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Reader Opinion: Don't refuse treatment

I was dismayed to see news in a recent Brainerd Dispatch that Essentia Health is refusing to treat severely mentally ill patients in their Brainerd facility. Essentia Health has gradually taken over health services in our region while taking great pains to convince us that this is a good thing. They would have us believe health service in our area has been expanded, upgraded and improved—all very much to the patient's advantage. I disagree. I feel they have added another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy to the health care system and, in some ways, we are being over served. Why do we need coffee, patient lounges or people sending forms to fill out that we've filled out every time we see the doctor? Why is someone calling me at 5 in the afternoon asking me why I take a certain doctor-prescribed antihistamine?

"We've had staff assaulted," states an Essentia official and the decision to exclude some mentally ill patients "was not one Essentia took lightly." I understand mentally ill patients can be extremely difficult but can you not prepare for it as you would for a medical epidemic? Can you not be ready, train personnel and expand facilities to be able to serve all mentally ill people?

I see no need for these large health conglomerates such as Essentia, CentraCare, Sanford, etc. But they are here and I believe they should drop some of their arrogant, profit, profit, profit goals and step up to care for the mentally ill. One would think they should not refuse to treat anyone. Also any state official or federal for that matter, who does not assist in any way that they can in this matter of a huge health crisis of our time, should be voted out of office or forced from their jobs.

Mary Engstrom

Pequot Lakes

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