Steve Chittock

New hospital was promoted for personal financial gain

Clark Moore has written a nice summary ("Health District has vital role in county," Dec. 16). However, the part about being forced into a lease agreement with Sutter Health (or any other health care system) due to changes in the Medicare and the state reimbursement systems is pure nonsense.

The change in the way health care was delivered in Del Norte County occurred not because of the changed reimbursement systems but for two other primary reasons: First, one or more of the medical staff members were unhappy with the administration at the time and actively lobbied the Board of Directors for a change. Second, one or more of the members of the Board of Directors and local community promoted the hospital lease (and new hospital) and the new prison, for personal financial gain.

I was director of nursing at Seaside Hospital. It is important to note that, during the years the Hospital District was negotiating with Sutter Health and others about a possible lease arrangement and new hospital, we were very profitable and the prospects of continued success were excellent. We were accredited by the Joint Commission and met all of the normal federal and state requirements for an acute care hospital, which provided quality care to the community. The prices we charged for service were moderate and did not rise significantly (unknown to the community) until the day our lease agreement with Sutter was signed.

In relation to the need for the lease agreement for hospital management and for building a new hospital, it was mentioned to the chairman of the board that we had a unique and priceless location for our old hospital and that, because we had no debt, we could invest a few hundred thousand dollars each year for 20 years and, at the end of that time, have a local hospital which could be a show-stopper for the county (with no debt).

It was also mentioned that, due to the extreme cost of a new hospital, the community would be required to pay for 20 years but, at the end of that time, would simply have a 20 year old hospital with 10 more years to pay. His only response to those proposals was to say, "The political climate in the county will just not allow us to follow that course of action." Maybe he was right.

Richard L. Cooper

Helendale, Calif

If fluoride helps, then why are our teeth so bad?

I was happy to hear that our City Council was finally going to talk about removing fluoride from our public water system, then I read the article about it in today's paper. It shocked me to read that local dentists are actually advocating this practice, citing the horrible state of teeth they have coming into their offices, and their fear that without fluoridation their patient load would be off the chart.

If fluoridating the water helps, then why are our teeth so bad? Maybe we should consider something much worse for teeth as a cause for rampant decay: processed food and poor dental hygiene.

Jesse Salsbury could be correct in calling this a conspiracy when you consider that no safety studies were performed before instituting this archaic practice. Until 1945, fluoride was classed as an environmental poison! Fertilizer manufacturers used to have to pay big dollars for this toxic waste's disposal.

The numbers they throw at us for "safety levels" are completely worthless since public water is not the only source of exposure. Every food you buy in the grocery store contains fluoride: canned foods, juices, soda pop, fruits and vegetables, just about any processed food product. It is also absorbed through the skin so everytime you bathe you are exposed, and most water filters do not remove fluoride. Read your toothpaste tube, it has a poison warning on it! And when you figure in the fact that only half is eliminated and the other half absorbed by the body, wracking up disease-causing levels isn't farfetched.

I could sit here and write a book about the dangers of fluoridation but I'm only allowed 400 words in this letter. I urge everyone to become informed on the subject and see for yourselves how dangerous a practice it is to be putting this toxic waste into our city's water supply.

And let's not bicker about $17,000 for the vote when we will save $10,000 a year after we stop this insanity.

Katherine Kelly

Crescent City