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Letters to the Editor, May 26 - 29


Imagine there’s no hospital, it’s easy if you try…

EDITOR: You are at home. Imagine you feel internal pains. Your spouse drives you the few blocks to Sonoma Valley Hospital’s emergency room. Pain massively intensifies just as the ER team surrounds you, administering analgesics, performing multiple diagnostics, calmly, rapidly, kindly.

Imagine you are transferred to the ICU, where an outstanding team ministers.

Imagine you need surgery once your body heals sufficiently. Another team gives care attentively, cheerfully, competently, with empathy. Throughout, your spouse visits easily. You are eventually cleared for surgery. The surgeon carefully and clearly explains the plan. His depth of experience impresses you. Subsequent surgery is successful.

Imagine considering all the great people who have attended you, how this reflects good leadership, and how critical it is to pay competitively to retain talent.

No need for me to imagine, this was firsthand experience. But I can imagine a wholly different possible outcome had the ER been a long ambulance ride away, maybe in rush hour, maybe with flooding delays. And I shudder to contemplate it.

We cannot afford to risk losing Sonoma Valley Hospital and its ER facility. We must ensure continued funding.

Join me in voting “yes” for Measure E on June 6. And please don’t just imagine doing so.

Ian Sidey

Sonoma

Don’t fall for ‘save our ER’ scare

EDITOR: Sonoma Valley Hospital is running a “save our ER” scare campaign at taxpayers’ expense. If you vote “no” it means hospital administration will need to cut back on ridiculously overpaid executive staff with champagne expense accounts, and focus on delivering core services, like urgent and emergency care. The money-losing “wellness center” and other frivolities they have created will need to go. The average number of patients this hospital serves daily is very low. They need to bring their expenses in line with reality. Until there is evidence of effective belt-tightening, they should not ask citizens – some of whom already pay 25 percent of property taxes in special County assessments – for more financial support. It’s an example of their poor judgement that they have paid campaign consultants to put banners all over the Valley rather than investing in a management plan to get their expenses in line.

R. Passantino

Sonoma

‘Am I the only one bothered by this?’

EDITOR: I am a 26 year resident of Sonoma. My husband and I have raised our three children here. We have heard pros and cons about the hospital throughout all these years. We did use the emergency room once for our son and they did fix him up, but the experience was a horrible communication and paperwork nightmare so we never cared to make use of the hospital again.

I worked 14 years at State Compensation Insurance Fund until retiring last June. I know about two years prior State Fund severed ties with SVH, with one of the results being that agents could no longer refer employers or an injured worker to SVH. My understanding was that it was due to SVH’s poor medical rating

We have always voted for prior parcel taxes benefiting the hospital as well as school bonds even though we decided to send our kids to parochial grammar and high school.

The deceitful and deceptive manner in which the hospital has tried to manipulate the electorate with first Measure B in March and now renamed Measure E coming on a special election June 6 has caused me to do further research. They (CEO, directors, managers, healthcare board) have hired a high priced San Francisco campaign consultant group specializing in spin to use scare tactics aimed at our largely aging population. I feel like I’m in an episode of “Scandal” or “Bull” when I see the signage all over town or listen to the hype they are using on the phone! Sure tons of flyers will be coming. Now due to the public records act, we can view the CEO, directors’ and managers’ salaries – beside seeing how many there actually are, 16 in all! This is a small 65 bed district hospital paying lots of people big bucks. One director earning $212,160 per year is flown in from South Carolina once a month to work a week. It does not indicate how many days make up her work week or if she is also subsidized for lodging, transportation or food. Am I the only one bothered by this?

The facts are the ER and hospital will not close even if the parcel tax bailout from homeowners does not pass; you cannot be turned away from the emergency room due to the labor law known as EMTALA; and the fat needs to be trimmed from the top! Please hold this group accountable to do the right thing and stop the untruths. Vote “no” on E.

Perri Paniagua

Sonoma

Schools supe learns a lesson

EDITOR: I didn’t vote, because I knew it would pass. After all, the ballot measures to keep our hospital up and running passed easily every time since 2002, with majorities as high as 85 percent. So why worry? I was busy, I got distracted and when I noticed my absentee ballot still sitting on the counter the morning of the election I told myself, “No big deal, this thing’s in the bag.” If only I and 139 others like me had remembered to cast their ballots in March, the parcel tax to keep Sonoma Valley Hospital open would already have passed.

As Superintendent of Schools, I am responsible for the welfare of students, teachers, administrators and district staff, anyone of who could suffer a major medical emergency any day of the week. In fact, nearly 2,000 kids visited our hospital’s emergency room last year alone, an average of 37 a week. Who knows how many potential family tragedies have been averted because this critical community resource was there when we needed it.

So, lesson learned. My ballot arrived on May 10 and it was back in the mail to the registrar the next day. Please don’t make the mistake I and others made in March. There’s too much at stake. Please vote “yes” on Measure E to save our hospital and all-important emergency room.

Louann Carlomagno

Sonoma