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Opinion >  Letters

Letters for April 29, 2022

UPDATED: Fri., April 29, 2022


Providence claims to express “God’s healing love” by providing health care “serving all, especially those who are poor and vulnerable.”

Recent events suggest otherwise.

In February the state attorney general asserted that 14 Providence hospitals violated the Charity Care Act – that, over a two-year period, Providence sent 46,783 accounts of the “poor and vulnerable” to debt collectors; and that those accounts totaled $53 million in charity-eligible care. Internal Providence documents and insider testimony support the claim that Providence steered charity-eligible patients away from benefits of the Charity Care Act – by training personnel to do so with a formal revenue-pumping scheme called RevUp. This is systematic exploitation of the “poor and vulnerable.”

In March, Providence agreed to pay $1.4 million for failing to disclose its switchover to an out-of-network testing lab, resulting in excess charges to more than 6,400 patients.

It gets worse. The S-R recently reported Providence will pay $22.7 million to settle claims of fraudulent billing for surgeries never performed in Walla Walla, and for concealing the malpractice of doctors who performed botched surgeries there. (Typically in such cases, providers double down on fraud by billing for the corrective surgery too.)

From the outside looking in, Providence seems to have taken on a corporate persona where greed, not charity, drives its mission. It seems to indulge in corporate-like crime while wearing a not-for-profit charitable robe as a public relations costume. Sadly, that’s an altogether different culture than the genuine charitable culture of its roots under Sister Peter Claver.

Steven McNutt


Camp Hope

’Twas the week before Christmas when the city of Spokane posted an eviction notice to Camp Hope, giving the residents 48 hours to clear out. They had violated the city ordinance forbidding anyone from sitting or lying on the pavement, near City Hall.

Camp Hope then moved to WSDOT property in East Central. No city leaders live or work nearby, so no evictions will be issued.

A recent police report states that crime is up over 50% since Camp Hope moved to their current location. As anyone but city leaders can imagine, neighbors are growing weary of the garbage and human waste on and near their property. And vandalism? Oh yeah, this is not about sitting or lying on the pavement. Some incidents are a threat to human life, some acts of theft and vandalism are costly (but only to East Central residents and businesses), and some are a constant annoyance.

Do the city leaders care? Better to ask the residents and businesses near Camp Hope. Could the city help the residents and businesses near Camp Hope? Yes, but it could be an inconvenience. The city could enforce a few codes, even if they have to cite the homeless. The city could add security patrols, fences to catch the litter, maybe even station a few poop buckets around the neighborhood to make clean up easier.

City Hall, the good people of East Central care about their backyards too. Lend a hand to help the residents and businesses near Camp Hope.

Jerry Bishop


Climate change

After reading an article about scientists protesting climate change, I’ve realized that I’ve been approaching the situation wrong. To clarify, I’ve put climate change in the ancient box in my closet labeled Societal Problems for the Future.

There are many issues in the world that I put in that box. Racism, poverty, classism, homophobia, and countless other prejudices plague humankind like a fever people can’t sweat out. These problems have persisted since civilization started, so it’s no surprise that they’re so ingrained in people’s behaviors and beliefs. People have been improving, but it’s a long process to change the way you think, view, and perceive things.

The important thing to remember is that climate change isn’t a problem that requires slow work like the aforementioned. Carbon emissions, fossil fuel, and the disposal of plastic haven’t been around long. Neither has deforestation, ocean pollution, nor the rising temperature. Earth’s recent environmental nosedive is relatively new. This shows that it’s not irreversible yet. The natural beauty in the world can still be preserved and fostered.

However, if we keep treating the recent climate change like our societal issues, nothing will improve. If anything, it will make the box even heavier. We can’t keep relying on recycling, turning off the lights, and using reusable materials to heal Earth. Scientists have the equipment to begin carrying the box of Climate Change. We just need to trust them to accomplish it.

Brianna Terrell


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