Citizen believes proposal should be tabled

July 17, 2014 at 2:17 a.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

At Goliad Commissioners Court, a discussion arose about the possibility of a partnership with DeTar Healthcare System and the county for a 24-hour emergency room.

Representatives of DeTar, Bill Blanchard and Lisa Price, were there, as they had been approached by Judge David Bowman and Peggy Fonseca. Price stated that DeTar would be interested but stressed the fact that the land, building and all equipment would be owned by Goliad County and leased by DeTar. The emergency room would need to be furnished with all the necessary equipment, such as CAT scan machine and sonography lab, to be qualified as an accredited facility. The emergency room would be staffed and run by DeTar physicians, nurses and related personnel.

Price stated that if a patient was seen and determined to be a nonemergency, the patient would be discharged and referred to his or her family physician. If a patient needed a higher level of care, he or she would be stabilized and transferred to the hospital via emergency medical services.

It seems that this limits their patients to minor emergencies such as simple fractures and stitches. It's hard to believe this facility would generate enough income to function, much less repay Goliad County. I'm worried about Goliad being left with the responsibility of nonpaid bills by patients who won't pay DeTar. It is not a matter of if but when DeTar does not make a profit, they will close up and leave like it did when it had a clinic here.

Bowman estimates the cost would be $4 to $5 million.

I'm afraid that Goliad County would be stuck with an expensive, possibly unused, fully equipped emergency room building, plus a huge debt. On the bright side, though, Fonseca would get her new emergency medical services station that she has been wanting.

This decision is in the hands of the Commissioners Court. The judge, plus one or two commissioners, will be out of office in five months. I believe this proposal should be tabled until the start of 2015.

Concerned citizens need to talk to their commissioners and voice their opinion.

Debra Kelley, Goliad



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