Sutter brings strife; go with Asante instead
Having watched Sutter Health’s attempt to make our local hospital a Critical Access facility (with its loss of beds, loss of staff, and many more patient aircraft transfers to out of area hospitals), it is obvious the only solution is to get rid of Sutter Health and replace it with an honest healthcare administration company that has integrity.
Asante has publicly expressed an interest in a stronger affiliation with our region (as reported in The Del Norte Triplicate on Oct. 15, 2012), but the hospital Board has ignored the offer. Sutter Health wants to downsize because it will make more money, period. The health of our community does not matter to Sutter. If you want more of the same, keep trying to work with Sutter Health.
This includes more lawsuits, more money diverted away from the community and toward legal matters, more “studies” that are rigged to get the results Sutter Health wants, more deception from Sutter Health about its true intentions, higher cost, more unethical behavior at board meetings, and more attacks on people of integrity, such as Doctors Greg Duncan and Kevin Caldwell. I am sure these two doctors could make a much longer list.
Let go of the past and stick with Sutter Health
I have worked in health care for 41 years, the majority of this time as a manager or director of diagnostic imaging departments. Nine years ago I relocated from the San Francisco East Bay to Crescent City, taking a position as the director of diagnostic imaging at Sutter Coast Hospital.
There were numerous reasons why I chose to relocate to Crescent City: the ocean, the climate, no mass of people or traffic, but the biggest reason was because I was still able to work in a profession I loved and continue to be a part of Sutter Health. Sutter Coast is the fourth acute care hospital that I have worked for. I have also worked for Los Medanos Community Hospital (a small district hospital) in Pittsburg, Calif., Children’s Hospital in Oakland and Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch.
I worked for Los Medanos Community Hospital for 21 years. Los Medanos was an independent facility that eventually declared bankruptcy. When the hospital closed, it left 600-plus employees jobless, with many losing all or most of our pensions. Los Medanos closed because it did not have the vision to affiliate with a strong partner, and when it finally tried it was too late and no one was willing to take on such a mess. That all happened around the time that Seaside Hospital in Crescent City made a decision to affiliate with Sutter Health.
Health care has been a very difficult industry to survive in ever since the early ’80s, when the federal and state governments started reducing reimbursement, and this will only become more difficult in the next 10 years.
I have been at Sutter Coast for nine years and have seen many patients leave our area for care elsewhere, some because they needed a higher level of care, others because it was their choice and others because there were not providers that would accept them.
Taking inmates' food an overreach
According to the prison system’s own rules, any inmate of the California state prison system is on a hunger strike when they refuse prison food for nine consecutive meals. Nothing in that rule says they cannot eat of their privately purchased canteen food.
“Fasting” does not mean a person refuses to eat. Sometimes it means that people will abstain from certain foods. In this case state prison food is the target.
Confiscation of prisoner’s canteen food is overreaching the authority of the California prison staff and further points out the unjust conditions of life in the prison industrial complex.
Kathy Anderson, Eureka
Don't let Pastels in the Park fade away
My husband and I have been attending your glorious Fourth of July celebration for over ten years. We drive up from Sonoma County, and spend several days in the area, camping, moteling, visiting with family and friends.
This year, it took some effort to find one of our Fourth favorites, the Pastels in the Park. These chalk drawings are frequently the best part of our Fourth and are often spectacular. I was shocked to learn that their allocated space in the community park has all but disappeared.
Board should work together on problems
I keep reading our county has more than 150, plus or minus, blighted areas and only Supervisor Gitlin seems to be trying to improve these properties. What are the other four Board of Supervisors doing?
In the June 28 edition of the Triplicate, Supervisor Martha McClure complained about the cost of 12 signs, yet she apparently had no idea how to acquire them. Why not cut out the underbrush and cut tree limbs up to 4 feet high? That will chase transients away without taking the time for the Sheriff’s Office to cite them for trespassing. If any “endangered species” are there they are being trampled on right now, so getting the transients out will save the precious little plants. It seems like Supervisor Gitlin and Code Enforcement Officer Dave Mason are trying to do something.
This brings up another issue — our airport remodeling. Fifteen years ago I did some work with the maintenance staff at the airport, and even then there was talk about remodeling it. We are still waiting.
I’m told that the Coastal Commission wants to exchange four acres of county land for one acre of what is deemed “wetlands” at the airport before signing off on rebuilding the airport. If that is true, where is our Board of Supervisor representative who is also on the Coastal Commission? Is she more for the Coastal Commission than for the county she should be representing?
CHP should be paid well for all they do
I was appalled at the Riverside Press-Enterprise editorial about the California Highway Patrol reprinted in the Triplicate July 13 (“Put an end to autopilot raises in state government”).
The person who wrote that editorial doesn’t know much about the CHP or its salaries. Yes, its salaries are based on an average of what five other law enforcement agencies get compensated for their type of services. But how many careers ask of their employees what law enforcement agencies ask of theirs?
Do you put your life on the line for others each and every day you go to work? If something goes wrong anywhere in the state of California or sometimes out of the state, will you be asked to leave your families and help protect those in need of protection or help?
Will on average two of your co-workers get killed every year because of their jobs? I think not.
The CHP doesn’t make any money from the tickets it writes, it goes to the cities and counties.
Linda Nevarez, Smith River
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.
Ex-local resident dealing with Arizona tragedy
I remember back to March 1964 when we the people of Crescent City came together to rebuild the city we called home after the Good Friday Tidal Wave (that is what it was called back then, now tsunami).
I was only 10 at the time but saw what happens when a tragedy hits a small city like ours. Move ahead now to July 2013, when we saw the tragedy of the 19 brave fire fighters that perished in Arizona.
I currently live in Prescott, Ariz., where this group was based, and have seen the faces and love of the people of this town pour out to each other, regardless of our beliefs.
I found a picture of the 19 together in Crescent City when they stopped by returning from a fire in Oregon. Needless to say it brought back many memories. Please keep them in your prayers.
Dan Crites, Prescott, Ariz.
Good to have hospital employees speak out
A big yes to Sutter Coast Hospital employees’ letters to the editor; what a difference a new CEO makes! It had to be frustrating not being encouraged to “fire off a response” to a letter or two about regionalization over the last year.
I worked at SCH for just over 13 years and it was always difficult for me to keep my mouth shut, especially when I didn’t like what was happening! For a while now, I’ve been talking with neighbors and other community folks about regionalization.
Not one person has had any negative input regarding SCH employees. All have been pleased with the treatment they received and say the nurses are “the best.”
Sutter telling a half-truth, concealing key facts
Sutter Health continues to try to take ownership of our hospital and is now studying downsizing Sutter Coast to a Critical Access facility. Take a look at who wins and who loses!
Under Critical Access, Sutter Health can bill higher rates for Medicare patients, but we lose half of our hospital beds and the requirement that a doctor be available to the Emergency Room at all times.
If Sutter Health takes ownership of our hospital, it gets complete control of all future decisions, including Critical Access designation. We lose our local hospital Board of Directors — which includes the chief of the medical staff, currently Dr. Greg Duncan, our knight in shining armor! Our local board will be replaced by a Sutter board in San Francisco.
Panel holding DN land hostage unacceptable
The Board of Supervisors marathon meeting Tuesday compels me to comment on two subjects.
The first is the land mitigation required by the Coastal Commission’s insatiable greed. In what has become typical modus operandi for governmental agencies, overreach is being brought to bear on Del Norte County’s upgrading of its airport. With the magnanimous offer of free lots at Pacific Shores by City Counsel Bob Black to be traded for the single lot contiguous with the airport (to be used for a safety buffer as required by the FAA), four of the supervisors voted to accept the offer, thus to meet the mitigation. They seem oblivious to the fact that monster government has a voracious appetite and this would feed that appetite.
The lone dissenter, Supervisor Roger Gitlin, made the stand Del Norte County must make sooner rather than later in order to survive. With Del Norte weighing in at an unbelievable 78 percent government/conservancy ownership, the Coastal Commission’s holding the airport buffer lot hostage is unacceptable. Why do they conceive themselves to be in a position to trade something they do not own for four times that number (also with something they do not own)? That seems much akin to banditry. The Coastal Commission’s despotic reign must be reined in. It must be required to function only as originally commissioned — allow unimpeded access to our beautiful coastline. Period.
If the supervisorial quartet of Hemmingsen, Sullivan, McClure and Finigan reflexively snapped at the offer of freebies at Pacific Shores, it had a veritable gag reflex at the news that the county likely will need to fence off the tree-lined property east of Walmart with requisite signage. Supervisor McClure, in the semblance of hissy fit, snapped that the supervisors had been misled after being told the cleanup was going to cost the county nothing.
Are we to assume that if Supervisor Gitlin had not taken up the crusade of blight removal in tandem with the code enforcement officer the Walmart nuisance would magically disappear? Increasingly, this area is becoming a law enforcement nightmare. A perfect place for a handoff into the woods of shoplifted goods to a waiting accomplice, then whisked off to a waiting auto for speedy getaway. Additionally the site is becoming a magnet for drifters.
Hospital could not survive without Sutter
I am a lifelong resident of Del Norte County. I have worked in the community for 30 years; currently with Sutter Coast Hospital for the last five. I am the lead admissions clerk.
There is a lot of drama and politics being played out in our community in regards to the future state of our hospital. I am writing to support the Sutter Coast alignment with Sutter Health.
In my 30 years of working in the community, one of my previous jobs was working at a local financial institution. I started there about the time that Sutter took over the running of Seaside. We very cautiously took payroll checks from Sutter Coast, because in the very recent past there had been issues with payroll checks bouncing.
Now I realize change is painful for many of us. But the truth is with the changes that have happened in health care in the last 10 years, if you can’t change and grow, you will fail.
Hospitals and doctors get paid less and less by insurance companies with each new regulation. That is why health-care costs have skyrocketed! Basic economics tell you that.
With all of the new regulations mandated by government, Sutter Coast is poised to be working in the red again this year. Sutter Coast could not survive being a stand-alone hospital in our community while working in a deficit. We are lucky in that Sutter Health is able to absorb those losses, and help us maintain our facility.
There are over 400 employees that work here, live here, spend here, and vote here.