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As a physician who practiced at both Missoula hospitals for 32 years I found Annelise Hedahl's letter regarding the Community Medical Center sale insulting.

I served on multiple medical staff committees. I count ex-Community CEO Grant Winn a friend.

I am unaware of a formal association of the Billings Clinic with the Mayo Clinic. Many physicians here refer cases elsewhere, including the Mayo Clinic, universities of Washington and Utah, and are clinical professors associated with these institutions. The Billings Clinic is not special in this regard.

Do we not already have many of the nation's "top" physicians at both hospitals? Does only the Billings Clinic recruit "top" doctors? Does this mean Community has failed to recruit "top" doctors in the past?

That comment is a slap in the face of Missoula physicians. 

The merger will not promote healthy competition. Consolidation of heath care is the norm. There are few primary care physicians in Missoula who are independent. Most are now employees of one entity or another. Referral patterns are established by the network you work for.

The merger will force St. Patrick Hospital to open an OB unit, which will dilute experience and levels of expertise of physicians and staff.

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The CEO of Regional Care Hospital Partners is Marty Rash. They are the unmentioned "partner." They have the money. He developed Province Healthcare system for profit which he sold to Life Point in 2005 for $1.7 billion.

Who pays for this profit? 

The patients pay. 

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There is an interesting article about his past in the Nashville newspaper. You should read it.

Make no mistake, there will be only one hospital system in Missoula in 10 years. There will be only one "winner." It will be whoever has the most money and staying power, Sisters of Providence or Regional Health Care.

Thomas A. Layne,

Missoula

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