Letters: Public charge rule shouldn’t be cast as ‘heartless’


The Aug. 12 article “Religious rules continue to roil deals between religious and secular hospitals” missed the opportunity to offer the reader a more complete picture of what transpired in the discussions over a hospital partnership in Colorado and, more important, honor many of the founders of healthcare across our country—women and men of deep faith and conviction.

The founders of the organizations that established Centura Health were faith-filled individuals full of compassion who created communities starting in the 1800s in areas that millions now call home across Colorado and western Kansas. Seventh-day Adventists brought a different approach to healthcare, establishing places where they could teach others how to live a whole and healthy life in environments that weren’t even remotely either. Catholic nuns would often go up to mining camps and railroad sites with their little bags of medicine or whatever they had with them bringing compassion. It was dangerous work.

Today, we aren’t shy about this rich legacy and spirit. We fully embrace it, form our leaders with it, and work diligently to make it real and visible to every life, every neighbor, every community and every partner.

It is in that spirit that we have a well-developed understanding and reality of both the successes and challenges in partnerships, especially between religious and secular hospitals. In fact, back in 1996, few in our industry thought that Centura would ever last. Shared values, committed governance, brave CEOs, and an unrelenting focus from both AdventHealth and CommonSpirit Health and their founding organizations on what we share in common (rather than our differences) built an enduring and successful system for the past 
23 years.

In the Aug. 12 article, painting the failed partnership between Community Hospital Grand Junction and Centura Health as a religious directives issue, is both disingenuous and disappointing. There was far more to the discussions, process and decisionmaking. Unfortunately, the process resulted in significant lost opportunity for the community of Grand Junction, value-driven care on the Western Slope of Colorado, Community Hospital and Centura.

Peter Banko
President and CEO
Centura Health

The Aug. 19 editorial “Healing fractured minds, heart and bodies” included the following statement: “The public charge rule recently finalized ostensibly prevents immigrants from seeking healthcare through public programs or risk jeopardizing their chance at citizenship. What will providers do to stem any negative impact?”

It should be possible to debate the reasons for the public charge proposal, both pros and cons. The author interposes voluminous emotional pandering with gobs of virtue signaling that any objective discussion would be rendered as “heartless.”

There are valid reasons for the proposal, in terms of economics, more government deficit spending, attraction of immigrants for perverse reasons, to name a few. Resources are always limited; the question of how to intelligently allocate them will always persist. 

Certainly, empathy for appropriate temporary dependence on our welfare generosity should be factored into an outcome for those exempted. Real debate should never be closed off by suggesting contrary opinions are somehow not allowed based on an arrogant assumption of being in unique possession of “the moral high ground.”

Dr. Allan Dobzyniak
Eastport, Mich.

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