The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Published: Monday, February 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Values seem lost on business side

Recently a letter came in the mail from Providence Health Care System threatening legal action if my account was not paid in full. This stems from day surgery I underwent in August 2012. Upon receiving this letter, I telephoned them in an attempt to clear this up. Surely it was sent in error, since I had been regularly making monthly payments of $25 since the date of the surgery.
As I waited, a recording thanked me for choosing Providence as my medical care provider because of its "state of the art facility with emphasis on hometown values ... At Providence, we're here for you, and we genuinely care." I actually had a sentimental moment during this, as I was born there.
Unfortunately, those feelings were short-lived. In talking to the business office representative, I was informed that my payments were unacceptable, and that the minimum amount must be at least $40. I was stunned! The individual I spoke with was not acting on her own; she put me on hold in order to validate her response.
So much for those "hometown values" -- I'm sorry that my cancer came back -- that my employer did not offer a better health plan (irrelevant now -- he shuttered the business permanently during Christmas without warning).
I'm sorry that I've endured four layoffs in the last five years, the first at a major corporation where I worked for over 20 years. I'm sorry that my home in Bothell went into foreclosure as a result. I'm sorry that my $25 payment is below what Providence feels I can afford.
Nobody lays their head down at night hoping they wake up the next day to financial instability, and the embarrassment it brings.
Shame on you, Providence, for kicking people when they're down! Where's your sense of morality?
Carla White
Lake Forest Park
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Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor:

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer:

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor:

Josh O'Connor, Publisher:

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Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at or 425-339-3472.