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KOOTENAI HEALTH: Should become a 501c3

| September 18, 2022 1:00 AM

I served this community for 12 years as a neurosurgeon and for 12 more as a member of the board of directors of Kootenai Health. There are two institutions vital to our community: Kootenai Health and North Idaho College. Both are in jeopardy. This is due to the fact that both boards are vulnerable to takeover by persons of ill will, persons who do not have at heart the best interest of either institution or the community at large.

For NIC, the short-term answer is to elect the most honorable and qualified persons to that board; the same for Kootenai Health. The long-term answer for Kootenai Health is more complex. An elected hospital board, as opposed to an appointed board is an anachronism today. Among hospital boards the overwhelming majority are appointed. This insures that persons of quality who hold the best interest of the institution at heart are placed on its board. There is no place for politics in the workings of an institution responsible for the health of the citizenry.

During my tenure on the Kootenai board, we explored every means we could imagine to allow that board to become an appointed one. We failed to find a solution. Now a potential solution has been uncovered. Kootenai Health can become a 501c3 organization and have a more functional, dedicated, responsible hospital board. I heartily support this move.

ERNEST FOKES

Hayden Lake