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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 6, 2009 at 5:01 PM

Virginia Mason Medical Center’s charity care

16-plus years serving most marginalized in Bailey-Boushay House

The Times reported Virginia Mason Medical Center (VM) provides less charity than other hospitals in the area, and that four community organizations accused it of “shortchange[ing] minorities and poor people” [“Report: Health-care disparities shortchange minorities, poor,” Local News, March 4].

This accusation ignores the compassionate care that VM has provided at Bailey-Boushay House for 16-plus years to some of the most marginalized people in our community: those with HIV/AIDS; those who suffer from addiction, homelessness, and mental health problems; those who speak little or no English; and those who are as poor as poor people can be.

I was a Bailey-Boushay board member for nine years, and I can tell you during that time, when every year it seemed like we might have to close our doors for lack of money or government support and, thus, turn away those who desperately needed care, it was only because of VM’s continued commitment that we stayed open.

It is also noteworthy that the ultimate goal of Bailey-Boushay, as stated in its strategic plan, is: “Equal access to positive outcomes.”

For those who might deign to criticize VM, please don’t look at just part of the story.

— Denis Stearns, Seattle

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