Kentucky Senator calls Vineyard hospital funding ‘shameful’

The hospital says the $1M in funds will provide equipment to meet a growing demand.

Martha's Vineyard Hospital. -MV Times

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has secured $1.07 million in federal funds to supply medical equipment to help meet a growing demand, but a certain conservative Kentucky Senator sees the funding as reckless.

The funding, secured by Massachusetts Democrat Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, comes as part of the $1.2 trillion federal spending bill approved by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden on Saturday.

Island hospital officials say the federal money will help them meet the needs of a growing Vineyard population during a national crisis in healthcare capacity.

But before the bill’s approval, Rand Paul, a Republican Senator from Kentucky, cited the hospital’s funding as one of his ”Shameful 16″ earmarks in the $1.2 trillion package, akin to a March Madness bracket. An earmark is a way for a member of Congress to request that some money made available during the federal budget process go toward a project inside their district.

Hospital officials disagree with Paul, saying the funding is needed.

Claire Seguin, Chief Nurse and Vice President of Operations, welcomes the funding.

“Martha’s Vineyard Hospital has made critical investments to ensure it can continue to meet the needs of our community well into the future,” Seguin states.

According to the chief nurse, the funds directly address four areas of need at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

First, Seguin says they’ll be able to support 10 telemetry units in the hospital’s acute care wing, which will allow real-time patient monitoring. Currently, real-time patient monitoring in the hospital is limited to three intensive care unit beds and to the hospital’s emergency department. A telemetry unit is an area in a hospital where patients undergo continuous heart monitoring.

Funding will also go to purchasing a nitrous oxide sedation system for the hospital’s emergency department, which will make more services available for the department’s patients. Seguin says the system will allow these services to be provided faster and more efficiently.

Also, the purchase of a fiber-optic surgical system will help surgeons better navigate lighting and imaging during procedures, states Seguin.

Lastly, Seguin states that the federal funds will allow the purchase of a fluoroscopy unit. That will increase the hospital’s digital imaging capability, allowing faster results and better access for patients.

“These investments, made possible through federal funds, include equipment and infrastructure that will help us better confront significant challenges, including increased inpatient admissions for behavioral health, longer post-surgical stays, and patients with more acute illnesses,” Seguin said.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, however, saw differently on Friday before the bill’s approval. “[Paul] announced his 2024 March Earmark Madness Tournament consisting of the most egregious earmarks in the $1.2 trillion spending bill,” states a release from his office. The million dollars for the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital was one of the sixteen earmarks that Paul objected to, including funds for a range of energy, workforce training, education, arts and other projects. Other earmarks on Paul’s list requested $2 million for the University of Maine for a kelp and shellfish nursery, $1.7M for wind energy workforce education and training in New York, $1.5 million to expand the gaming industry in New York, $150,000 for culinary training in Connecticut, and more.

Paul’s office arranged the 16 earmarks into a playoff bracket, asking users of X (formerly Twitter) to vote for a winner. “$1M to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, one of the richest areas in the US,” reads the hospital’s spot in Paul’s bracket.

In a statement, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital did not directly address Paul’s statements.


    • Lovely comment from anyone let alone a woman. Another woman used””wtf”” in her post. Wonderful.

      • Exactly, Andrew. The liberal left has proven its vulgarity, antisemitism, and willingness to dehumanize anyone who disagrees with their group think. It’s so obvious it hurts. The moderator allows it in comments and letters.

        The fantasy that liberals believe in inclusivity, respectful discourse, and tolerance of differences could not be more of a lie. And it could not stand out more in what this newspaper hosts in its comments, letters, and opinion pieces. And the moderator censors the strongest objections to much of the most disgusting lies they have no problem publishing. I will be surprised if this makes it in, even though I have not called anyone a piece of excrement. That’s allowed. Justified criticism is not.

        The moderator and news editor has allowed the lowest common denominator to prevail, unable to manage even the most ridiculously troll comments that are all over the comment feature like a bad rash, let alone the dehumanizing vulgarities and antisemitic lies. It’s sad to see that what Doug Cabral tried to bring to the community get hijacked like this by the intolerant, hateful, antisemitic liberal left.

        There is now no issue or candidate that liberals are behind that I can support. I have been accused of the worst, most repulsive lies in these pages. It opened my eyes to the individuals who gaslight and lie, but also to what the MVTIMES has done to itself.

        • “The liberal left has proven its vulgarity, antisemitism, and willingness to dehumanize anyone who disagrees with their group think.”
          I don’t think you are even aware of the irony of that comment.

        • Jackie Keep the faith. Keep fighting for your beliefs. They are not wrong. Even if they are I appreciate hearing them and possibly learning something.

      • The liberals and progressives who pretend to have compassion, be inclusive and tolerant, and favor respectful discourse, in fact viciously dehumanize whole groups of people into maggots and
        excrement and lustful baby killers. If they’re trying to tell us they are vulgar, they can stop because we already know that too.

      • andy– so women can’t use acronyms that some
        may find offensive,
        But men can talk about grabbing women by ‘that”
        part of their body and evangelical christians
        can just write that off as “locker room talk” and vote for
        that POS to be the president of the U.S .
        That’s pretty sick . WWJD ?

  1. Maybe Sen Rand Paul should do a bit more research before making assumptions about the economic makeup of a place. While it is true we have many wealthy homeowners, the reality is that the average income of residents here are “making around $65,067 per year, or the hourly rate of $31”. This is on an island where the costs for housing, gas, groceries etc are comparable to those living in NY city. I actually like Sen Rand Paul and am disappointed he didn’t do a bit more research before throwing us all under the bus. Maybe it’s time for politicians to look beyond the party line and think about the Americans they all represent.

    • Hmmm……does completing your pre-med requirements at Baylor University in two and a half years and then graduating from Duke Medical School make someone a quack?

        • Yes I am sure. Especially Harvard. Good point Albert. But there is more likely leftist’s like the previous commenter who are clueless.

      • John–graduating from school and getting
        a license to practice medicine does not make one
        a “quack”. But it also doesn’t prevent someone from
        thinking like a “quack” and having quack-y thoughts,
        and then opening their mouth and saying “quack-y” things
        so we can all understand just how much of a quack they
        actually are.

      • What he says every time he opens his mouth certifies him as a quack. I’ve met a few Harvard “educated” people who are complete fools. Ted Cruz comes to mind. He pretends to be a medical doctor. He’s not. He WAS an ophthalmologist who isn’t even Board certified. So, yes. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck …

  2. We should be thinking Rand Paul for pointing out the waste in federal government. The taxpayer is treated as a money tree that keeps growing. Some of these earmarks may do some good, but most are just gilding the lily. Even our hospital trying to justify the money does not sound like any urgent need.

    • According to the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, in 2022 Kentucky received about $14 million in grants and Massachusetts received $2.6 million….
      Dr. Paul Needs to focus on the waste in his home state welfare health system.

  3. According to the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, in 2022 Kentucky received about $14 million in grants and Massachusetts received $2.6 million. Massachusetts has almost twice the population. The only thing shameful about this is the state of healthcare in America.

    • Virginia, Kentucky, New Mexico and West Virginia get the most back from the federal government, raking in far more than they contribute. That’s what real representation looks like. Maybe Mass should start sending people to DC who actually fight for their constituents like Rand Paul. Mass has been sending the same liberal dolts who only care about their power. That’s why Mass ranks near the last of getting money back from DC. So stop complaining liberals, you get what you vote for. I’m sure Kentucky is thanking Rand Paul. Why wouldn’t you thank him he is wiping the senate floor with likes of Warren and Markey.

  4. No one is mentioning that people with serious illnesses often must go off-island or move to have better access to their required care. 1.2 million dollars won’t touch that problem.

    • No one is mentioning that people with serious illnesses often must go off-Cape or move to have better access to their required care.
      Just another reason that living on the Cape and Islands is so awful .

      • Opthamology and dermatology aren’t really that “specialty” and most old people need both for their common cataracts and skin cancers. Optometrists are not medical doctors and last I checked, there was no full-time resident skin doctor. Forget most cancer and cardiac treatments, the most likely killer for most of us. People have to go off for most of those issues.

        (Is there a reason to allow endless and useless troll comments from one troller, Sam?)

    • Likely an “any island” problem… populations too small to support resident specialty care providers.

  5. The states that keep the government solvent are the ones where taxpayers contribute more than they get back. At the top of that list are Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York, which all receive 83 cents in federal spending for every dollar they contribute. Guess what else they have in common. And for the simple minded progressive liberal who can’t figure it out these states have been sending ineffective liberals to DC to allegedly represent us. Our elected representatives in MA and NJ are failing us. Just tax and spend and who cares who gets the short end of the stick so long as they stay in power.

    • Carl– Interesting about how much the blue states get back
      compared to what they put in. So let me ask– where do you think
      that 17 cents on the dollar goes? Well I can tell you– it goes to
      red states that don’t have a clue as to how to run an effective
      government. It seems pretty twisted to think that prosperous states
      supporting poorer states in THE UNITED STATES is somehow
      a symptom of failure by the prosperous states.

      • Don, first of all no states are prosperous when every state is in debt. As a country we are 39 trillion adding another trillion every 100 days in interest alone. If the red states are so ineffective then why prop them up? It’s rewarding bad behavior. As far as twisted thinking we have been at each other throats for the last ten years. Seems to me that we are far from united and more divided. Don, the people in blue states are very successful in makes lots of money their failure is electing people who don’t fight for their constituents. People rag on Rand Paul but he brings home 1.14 dollars for every 1.00 they send to DC. And that’s with the Dems in charge. But as you will see in today’s papers 70 percent of the budget goes to entitlements. It’s unsustainable. And that 17 cents also goes to fighting wars in other countries and killing innocents as you have pointed out.

        • Carl– “at each other’s throats” ? That’s pretty bad and
          not how I see our relationship. I thought we were having
          a reasonable debate.
          As a liberal, I would say we prop them up because
          they are fellow Americans and if we didn’t, they would suffer.
          But I know that you think getting handouts from the federal
          government is not a good thing . It seems ironic that
          you are praising Paul for being good at the “gimmee money”

  6. I am sure that Mr. Paul knows that money could
    be better spent on 75 two thousand pound bombs that
    we could give to a foreign country to drop on civilian
    populations. Now that’s something to be proud of.

    • So, making a barely veiled antisemitic dig about how this country should not support its greatest ally in the Middle East in its fight for existence in a war they did not start or want, the only democracy there, the only place where Jews, Christians and Muslim Arabs of all sexual orientation and gender can live, work, and worship freely and safely, is okay and pride-worthy? Supporting the lies and propaganda from terrorist savages who want to eradicate Israel and all Jews is nothing to be proud of, but every comment objecting to being an ally to our friends is a shameful disgrace.

      When this war is over, Israel will have advanced the near-impossible and deadly tasks of urban warfare to a remarkable level of civilian protection, and the world will follow how Israel has performed in rooting out terrorists hiding among their own babies in their end goal to kill all Jews. Israel cares more about innocent civilians than Hamas.

      As long as there are humans there will be wars. Some people are not aware enough to stand on the right side of history however.

    • Keller, do you understand what an ally is? Do you know that allies support each other, stick together, and do not betray each other? I hope you never know how it feels to have a person, a group, or even a country betray your trust, turn their back on you, and criticize you for wanting to exist, all the while lashing out against you in your time of need. You’re on the wrong side of history.

      • Jackie– I am sure you are proud of the republican parties’
        presidential candidate for stating that he will not support
        our allies in Europe and letting Russia know that it’s dictator
        can do whatever the hell he wants in Europe while he relentlessly
        attacks civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. But it seems you couldn’t
        care less about that– and it’s easy to tell why.
        Only one half of one percent of the population is Jewish

        Do you understand what an ally is? Do you know that allies support each other, stick together, and do not betray each other?
        But, if one of your allies is being accused of war crimes and genocide
        by nearly the entire world do we have to support those actions ?
        Do we have to applaud while a deliberately induced famine ravages
        through a population of 2 million people, of which half are children.
        Do we have to applaud while tanks and bulldozers reduce their hospitals
        to Rubble?
        We can still support the state of Israel without encouraging them
        to perpetrate atrocities on a civilian population.
        No one is criticizing Israel for wanting to exist, But I will
        certainly criticize them for their actions in Gaza.
        There is nothing anti semitic about it.

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