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Letters to the Editor, April 28 - May 1


Winter squash, orange variety

EDITOR: Obama’s intention to inspire, enlighten and energize the new generation reminds us that Trump is a prime example of the Old Gourd; that is, a rotten Halloween pumpkin.

Time to throw it into the compost.

James Pendergast

Sonoma

You want ER to be back of an ambulance?

EDITOR: It’s time to “stand up” for the Sonoma Valley Hospital. The June 6 ballot will include a $250 per year parcel tax to support SVH. This is an increase of $55 per parcel or about $1 per week. It’s the first hospital tax increase in 10 years, and it is badly needed.

Why is it needed? Two primary reasons: hospital operating costs have steadily grown and with the improvements in service and facilities, the state-of-the-art equipment and award-winning quality health care, the cost of running a hospital and emergency room 24/7/365 continues to grow. It’s happening to every hospital. Also, health insurance remuneration levels continue to trend down. For example 73 percent of SVH patients have either Medicare or MediCal insurance, Some MediCal procedures pay only 15 percent of actual hospital costs.

Critics say that we are “surrounded” by other hospitals, and that’s true, but they are 25 to 55 minutes away by car. Consider that ride for the 10,000 annual emergency room visits, the 2,000 inpatient admits and the 175 Mothers who are about to give birth. And do you really want to drive that round trip for routine lab tests, an X-ray or mammogram?

When the emergency room becomes the back of an ambulance on Highway 12 at 4 p.m. it probably isn’t optimum medical care. Emergency medical technicians do a great job, but they aren’t trained emergency physicians in a modern hospital.

SVH provides care to our entire community and has done so for 70 years. Please support the parcel tax and continue this critical community benefit for all Sonoma families. We need your “yes” vote on June 6.

Carrie and Dick Fogg

Sonoma

7 reasons why

EDITOR: Having spent 25 years serving on the Sutter Hospital and Medical System Operating boards, serving as board chair and finance committee chair, and several years on the finance committee of our Sonoma hospital, I have great admiration for the accomplishments of our Sonoma Valley Hospital and emergency room. Here are a few reasons why:

• The Hospital cannot pick and choose which patients to accept and care for. All who come are provided excellent high quality care

• Over 70 percent of the revenue is dictated by governmental agencies at rates that do not cover the cost of care

• Governmental agencies dictate the staffing levels for the services provided allowing little room for flexible staffing

• While the hospital is not a business with shareholders and profit distributions as a goal, it is run very much like a business; despite the elements noted above that are beyond the control of management

• All departments other than the emergency room have a positive contribution to the bottom line and thus provide some support of the ER cost

• Patient visits to the ER often lead to use of the other services provided in our hospital

• California state law requires that an ER must have a Hospital with a multitude of services to back it up.

Having been intimately involved with the workings of several hospitals, I can assure you that the management of this hospital is very cost conscious and continually works to enhance the contribution to the bottom line through benchmarked cost controls and offering of profitable services on the revenue side.

A community without quality healthcare is like going deep sea fishing without a life preserver on board. You hope you won’t have to use it, but it sure is nice to know it is there if you do. Vote “yes” on Measure E!

Gerry Brinton

Glen Ellen

Best out of three?

EDITOR: Regarding the upcoming Sonoma Valley Hospital Property Tax Measure in June, I’m curious: if the measure passes, since it just got rejected a few months ago, does this mean it becomes a tie, and we have to vote again to break it?

Ed Shoop

Sonoma