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What you don't know could kill you

by ANNE PATTERSON/Guest Opinion
| May 17, 2022 1:00 AM

Breaking news: Kootenai Health will soon close its addiction recovery program and psychiatry practice due to staffing shortages and years of “chronic underfunding.” Meanwhile, Idaho officials have agreed to a $119 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson over their role in the opioid addiction crisis. Kootenai Health. could receive their first payment in the next few weeks. All funds must be spent on opioid remediation programs.

Hey, weren’t 22% of the total staff of 3,700 workers at KMC forced to claim exemptions from the vaccine requirement or be fired, while another group chose to be terminated rather than get the vaccine, reportedly leading to an influx of imported workers (from the military and the U.N) to keep the doors open? How many of these 814 workers left or were terminated rather than work in that hostile environment?

KBH is described as: A Chemical Dependency private rehab located in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. specializing in the treatment of alcoholism, opioid addiction, and mental health and substance abuse. Sounds like this program qualifies for funding under the terms of the new monies!

Why is such an essential program, in our community for so many years, now being closed due to lack of funds and lack of staffing? Could it be that, like our city government, county government and Community College, the people in charge have not represented the interests of the community as a whole? Could it be that the board of trustees and possibly the administration at KMC are self serving or seriously misguided and need to be replaced?

I hope the voters continue to awaken. The buck not only stops with us, it is coming out of our pockets! We are responsible for these institutions and the decisions they make. We can’t know what we don’t know unless we dig deep. And you know what they say, what you don’t know can kill you.

If we want a different outcome the next time an epidemic rolls through our state, we must find and replace those responsible for the choices that led us to the loss of committed medical staff and programs like Kootenai Behavioral Health, which has been and must remain, front and center, available to all who need it.

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Anne Patterson is a Coeur d’Alene resident.

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