To the Editor:

I recently had the need to spend two days in the Salem Hospital and received a pending statement indicating the cost at over $52,000.

The major expenses were for the catheterization laboratory (cath lab) at $26,000, supplies at $9,300, room and board at $5,700 and the emergency room at $2,350. These costs are extremely high but undoubtedly necessary to run a first class hospital.

The hospital has to have staff and equipment on hand to handle emergencies like heart attacks, strokes and other trauma cases along with regular patient care. During the open house a couple of years ago, I learned that the hospital has three cath labs available if necessary. To me that is great because I would not like to be number two or three waiting for a cath lab to become available when seconds were crucial.

The same is true when you need an ambulance. When having a medical emergency, it is comforting to know that the Keizer Fire District has planned to have trained medical staff at your door within six minutes to provide lifesaving service. The people of Keizer will soon vote to increase ambulance service by annexing the Clear Lake area of Keizer. This will be accomplished without raising taxes. I hope we take advantage of this opportunity because I want an ambulance there when I need it.

Finally, because I have insurance and Medicare, the hospital nor the Fire District will receive full payment for service provided.  My concern is what happens to the people that don’t have insurance or Medicare and receive huge medical bills. That is something to think about!

Bill Quinn