By Becky Borchers
I have taken the “Keep Akron’s Doctors” petition to the Care Center and found that the residents, their families, friends and staff were happy to sign. But all asked the same question, “What’s going on?”
It is obvious the doctors have a gag order in place, as their consistent responses have been “no comment.” Mercy, on the other hand, has been sadly able to spew almost comical statements of “disbelief” at this turn of events; a “sincere” desire to work things out; and/or promises of the continuation of services at the clinic with other doctors if need be.
I am personally appalled that Mercy thinks I am foolish enough to believe they are not behind our doctors’ resignations, or that I would be shallow enough to casually accept any doctors they bring in for replacements. I am also not as simple as they suggest when they state all will be fine with this change. All will not be fine. Akron is a wonderful town but has recently taken some serious financial hits with the loss of the car dealership, both bars and soon the bowling alley. To also lose our fine doctors would be another massive blow. Many Akron patients have vowed to follow our doctors if they practice nearby, and may shop in that other town instead of here. In addition, a huge number of patients travel countless miles to receive specialized treatment from these particular Akron doctors, and while here they shop, buy food, groceries and gas. Mercy can bring in new doctors but those patients will not travel to Akron to see them. Think of the financial losses these things alone would create!
I believe residents of Akron who have come to know and love our doctors need to look past their silence….deny the false witness presented by Mercy…and ignore the errant conclusions some people are developing. We need to remember these doctors are our friends, our coworkers, our fellow church participants, our active community members and our advocates. These doctors have cried with us and celebrated with us as we have experienced the good and bad of what life offers. We too have cried with and celebrated with these doctors as they have dealt with what life has handed them. We have rejoiced in the births of Dr. Allison and Paul Niles’ children. Drs. David and Cindie’s children were raised with ours in the community and we shared in the joy of their marriages and adulthood. We cheered them on as they did what was needed to adopt their two daughters. And, we also helped as we could when Drs. David and Cindie struggled to understand why their grandson was suddenly called home to God.
Like the doctors have done for us, we did the same for them by offering our love and compassion. This is not a common doctor/patient relationship. This is a family relationship. That said, although we may never know the reasons behind what is going on, we do know some things. These doctors are loyal to this community and to their patients. This is their home. This is where their hearts are. This is where their memories are. This is where they planned to retire. Would all three doctors simultaneously and abruptly submit their resignations without a huge force pushing them in a direction they clearly would not want to go? Absolutely not. Do they instead want to stay and continue to provide us with the loving and outstanding care they have given us over the years? Certainly. That said, let’s do what we can to avoid this potential tragedy.
Petitions are all over town and on Facebook to offer support to our doctors. Make sure to sign one. The ultimate goal of this movement is to encourage Mercy to terminate their lease on the Akron Clinic building. By doing so, our doctors and Mercy can part ways, which would enable our doctors to remain.
Mercy is apparently only concerned with their bottom line and not with the damage this type of short-sighted decision would cause. We therefore need to protect our community at all costs. A faltering Akron would have little impact on Mercy, but those who live here would certainly be affected. Mercy needs to understand their organization is not what is wanted here. We want our doctors.
Because Mercy appears to be only worried about the financial end of things, they should also consider that by choosing to stay, they will have a significant loss of future revenue, too. Many have indicated if our doctors are forced to leave, they will go to St. Luke’s instead of Mercy for all of their cares. My family and I agree.
So, what else can we do? Send letters to Mercy board members encouraging their reconsideration, and to our representatives explaining our plight. Perhaps we should also hold a peaceful protest march. I am willing to do whatever it takes to effect change. I do not want to be one who later says, “Gee, we should have done something.”
Send your letters in care of:
Traci Bornholtz, Mercy Medical Center, 801 5th St., Sioux City, IA 51101. She will get your letters to board members: James G. Fitzpatrick, Mercy President and CEO; Milt Avery, Chairman of the Board; Dr. Larry Volz, Vice Chairman of the Board; Sr. Maurita E. Soukup, Board Secretary; Douglas J. Boden; Annette Hamilton; Robert Houlihan; Dr. Daniel Kensinger; Barbara Orzechowski; Sr. Dolores Preisinger; and Sr. Michon Rozmajzl.
Congressman Steve King: Sioux City office: 120 Federal Bldg. 526 Nebraska St., Sioux City IA 51101, Phone 712-224-4692, Fax 712-224-4693…Washington DC office: 2210 Rayburn Office Bldg, Washington DC 20515, Phone 202-225-4426, Fax 202-225-3193
Senator Joni Ernst: Sioux City office, 194 Federal Bldg., 320 Sixth St., Sioux City IA 51101, Phone 712-252-1550, Fax 712-252-1638…Washington DC office: 111 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, Phone 202-224-3254, Fax 202-224-9369
Senator Charles Grassley: Sioux City office, 120 Federal Bldg., 320 Sixth St., Sioux City, IA 51101, Phone 712-233-1860, Fax 712-233-1634…Washington DC office: 135 Hart Senate Bldg., Washington DC 20510, Phone: 202-224-3744, Fax: 202-224-6020
Sen. Bill Anderson: Legislative E-mail: email@example.com, Home Address: 1138 Mason Ave, Pierson, IA 51048
Rep. Chuck Holz: Legislative E-mail: Chuck.Holz@legis.iowa.gov, Home Address: 17585 Lake Ave., LeMars, IA 51031