Del Norte Triplicate Readers

Unveil mystery behind Sutter's hospital study

Living in limbo might best describe the eerie silence of the Sutter Coast Hospital death watch as Del Norte/Curry County citizens await the impending piracy of their hospital by the health industry giant Sutter Health.

With the PR specialty-Camden Group's announced "study" completion presented and the $170,000 check cashed we wait on the sidelines as the Sutter Health Executive Board prepares the sanitized pronouncement of corporate take-over of our cherished hospital.

Perhaps the charade of the past several years needs to be brought to the front burner by stating that if Sutter Health legally owned Sutter Coast Hospital it would have long since been a fait accompli, hospital regionalized and downsized, period.

While Dwayne Reichlin's well-written Coastal Voices article, "There should be no hurry regarding hospital's next move," Nov. 12, advocated for a "take your time before you take over" approach, I take the opposite stand and challenge the Sutter Health executives to make their move and make it now. I'm weary of their delicate dance. Let's get this next phase moving. We are tens of thousands strong and determined to stand up to this goliath. We have our stone picked from the brook.

Now that Sutter Health has promulgated this costly PR gimmick while simultaneously hand-picking members of a steering committee(whom I've read were required to sign a "non-disclosure" agreement to maintain the curtain of secrecy over Sutter Health's clandestine operations) we are primed for picking.

It is claimed that the steering committee unanimously supported regionalization. I want to hear from each member that they agree with regionalization and why. Additionally, I want to read in The Del Norte Triplicate the names of those Steering Committee members that represented themselves and not the organization or agency attributed to them in the Nov. 7 edition. Our newspaper is not serving the best interests of our community by withholding the names of those steering committee members serving as individuals. Were it not for the Nov. 12 letter to the editor by Supervisor Roger Gitlin, the community may well believe that Supervisor Martha McClure represented the County Board of Supervisors in allegedly supporting regionalization of Sutter Coast Hospital.

Is that the sentiment of the remaining members of the Board of Supervisors? That is a question that revolves around reporting from the Triplicate. One may well wonder, did the Triplicate also sign a non-disclosure statement with Sutter Health?

Dale L. Bohling,Crescent City

Editor's note: In response to the letter's final question: No.

Let's support the building of dog park

In lieu of attending Thursday night's workshop regarding the dog park, I am offering my 2 cents in this format.

I know there are folks both with and without dogs who are going to come up with reasons to backpedal on the plans that were outlined in the Dec. 3 Triplicate ("Input sought on plan for dog park").

My hope is that they are a tiny minority and that those of us who can hardly wait for a dog park will soon be enjoying right here in Crescent City what other towns have been providing for their denizens for years.

Thank you to everyone behind the push to get this done.

Diane Blackberry,Crescent City

Critical Access will keep hospital open

I have the privilege of serving on the steering committee for the Camden Group, which conducted an assessment of strategic options for Sutter Coast Hospital.

With 24 years of volunteer service for the Smith River Fire Protection District, I am well acquainted with the need for a local hospital. Firefighters rescue, stabilize and prepare patients for a ride to the hospital.

Sutter Coast Hospital has been operating at a sizable loss for the last four years, with Sutter Health in Sacramento picking up the shortfall. The Camden Group assessment of options indicates just running a tighter ship will not be enough to turn the financial corner. We need the 100 percent reimbursement of costs a Critical Access Hospital designation provides.

Seventy perent of Sutter Coast's patients are on Medicare or Medi-Cal, which does not cover the full cost of care.

The number of licensed beds would be reduced to 25 with a Critical Access Designation. Reclassification of some of the remaining beds to skilled nursing beds would allow Sutter Coast to retain additional beds.

The average number of patients has declined from 25 in 2008 to 19 in 2012. In fact, Sutter Coast would have transferred out an estimated 40 patients a year with a 25-bed limit, some of those could have been absorbed with the reclassified beds.

The financial picture with the Affordable Health Care Act is not rosy. With a Critical Access Designation we can avoid joining the hundreds of hospitals that have closed their doors.

Darrell Moorehead,Smith River

Unsure if Sutter will ever regain our trust

I just heard a radio message from a member of the Steering Committee of the Sutter Coast Hospital Options Study reassuring folks that a Critical Access designation is not a bad thing after all.

She says (my words, not hers) there were two Critical Access hospitals in her rural town that were able to provide health care as needed. I agree; having 50 hospital beds in a rural community would be sufficient. And, in our area at least, necessary given the nearest acute-care hospitals are 80-plus miles away.

Sutter Coast has 49 hospital beds now, but remember, if it transitions to Critical Access we will only have one hospital with 25 beds. Two years after the secret vote to "regionalize" and gallons of legal water under the bridge, Sutter Coast is finally talking Critical Access out loud.

The Board of Directors is still unwilling to engage the community in public and I'm not sure the radio commercials will be enough to repair the loss of trust many folks feel at this stage.

Roxie Hazard,Smith River

Parade a pleasurable community gathering

We had the pleasure of viewing the outstanding Christmas parade in downtown Crescent City on Friday evening. There were many festive and beautiful floats. Many children participated with their dancing, singing and smiles, showing their happiness that the celebration of Christmas was alive and well in our wonderful little town.

Having been in the retail business in downtown Crescent City for 20 years, it was satisfying to see the enthusiasm that was shown and the feeling of the viewers. Our little town is hurting now, but it is evident how our citizens are longing for a comeback for our once-thriving community.

I have no idea how many people attended the parade, but there were many. You could feel and see the optimism in their faces and the anticipation of better things to come. What an opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones. By the way, the weather was perfect, not even a breeze.

Thank you to the downtown merchants and others who planned and carried out an outstanding parade and for the beautiful trees decorated on Third Street, which I understand were installed and decorated by the City of Crescent City.

We're sure there were lots of hours of labor involved as well as volunteers. To all of you who were involved, you did an outstanding job. By the way, Santa looked great riding on top of the fire truck.

It is comforting to see all the fire and rescue equipment our town and county has. Thank you firemen for taking the time to display them for all to see as well as giving so freely of your time to take care of us all.

Mark your calendar for next year. I hear a rumor the celebration will be even bigger and better.

Merry Christmas.

Eleanor and Dale Parsons, Crescent City

We are co-creators; let'swork and think together

Kudos to Ruth Rhodes for her play, "This Is Crescent City," in that it was partly about teaching students to ask questions. Why do teachers always have to ask all the questions? A typical assignment would be to read this book, and answer these questions. How about, read this book and compose 20 questions about it?

Asking questions makes students examine material more closely. This method would even be useful in math. Make up your own math problems. I also found it particularly helpful in teaching English as a Second Language at College of the Redwoods for the last five years. Foreign students have a difficult time asking questions in English because foreign languages don't use the inverted word order for questions, as we do.

Unfortunately, the new Common Core is an even worse example of a government controlled, robotic way of learning and teaching to the test instead of learning analytical skills and thinking critically. It's about teaching what to think, not how to think, not to mention the data-mining that is done on every student.

Once Common Core Standards (indoctrination) are completely implemented, the federal government will have total control of assessment tools and textbooks used in core subjects.

But I digress. My point is that a more collegial model is a great way to conduct classes, or even meetings of any kind.

I write a column for the Triplicate, called Senior Sleuth, in which I write about activities in the Community Calendar. I was wondering what became of the "Better Without Wheat" group that used to meet at the Crescent City library, so I tracked down Tony Tyler, the leader. He now gives talks at Visana Wellness in Brookings. Anyway, I attended his Nov. 20 talk, and found it very interesting and enjoyable. Everyone at the meeting had plenty to say, and Tony gave us a lot of valuable nutrition advice as well.

What am I saying? I'm talking about the philosophy that we are co-creators. I think that rather than going to meetings, listening to talks, then just going home, we should chat more and get to know other. I hope that in future meetings and activities that I cover, I can draw people out more.

Joan Miles,Crescent City