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Letters to the editor Feb. 15, 2014

A hospital win-win

I would like to share my opposition to Sutter Health’s recent decision to downsize Sutter Coast Hospital into a Critical Access Hospital, which will require a 50-percent reduction in the number of acute care hospital beds available to our community. 

I understand the benefit to Sutter Health — they can charge higher amounts to Medicare if they downsize to a Critical Access Hospital. But I cannot understand the benefit to our community. Less beds will mean more patient transfers to outside hospitals, at our expense. 

According to published reports, Sutter Health made $735 million in profits in 2012, and they more than doubled their executive pay over the last five years. It does not seem right that Sutter Health be allowed to cut services to our community in order for them to make more money. And it does not seem right for non-profit, tax exempt charities like Sutter Health to pay their executives millions of dollars a year. According to a recent New York Times article, their charges are already much higher than most other hospitals. 

Final question: If Sutter Health is losing so much money at Sutter Coast, why don’t they just give the hospital to one of the other hospital systems that is interested in expanding here? It would be a win-win. Sutter would get rid of the hospital they claim loses money, and another hospital system which already operates hospitals in our region, such as Asante or Providence, could run the hospital. 

Beverly Rasmussen 

Brookings

Beyond Obamacare

On Feb. 17 the Brookings/Harbor chapter of Health Care for All-Oregon (HCAO) will meet at the Chetco Activity Center, 550 Chetco Lane, Brookings, to conduct a community conversation on what the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) does and does not do for the health care crisis in this country, and what we can do to bring about health care reform that better serves our needs. 

How does the ACA control rising health care costs? Will Oregonians continue to face bankruptcy and death for lack of access to quality care? What are the concepts that drive the HCAO campaign to bring health care justice to everyone who lives or works in Oregon when they need it, regardless of ability to pay? 

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Local advocates are joining the determined grassroots movement shaping up all over Oregon, going beyond Obamacare and demanding health care justice for everyone. 

Please join the conversation on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, at 6 p.m. to give your comments and share your vision about what true health care reform should look like.

Call Linda at 541-469-1970 for more information. To learn more about the statewide efforts through the Health Care for All-Oregon campaign, visit www.hcao.orgxy

Linda Bozack

Brookingsa

Confusion, puppies

I have read several articles regarding the proposed home rule charter but the one in the Pilot on Feb. 8 left me even more confused. 

I saw a lot of words but no bottom line. How will five commissioners and an adminestrator change anything? What we need is more jobs and income. I have no idea what I would be voting for. 

Someone wants to have a “cash mob” to benefit the high priced C&K markets. Who thinks up this stuff? Cash mob, flash mob, isn’t that where people beat each other up. 

Finally, I received an apology from the local humane society vice president for refusing to let me adopt a dog because I don’t have a fence. Unlike the cold woman who refused me, she sounded genuinely sinsere and I hope they can put a stop to this obvious discrimination. 

By the way, thanks to some friends and people that did not know me and an employee of the Pilot I now have a beautiful, intelligent border collie puppy to train and love until only death will do us part. You can see Einar on my Facebook page and see what true puppy love looks like.

Arthur Larason 

Harbo 

Big Wave in business

On behalf of the Brookings Harbor Youth Transition Program at Brookings Harbor High School, I would like to officially thank the Brookings Harbor Education Foundation for their generous donation to Big Wave Catering, Brookings Harbor High School’s school-based business. 

Students created: Soup in a Jar, Cookies in a Jar, and Rice in a Bag mixes to sell as a fundraiser at the Unique Boutique in Hood River, Oregon. 

Brookings Harbor student-produced items will be on sale along with items from students all over the state at the Youth Transition State Wide Conference. 

Michelle Prudden 

Brookings

Siren concerns

I’m concerned about getting rid of the tsunami sirens. 

I understand that they are expensive to maintain. 

However, not everyone owns a cell phone in the area. I’m thinking of the elderly and low income folks. Many people often turn their cell phones off while they sleep. 

So when (not if) we have a tsunami, I fear that many residents will perish as a result of this foolish decision.

Michael McDonald 

Brookings

Hatchery future risk

In recent months, groups throughout the Pacific Northwest have begun filing lawsuits against state and federal agencies that operate fish hatcheries. 

They are seeking an end to hatchery fish releases, claiming hatchery fish are leading to the demise of wild salmon and steelhead runs.

These groups have an anti-fishing agenda, targeting both recreational and commercial fishing. They are well-funded, and are beginning to win their legal actions, which will eventually lead to hatchery closures and drastically less fishing opportunities.

Wild salmon and steelhead, both locally in Curry County and throughout the Northwest, face challenges of habitat loss, water diversions and harvest, but the addition of hatchery fish has proven to be beneficial to preserving fish stocks, and allowing in-river and ocean fishing.

To combat the anti-fishing and anti-hatchery agenda of groups seeking to close Northwest hatcheries, several sport and commercial fishing groups, business leaders, Native American tribes and concerned citizens has formed a coalition to education the public about hatcheries. They have produced a video, titled “Hatchery and Wild,” and written a petition to present to government leaders about the importance of hatcheries for sport and commercial fishing, and sustaining healthy salmon and steelhead populations. The video can be seen at www.hatcheryandwild.com.

Anyone concerned about fishing opportunities and salmon and steelhead populations should view the video.

Andy Martin, 

fishing guide

Brookings

Zip line proposal

I am fed-up with the bickering over taxes, commissioners, lumber revenue, and the inevitable nastiness from widely divergent and often small minded political views. 

Brookings and Harbor (and Curry County) need an economic boost in order to stop the business, employment, and opportunity decline now very evident throughout the cities. 

I suggest making the Chetco valley the zip line capital of the Northwest. We have a beautiful valley, a fantastic summer environment, a beautiful river, fantastic views and we could put in 50 zip lines (or more) criss-crossing the river. We could generate significant wealth and employment, bus services up the North and South Banks, additional restaurants, additional campsites, packaged vacations and tours, coordinated with river and ocean fishing, and all coordinated from a large empty building at the port. That would be the integration center where line activity, line safety, line tickets and line operations (including bus schedules) would all be coordinated. 

If we developed a reason for people to visit Brookings (other than the fact that it is a beautiful but declining place), it would automatically attract investors. With investment comes employment and the opportunity for significant wealth coming into the area. The cities and the county and the residents would all benefit. 

Additional factors: Clean up and remodel the port along the lines of Bandon Old Town, even learning to cook fish like the Bandon Fish Market; in my opinion one of the best in the nation. We could even create a Brookings fish dish (we are famous for our fish and crab industry); perhaps crab stuffed salmon. We could organize a competition to see who could produce the best recipe. 

We have lots of opportunity to change our own destiny, all it takes is a little thought and a lot of enthusiasm. 

Stuart Johnson

Brookings

Urge best-practices

In 1981, I was born into the hands of an amazing nurse-midwife, Alice Taylor. Twenty-nine years later, my own daughter would be born into Alice’s hands, as well. 

Unfortunately, Curry County’s nurse-midwives are currently unable to practice serving the mothers and babies in our area due to decisions being made at Curry General Hospital. 

As a registered nurse and graduate of Johns Hopkins University, I have been trained to use evidence-based medicine to provide the best care for my patients. While money, profits, and ego often get in the way of best practices, I firmly believe it is our responsibility to hold ourselves to the highest standards of evidence-based medicine and practice — even at rural hospitals like Curry General. 

In August 2013, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (internationally recognized as the highest standard of evidence-based healthcare) concluded that midwife attended pregnancies and births in the hospital setting lead to outcomes as good — and in some areas even better — than physician attended ones. To list just a few of its findings: Midwife-attended births were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal delivery, fewer instrumental births, less likely to have an episiotomy, less likely to have preterm and fetal loss before 24 weeks. There was no statistical difference in fetal loss after 24 weeks between midwives and physicians. An entire list of findings can easily be found online. 

Curry County may be rural and small, but please, let’s not turn our backs on medical science and best practices for women’s health care. Let our nurse-midwives get back to serving the women in Curry County — as they have safely done so for decades. 

Anna Van Dyke 

Johnson 

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