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Letters to the Editor July 11, 2013

Critical Access may be best way to keep hospital

I have been a very proud employee of Sutter Coast Hospital for almost three years. During my 42 year career in health care I have worked in large teaching facilities, and small Critical Access hospitals.

When deciding on where to work I had my choice of many facilities, both large and small; owned by large companies and privately owned. The biggest contributors to my choice for Sutter Coast Hospital were that it is a small rural facility, but also has the benefit of the backing of the Sutter Health System.

Small, privately owned hospitals have a much more difficult time in today’s economy meeting salaries, paying vendors and by and large staying solvent. I can speak from experience on these small hospitals with their layoffs and cut-backs during hard economic times.

Having the backing of Sutter means that our local hospital can stay open during our current difficult economy. Because I have only been here for the three years, I do not know all the background of the Healthcare District/ Sutter contract, but I do know who built the hospital, who pays the salaries and benefits and who has been forward-thinking to preserve health care in Del Norte County.

As far as the dire warnings from some in the community about the hospital becoming Critical Access, I would urge residents of the area to go to the California Critical Access Hospital website, www.ccahn.org. There you can find all the true data about the program and the ways in which the program has been able to keep small rural hospitals open and providing for residents.

Call the hospitals within the northern part of California such as Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna, Fairchild Medical Center in Yreka and Mercy Mt. Shasta in Mt. Shasta. These hospitals are part of 19 Critical Access hospitals north of Sonoma.

Not only have Critical Access hospitals been able to expand services, but by and large they are thriving. If Sutter Coast Hospital needs to go the route of Critical Access, don’t worry. It is not the “big bad wolf” some would make it out to be.

I have wondered, if our community loses our Sutter affiliation, can the backers of the Healthcare District pay the salaries, benefits and bills for our hospital?

Michaella Novello, Crescent City 

Supervisors were right to suspend Alexander

Praise be to the county supervisors! The state Bar basically made the decision to fire Jon Alexander as district attorney; he has been put on inactive status for practicing law. That gives him no right to even be in the DA’s Office.

His job is gone; it doesn’t matter if he is fighting the state Bar or not, that is on him, not this county. It will take at least a year if not longer for the wheels of justice to turn for him and no one has the answer to the outcome of that.

So, Jon, take your unpaid leave, which I believe should become permanent. Just the fact that he believes he should be back on the payroll shows his total lack of concern for our community and what he has cost us. His antics have been in the newspapers from here to San Diego, it’s a total embarrassment to everyone here. Find a new job, Jon.

Jack McCutcheon, Crescent City

Nice job on the series about Pelican Bay

I’d like to thank the Triplicate for the four-part series on Pelican Bay State Prison, Inside the SHU, June 22–29. I believe it’s important that citizens in this area be made aware of what PBSP is all about, as it’s in their back yard.

In the last article, both sides of the Security Housing Unit issue were summed up rather well. Warden Greg Lewis was accurate when he said that men housed in the SHU were there because of their decisions in life. Gang members said they “should have their human rights respected.”

Let me see if I have this straight. Inmates decide to continue their gang activities while in prison, knowing full well there is a SHU program for such behavior. They are sent to the SHU and don’t like it because it disrupts their ongoing criminal enterprise. They object and “demand” the SHU be modified to their liking. They can choose to debrief (get out of the gangs) but elect not to; yet still complain about being housed in the SHU.

Every inmate in Pelican Bay’s SHU earned his placement there through his choices (violent behavior, gang activity, etc.). Having a SHU program helps to protect other inmates who are trying to just do their time and get out. 

My suggestion to the SHU inmates:

 stop whining about the consequences of your choices in life. It’s the first step in becoming an asset to society.

Mike Wiley, Brookings

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