Time to get angry, prevent downsizing of hospital
Just over eight months ago I wrote a letter to the editor expressing my concern regarding the transfer of ownership of Sutter Coast Hospital to Sutter Health. That concern has not abated, but has increased significantly by the events that have transpired since then.
First, the chief of staff of the hospital, Dr. Greg Duncan, has apparently been placed on double-secret probation by the Dean (see “Animal House,” the movie) of the Sutter Health legal team and is not allowed to attend certain parts of meetings of the Board of Directors. The reason for Sutter’s action is that Dr. Duncan has been deemed a subversive (see Joe McCarthy, the Red Scare) because he has publicly stated that he thinks Sutter Coast Hospital should honor the promises it made to this community when it was given monopoly privilege over hospital care in our region.
The promises as written in the original agreement between Sutter Health and the Del Norte Healthcare District are: Sutter Coast Hospital will be governed by a board, the majority of whose members will be residents of Del Norte County. The quality of care provided to patients by Sutter Coast Hospital shall meet or exceed the quality of care presently provided at the existing hospital. (Lease Agreement page 2, 3/19/1987.)
Second, it has been discovered that there are two studies that have been conducted regarding the downsizing of Sutter Coast Hospital to Critical Access status, reducing the number of beds to 25. The problem is Sutter Health will not allow anyone in the community to see the documents. Where is Daniel Ellsberg when you need him? (See Pentagon Papers).
A call to action might be to follow John Belushi’s lead in “Animal House”: “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?” or would it be more appropriate to stand at the window and shout as Howard Beale (see “Network,” the movie) did: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”
If nothing happens to change the direction of Sutter, we may not have a community economically viable to survive the next decade.
Jim Coston, Crescent City
We’re going downhill; no leadership to stop it
As Sutter Health works quietly behind the scenes to take over our hospital and regionalize it, we need to get some serious action going to stop this! Our community has seen the lumber industry vanish and the fishing industry decimated. We brought in a huge prison which was supposed to make us a “boom town” but instead clogs our justice system and pulls in bad elements of our society, along with a terrible rise in drug trafficking.
We now see a new super-Walmart up and running, without regard for the smaller businesses in our community who are trying to make it but probably can’t compete. (Please support your local grocery stores/hardware stores!)
Where is the leadership in this town/this county? Evidently the will to do big things is not present in their thinking. If our hospital is lost to Sutter because of ineptitude, complacency, fear, or just plain ignorance, we will have no one but ourselves to blame as we see our economy and way of life tilt downward for lack of decent medical care. No thinking person would move his family here knowing that they would have to be shipped out for anything other than a minor illness. What competent physician would be willing to set up practice here?
Lilyan Wood, Crescent City
Del Norte better off without Sutter Health
I want to say thank you to Dr. Greg Duncan and the other physicians and community leaders who are working tirelessly to keep Sutter Health from further reducing the availability and quality of health care in our community.
I am concerned about the potential human cost to the citizens of Del Norte, should Sutter Health continue and succeed in its quest to regionalize Sutter Coast Hospital and downgrade it to a critical access facility.
There are countless medical scenarios where the delays involved in transporting patients out of the area could mean the difference between life and death. Family members whose presence with the patient is crucial for the patient’s treatment and recovery will also be heavily affected by increased out-of-area care.
Traveling the long distances to hospitals in other cities is a hardship for many and impossible for some. It’s also expensive for all, and prohibitive for many.
Many hospital positions have already been lost as a result of Sutter Health consolidating business services elsewhere. How many more jobs will be lost at the hospital and in the community if Sutter Health receives a green light to do as it pleases, without regard to the desires and needs of the community it partners with and serves?
The manner in which Sutter Health has been systematically and unilaterally reducing the availability of medical care to the citizens of Del Norte County is unconscionable.
The better choice for our community is to pursue contracting with a health corporation, such as Asante, that will expand medical services here, not downsize them.
Elizabeth C. Green, Crescent City
We need large-capacity guns; alcohol our biggest problem
In response to the Jan. 17 Coastal Voices piece, “Yes, citizens do need large-capacity guns,” I agree with this person’s point of view.
I also wonder why our elected officials cannot deal with the worst of all child safety issues: alcohol.
There are 10,000 times more innocent child fatalities due to booze then all other fatal causes. Perhaps we need to ban large-capacity bottles.
Wait, that would hinder the amount of huge tax dollars earned from their sale. Scrap that idea. That would limit their funds for buying $1,000 shovels and $120,000 bathrooms in their personal homes.
Vote, but vote non-incumbent. They’ll get the idea after a few years. Lose the partisan bickering.
Randy Hodson, Crescent City
Enough with inflammatory statements about guns
Regarding the Jan. 17. Coastal Voices piece, “Yes, citizens do need large-capacity guns,” this is a call to encourage some mentally unhinged person to see this as a call to civil war.
Idea of using wastewater to heat pool smells bad
How comforting to know pool users wont be swimming in wastewater (“Unique way to heat pool considered,” Jan. 10).
With nearly a million dollars to be spent for design, excavation, installation and maintenance between the two buildings, payback time may be 15–20 years. Installation of an electrically heated pool and building, expertly designed and installed, would seem to have a much longer life, not dependent on the wastewater plant and a shorter payback period.
I doubt there is another wastewater heated pool anywhere. The whole idea smells bad.
Bob Douglas, Smith River
Non-service dogs in stores is disrespectful
I live in Brookings so was pleased when the Walmart in Crescent City expanded to become a super-center and therefore offering an expanded grocery shopping opportunity.
On Sunday, Jan. 13, my friend and I visited Walmart. As we were shopping, we noticed, or rather heard, dogs barking. Upon approaching the check-out area, there was a woman with two small dogs in her cart. One was enclosed in a carrier in the basket and the other was sitting on a blanket in the child seat.
Both dogs were barking as the woman unloaded her items at the self-check, and proceeded to try and quiet the dogs by yelling at them to shut up. There were also words of profanity interspersed. These were definitely not service animals, and my friend and I wondered why these dogs were even in the store.
Then, as we were leaving with our purchases, we passed a line of people at the Service Desk and noticed a man with a large dog on a leash just leaving the counter. This dog was clearly not a service animal either.
Rep. Huffman refuses to disclose his positions
Many of us may be surprised to know that, due to redistricting, we have a new congressman. Jared Huffman of San Raphael now represents Del Norte County in District 2.
I frequently wrote to Rep. Mike Thompson when he was our representative and I always received a reply. I did not always agree with Mike, but at least he took the time to share his positions with me. Mr. Huffman, not so much.
I have written several letters to Rep. Huffman since he was sworn in. I received no response to any of my written inquiries. Understanding that the congressman may not have established a system for reviewing consitutent mail as of yet, I called his office is Washington, D.C., to obtain a better understanding of where he stood on three particular issues.
The specif issues were gun control, deficit reduction and federal funding for Planned Parenthood. I spoke to a staffer in the congressman’s office who informed me that, although the congressman had opinions on these issues, his staff were not allowed to share these with me.
When I pushed for answers, I was told someone knowledgeable from his staff would respond via email. A few days later I received an email that said the congressman was involved in setting up his office and was unable to provide answers to the issues I had requested.
I called the congressman’s office again, demanding an answer to my questions and was transferred to a gentleman who refused to inform me of what the congressman’s position was on any of the issues important to me. I reiterated that I was a constituent and entitled to know what his position was and again was rebuffed.
Gitlin's debut was a study in group dynamics
1st District Supervisor Roger Gitlin’s debut as a sitting board member Jan. 8 was a study in group dynamics from my perspective.
I was disappointed in his delayed welcome to the board as a new member in several aspects; the first being that he was not acknowledged as welcome by Chairman Mike Sullivan until after introduction of new employees and committee reports 10 minutes after the opening of the meeting. One would expect that a new board member would be be acknowledged as welcome to the board and to the public in his/her official capacity as the first order of business.
His eventual welcome came in a somewhat incidental manner, as if to say “oh! by the way, glad to have you aboard” or something similar 10 minutes after the opening.
The disappointment was furthered by Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen with his remark of hoping Mr. Gitlin would do as well as departing Supervisor McNamer had.Not exactly a vote of confidence nor a note of welcome.
Although subtle, there was a noticeable seating distance between the positioning of Supervisor Gitlin’s chair/microphone setup from that of the other members’. I wondered if this was a sort of rite for incoming members.
Supervisor McClure’s placing of a bottle of water at Supervisor Gitlin’s space as she entered was a nice touch and might be considered a non-verbal welcome.
As the meeting went forward and people were invited to speak per the agenda, the most notable aspect was Supervisor Gitlin’s engagement with the presenters, largely consisting of questions.
Obama a bad choice
Those who voted for President Obama’s re-election should have done your homework, and here are some of the reasons:
He buys votes by giving our money to various groups such as unions, money bundlers,or increasing time on unemployment. According to the Wall Street Journal of April 19, 2012, food stamps were used by 45 million people; a 70 percent increase from 2007, and this will continue to grow through 2014. He is buying votes.
According to The Foundry dated Oct. 18 2012, 18 of 33 companies that have been offered or received our money have gone bankrupt and the others have filed for bankruptcy. Many of the CEO’s have been bundlers for Obama.
The Institute for Energy on Nov. 6, 2009, stated that “Obama’s stimulus plan of $1.05 billion went to overseas companies, not to our companies.
The New York Times reported on Aug. 23, 2012, the income of those between 55 and 64 years of age declined from $53,508 to $50,064 during the period since the recovery officially started in 2009.
The Examiner reported on July 24, 2012, that Obamacare will cost us $4 billion more in taxes. This president often uses the term “the rich should pay their fair share,” but he never states what that amount should be, instead he uses that as a means to divide groups of people.
Also, if you listen to him he never mentions the 48 percent of people who do not pay any federal income taxes. Why? He knows they will vote for him and he, as a Chicago politician, buys votes.
No one has responded to my question about what the difference is between President Obama’s desire to share the wealth and the communists' statement “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
I don’t know why liberals are unable or unwilling to see who this person is; i.e., someone who has a deep aversion for our Constitution and is destroying our freedoms and the greatness of America. I hate to see what he is doing, and liberals either have no clue or are willing to keep their heads in the sand.
Marlowe Thompson, Crescent City
To thief of my tools ...
This letter is to the “tweaker” who stole my carpet tools on Sunday night.
Twenty years ago I’d have hunted you down like a dog and made you pay a serious price for your transgression against me.
Instead, I’ve decided to forgive you because I also was a “speed freak” in my early life. And I did some things I truly regret because of my addiction to meth.
But one day at the end of my miserable life, I reached out to Jesus Christ and he forgave me and asked me to do the same and he would make things right.
Well, I’ve been clean over 20 years now and even though the old me cries out for your blood, I forsake my anger and revenge and offer to you the same forgiveness that he offered me.
Make no mistake, brothers and sisters, as you sow, so shall you reap.
Edmund Sinicrope, Crescent City
How Sutter Health laid waste to Auxiliary
How Sutter Health laid waste to the Sutter Coast Auxiliary (volunteers): Their first step was to make us a department of the hospital. Volunteers have always been a stand-alone unit in the hospital they serve, never a unit of the hospital. By making us a department of the hospital, it gave them the opportunity to take us over.
First under the guise of making things easier, they relieved us of our bookkeeping. Followed by closing all our accounts and moving them to their bank under the umbrella of the hospital.
But this was not the end of it. When they took the accounts, they also took our checkbook. At this point we are now unable to pay our expenses, or issue checks for any purchases, such as merchandise for the gift shop. We must now give them something like a work-order to issue checks on our behalf.
But even that was not the end of it. A few months ago came the final blow, when the Auxiliary Board voted to drop our bylaws. When this was done we ceased to be an Auxiliary, but were reduced to a department of unpaid employees, who happen to wear green smocks. Finally, whatever monies we bring in from our gift shop or the many fundraisers need to be turned over to the accounting office that night.
Marie Timm, Crescent City
Point of park officers if they don't respond?
I’d like to know what the point is of having state parks law enforcement officers if, when they are called, they do not call back?
Since I moved to Del Norte in 1997, I’ve “fallen in love” with many spots in and around our parks, national and other. And, although I do not like to be considered a “cop caller” I will and have no problem calling about some idiot whose lack of consideration or disrespect for nature or other people’s property could be the cause of yet another of my beloved spots to be closed off to me.
Prevent closing jetty with better warnings
Regarding “Risky rescue on jetty,” Jan. 1, well, here we go again! People rescued from jetty!
I have a feeling the stupidity of the few is eventually going to outweigh the desire of the many and someone is going to close off our jetty. I’ve been going out there for 45 years and have never had a problem, even when I was young and dumb! But I’m starting to think I had better get out there and enjoy it as much as I can before they do make it illegal.
Here’s a thought. Make a sign that says, “STOP! WAIT! LOOK! If there is water on or waves breaking onto any part of jetty do not attempt to enter!”
You’ll still get some idiots that disregard the sign and get in trouble, but it may save a few. Now the problem is keeping some punk from writing graffiti on the sign!
Mike Cuthbertson, Gasquet
Thanks for community’s defense of hospital
I write with special thanks to the Del Norte Triplicate for printing letters supporting our community’s fight to keep our hospital under local ownership. Also, thanks to our County Board of Supervisors, City Council, mayor, sheriff, district attorney, Board of Realtors, Healthcare District Board, Chamber of Commerce, senior center, United Indian Health Service and all the private citizens for the letters that they have written in support of our effort to stop Sutter Health from attempting to quietly take over our hospital for its profit.
Also, thanks to Dr. Kevin Caldwell and Dr. Greg Duncan, the only two independent voices which Sutter Health has recently allowed to sit in our hospital board room, for all the hours and “guts” they have given on our behalf in this fight against “Big Brother.”
Remember everyone, Sutter Health makes its own decisions, which affect your health in a closed board room. Without a local newspaper willing to print this, most of us would never have known of Sutter’s plans.
We have a chance for something good to come out of all of this. Now that fishing and timber have been “downsized” by forces beyond our control, let’s not let Sutter Health downsize our hospital. We need to upgrade local health care, and Asante is interested in helping us. This is a critical issue for people considering moving here to work or retire.
Bev Hussey, Crescent City
Put officer in downtown
I am aware of something that I would like to share with the readers of this newspaper.
Members of the Business Improvement District have asked my city to have more police patrols in our downtown area in the past. But have you seen an officer walking our streets?
The city, in all fairness, will tell you that the lack of law enforcement is caused by budget demands. There is one person on my City Council who would give a lot of our Transient Occupancy Tax funds to two groups, the Del Norte Visitors Bureau and to our Chamber of Commerce. Yes, Kathryn Murray.
My question to Ms. Murray: If our streets are not safe and there’s been a bank robbery on one of our main streets, will people visit Crescent City?
I believe until we can protect our children in our schools and protect the people who make their home here, both the Chamber and Visitors Bureau should take a back seat to the amount of funding my city gives them.
My city needs to find a way to put an officer back in our schools and put an officer in our downtown area and our parks.
Richard Miles, Crescent City
Trouble with hospital board
My last update from Dr. Greg Duncan, chief of staff of Sutter Coast Hospital, was so degrading and appalling. When I heard that he was asked to leave the Board of Directors meeting it was disturbing to me.
We have many names on many petitions not to allow this regionalization to diminish our hospital. Why can’t whoever started this mess get it through their heads that we don’t want down-sizing done to this hospital? If this goes through, it will hurt many who have found it necessary to use this facility.
Regarding the patients who may have to be transported to another hospital, can this hospital afford to return us back home when we are dismissed?
Many seniors don’t have family or friends who can pick them up. I am one of those seniors.
Why can’t Dr. Duncan be a part of those board meetings? This hospital gets paid my medical and medicare. We have a right to know of any changes that are made. If this hospital is in the red, then someone is not doing their job and a change in that direction is needed. Many of us worry about the economy and all the cuts; do we have to worry about this, too?
I myself do not want to see this regionalization materialize. The people in this community have a right to know what we are facing.
Rita Moore, Crescent City