansion is largely because of continued growth in Pullman, where outpatient visits at Pullman Regional Hospital have climbed by 21 percent over the past five years. There is also more demand for family medicine physicians and specialty care. There would be a new facility for women’s and children’s health, therapeutic services and a new electronic medical record system if a bond is approved. The new facility, the hospital hopes, could be accomplished by 2020.

It is hard to argue against providing residents with bigger and better health care, but we hope Pullman voters still ask questions and think carefully about signing off on another bond. The voters recently approved a bond for a new city hall, recreation center and fire station. There was also the bond to renovate Pullman High School. This newest bond would essentially replace a current bond voters have already been paying off since 2001.

Yes, Pullman is growing. But is the hospital expanding and spending money at a rate that is sensible, given that Pullman is still, in the big picture, a small rural college town? Will the fancy new facility be used to its full potential?

This area is lucky enough to have two impressive hospitals within 10 miles of each other. Could Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman Regional Hospital work together to share resources in a way that would make a Pullman expansion unnecessary?

We do not know the answer to these questions, but we hope experts in the field do. No doubt the Pullman hospital and the services it provides are among the city’s most valuable assets. We just want to make sure that when it comes to tax dollars, residents are getting the most bang for their buck.


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