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July 18, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, July 18, 2012 9B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Opportunities for hospital collaboration abound Why in the world would hospitals want to collaborate? Maybe to reduce costs, save money, improve services offered to the community, improve quality, better serve the residents of our county, survive ongoing and inevitable cuts to. our reimbursement -- all of the above, and much more. I was mystified by Doug Lafferty's comment in last week's article entitled, "Hospital CAOs see 'collaboration' differently." He is quoted as saying, "I don't want to talk collaboration until we know what we need to collaborate on." I am not sure what we are waiting for. I don't need a community needs assessment WHERE I STAND TOM HAYES CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER EASTERN PLUMAS HEALTH CARE to identify very real opportunities and specific items of collaboration. And, collaboration or cooperation doesn't mean consolidation. It means working together to enhance the strength of each hospital so that we can continue to provide needed health care to our respective communities. Also, I would like to correct a misstatement in last week's article regarding our ambulance service. Eastern Plumas Health Care has four ambulances that serve Eastern Sierra and Eastern Plumas counties. There are always two ambulances working 24/7; at times of high volume, like Fourth of July, we add a third. I'mglad Doug believes that our ambulance services can work together. But, meaningful collaboration is much mol'e than this. I absolutely agree that meaningful collaboration doesn't happen overnight. It is hard work, time intensive; and everyone must agree that it is a valuable effort. Opportunities include leveraging our collective strengths to negotiate contracts, joint recruitment of needed physicians, group purchasing, expanding locally provided specialty services, increasing the use of telemedicine services, etc,, etc, The consultant that was hired by Sierra Institute identified no fewer than 40 potential opportunities for collaboration! I have been talking about the need for all of our hospitals to collaborate for three years, and we have gone nowhere! Cooperation and collaboration works.and is a proven strategy in health care. My own past experience at the Fremont Rideout Health Group in Yuba City showed that the opportunities were endless to reduce costs, improve financial performance, increase opportunities for employees and improve and expand services to the community. These collaborative efforts don't just make sense in a large . hospital setting,'In fact, they are even more necessary for survival and quality in small hospitals like our own. As I said; I am not talking about consolidating balance sheets and income statements or having one hospital assume and be responsible for the debt of the other. It's about creating opportunities to make each hospital more efficient. It's good business for the hospital, and patients reap the benefits as well. Also, I am not talking about consolidating boards of directors, as each community needs to determine the services it will provide. Hopefully, though, the administrations and boards of the individual hospitals would work very closely to plan services that would be best for all communities. I suspect that statements which link collaboration and consolidation are put forth by those who aren't truly interested in collaboration. It confuses the issue and frightens people away from working creatively on areas of mutual interest. Collaboration and cooperation take effort and time. And with upcoming health care reform, it is more important than ever that we begin this process now. Getting over past provincial attitudes and striving to work together makes perfect sense. LETTER.S to the EDITOR Real reasons An article in the July 3 Chester Progressive caught my attention: "Recall notices go to entire CPUD board." Apparently, there is a move- ment afoot to remove the persons who now serve. In the interest of full disclosure let me say: I am a former fire, commissioner, am married to a former volunteer fire- man/commissioner, and the mother of a current board member. So, some would say, I am biased. That being said, I am aso a concerned citizen. As I perused this article, it is evident that, heretofore, the CPUD meetings have not been attended by citizens voicing complaints. In fact, the persons delivering the notice and the persons sign- ing said notice have not, as far as t can surmise, been regularly present at the CPUD board meetings According to the protes, tots, the board has "failed to properly oversee the district and protect the ratepay- ers/taxpayers and employ- ees of the district." How so? Frankly, I am glad to have fire protection, ambulance service and water when I turn on my faucet. And don't forget about flushing the toi- let! Do those services cost? Certainly. And, what about the alle- gation that the board has al- so "showed a lack of inde- pendence from and oversight of the manager"? Huh? They hired a professional who has brought this district into the 21st century. The chief has written grants that are suc- cessfully awarded and pro- vide this district with equip- ment and personnel that de- liver outstanding service. I am not privy to the details of the retirement package, so I cannot comment on that. I do believe, however, that dedi- cated service to one's com- munity should be rewarded. And speaking of that, what about those volunteers who serve on this current board? They give of their time, their talents and their service. They are not paid and don't expect to be. They care about their community. So, don't jump on this re- call bandwagon. Talk to your board members. Ferret out the real reasons for this re- call attack. Linda L. Rean Chester Hear the whine The fallout from the Supreme Court decision is as unbelievable as it is pre- dictable. When We the Peo- ple elected Obam'a, the im- mediate and lasting Republi- can response was to do everything possible to make his presidency fail. Of course it didn't matter that we were on the brink of a worldwide depression Eight years of unfunded tax cuts, an un- funded, unnecessary war in Iraq, outsourced jobs, busi- nesses downsizing, spiraling health care costs, 2.6 million jobs lost in 2008 and massive debt were part of the reason we elected a new govern- ment. The duly elected De- mocrats had control, or so it seemed. But now it is painfully evident that having a majori- ty in both houses and the presidency is not enough to move forward in a timely manner in order to respond to an actual crisis if the mi- nority is so inclined to ob- struct every attempt to re- spond to such crisis purely to gain political advantage for the next election, which gave the House to Republi- can in 2010. They have since spent time voting 31 times to repeal the health care act. Democrats were able to pass a watered-down reform of our not-so-good health care system. Currently we spend twice as much per capita as other industrial- ized countries. We have half the doctors and hospital beds, much larger infant mortality and lower life x- pectancy. Now we have the Affordable Care Act, aiming to lower costs while expand- ing and improving coverage. The Republicans, like they do with everything that goes against their wishes, ran to the Supreme Court, a court we all believed would once again give them a 5-4 victory. Not this time! Can you still hear the whine? So my question is, "What motivates the Democrats to pass reform and what moti- vates the Republicans to op- pose reform?" This destruc- tive, dead-end divisiveness is so tiring. Tom Slavik Mohawk Vista Cracks I live in the Bailey Creek subdivision in the Lake AI- manor community. I am also an avid biker that rides 50 miles per week in the area on Plumas County main- tained roadways. It is a great area to ride and most of the roads I ride are in good con- dition. The exception being several roads in the Bailey Creek subdivision, notably the main road into the golf course, Durkin Drive, and Red River Drive. In the span of less than three-quarters of a mile Durkin Drive is crossed by 34 large cracks (4 - 8 inches) that cross both lanes of the road. This is the main access to the "famed" Bailey Creek golf course that all golfers must negotiate on their vay to and from the course. Red River Drive has 73 cracks starting at Gateway Drive to the Clifford Drive intersection. These are not hairline cracks but some 4 - 8 inches across the entire roadway. There has been no attempt by the Plumas Coun- ty Road Department to ad- dress the problem that just gets worse every year. I know the county is strug- gling financially but it would appear that this problem could have been addressed during the past several years. I, like many others in the area, have watched the value of their home decrease as much as 40 percent while the property taxes have remained about the same. It would be nice to see a small portiqn of our taxes returned in service to our community. Robert Gibson Lake Almanor Unsafe transit Until today I had thought our transit company had got- ten rid of a bus I and others consider unsafe. July 9 it was on the Chester run. The steps are steep and I pity people with worse mobility problems than my osteoarthritis. The drivers in order to see the passengers must take their eyes off of the road to use another mirror. On the regular buses they can use the rearview mirror on the windshield and still see the road. Today I took my bicycle in- to town with me. On the re- turn trip, both slots were filled. Either way, the dri- ver's vision was impaired. This bus should never have been accepted for ser- vice. The first is a comfort and ease thing, butthe sec- ond and third are safety is- sues. Makes me wonder about the competency and/or intel- ligence of the management. Thank you for your time and ink. Daniel L. Funke Quincy Medical freedom Proof of Tdap vaccination is not required to enter sev- enth grade or any other grade in California. ,In fact, no vaccine is required at all. At least until January 2014, anyone can flip over the blue vaccination card which is filled out for school and sign the personal beliefs exemp- tion for any vaccination that a parent wishes to opt out of for their child. A signed, written statement is also ac- ceptable if you do not wish to sign the state provided ex- emption form. This has been your legal right for decades. However, if Assembly Bill 2109 continues sailing its way through the California Legislature, you will no longer be able to simply sign this form yourself. Begin- ning January 2014, AB 2109 will require you to obtain the signature of a health care practitioner to exercise your right to a personal beliefs ex- emption. That's right. The state of California believes it knows better than you, the parent, and that you are so uneducated that you will need to seek out and pay for a signature from someone who is very likely less edu- cated than the average par- ent on the vaccine issue. Think about that. The state of California Seeks to force you to obtain paid permis- sion from a hostile and bi- ased provider to opt out of a medical procedure which carries risk. Take out the word vhccine and insert any other medical procedure. Is this the United States of America or is it Germany? Anyone know who Dr. Men- gele was? Wake up. Assembly Member Dan Logue did and he voted against AB 2109. We are losing him due to redis- tricting. Sen. C, aines is also against this egregious bill. If you care about medical free- dom, parental rights or the Constitution at all you need to pay attention to this bill. Dawn Winkler-Kinateder Quincy Spider voices I think that a fly would do well to consider the sources when warned by an entomol- ogist that a spider is lying when she claims that her homey web is perfectly safe. Consider, then, the claims that 28 polluting companies make that their installations are perfectly safe and that they are not contributing to climate change. Those 28 companies spent over $300 million lobbying Congress to defeat climate legislation. Koch industries alone has spent more than $55 million since 1997 to misrepresent climate science or oppose safeguards against warming emissions. ConocoPhillips has backed the campaigns of anti-cli- mate candidates more than 15 to 1 over candidates who have supported science- based climate policies. It seems perverse that many people believe the voices of the spiders and not the voices of the scientists whose only interest is to pro- tect our earth. Of course, it is the money. Salvatore Catalano Taylorsville Two words While Americans are des- perate for jobs and schools, states and local governments desperate for revenues to balance their budgets, the Republican-controlled House voted, for the 33rd time, to repeal Obamacare. House Republicans have no plan of their own -- they just want to revert back to the days when insurance companies had annual and lifetime caps, could deny insurance due to pre-existing condi- tions, and outright end your insurance if you got sick. The real issue is the for- profit health insurance com- panies whose only function is to collect your premiums and pay the providers. They have nothing to do with ad- dressing your injuries or ail- ments. Their only goal is to make a profit, to pay huge salaries to executives and pay stockholders. This "in- dustry" makes profits when they deny you your health care and they do everything possible to achieve this. The problem is that Obamacare only limits the more barbar- ic practices of the insurance companies. While the simpletons childishly focus on the "Oba- macare tax," words like so- cialist and communist, lies, hatred for the other and, dis- gustingly, assassination pro- cedures for our elected offi- cials, decent thoughtful peo- ple need to work on solu- tions. The solution I propose is the Health Security Admin- istration (HSA). By striking two words, "over 65," from the Medicare law, we elimi- nate the for-profit middle- men, and provide universal single-payer health care for all. Medicare's overhead is 3 percent as there is no profit motive. Everyone pays into it (we already have a payroll deduction) and everyone re- ceives health care. We can roll Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, eldercare and hospice into HSA for operational effi- ciencies. Americans would be healthier with reduced stress, greater mobility and freedom as health insurance worries are eliminated from decision-making processes. We all get injured and sick. Middlemen do not have the right to profit from our ailments. Mark Mihevc Graeagle Keynesian failure Paul Cavanaugh asserts without evidence that de- mand always precedes sup- ply. That's not accurate for several reasons. Savvy busi- ness people anticipate mar- ket changes, not wait for the store shelf to empty before reordering. Job growth is primarily small businesses, and rapid growth depends on consumers discovering them. Demand for new prod- ucts and services cannot lead their introduction. New businesses and products of- ten lose money for extended periods before demand builds to reach break even. Entrepreneurs should think several years ahead -- antic. ipating business cycles, con- sumer trends and many oth- er factors, not reacting. Demand-side (Keyne- sian/socialist) economics are based on right-brain cre- ative thinking. It sounds good, but doesn't work. It's just an excuse to take money away from productive people to redistribute it among po- litical supporters (campaign cash and votes). Party lead- ers rely on uninformed, right-brained followers to take their word for it. It didn't work for FDR, and it's clearly not working for BHO. The economy bot- tomed out about eight months before FDR took of- rice, and the recession ended in March 1933, the month he took office and before any policy changes could take ef- fect. But FDR spent like there was no tomorrow, and his "soak the rich" tax in- crease in 1935 caused anoth- er recession. His own secre- tary of the Treasury, Henry Morganthau, said, "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work .... After eight years of this administration we have just as much unem- ployment as when we started ... and an enormous debt to boot." Obama took the same Key- nesian path and got similar results. Unemployment is stuck above 8 percent, and 80 percent of the drop from the 10 percent unemployment peak was due to workers giving up and dropping out of the workforce. Keynesian failure all over again. Gene Kailing Portola Plain stupid The political right accuses the political left of being so- cialists, moving us toward becoming the next Greece. The left says the right has no compassion and doesn't want to help the less fortu- nate. If you really want to know how a socialistic nanny state works, look not at Greece, but right here at home. The U.S. federal govern- ment has been forcing social- ism on American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) for generations. The tribes are provided health and educational assis- tance through the U.S. De- partment of Health and Hu- man Seryices, the same bu- reaucracy in charge of Oba- macare. If government-run educa- tion and health care is the answer, then these programs should be exemplary. Right? So how has the left's com- passion, health care, educa- tion and other social welfare programs benefited AI/AN people? (See minority- health.hhs.gov and the Cen- sus Bureau). AI/AN life expectancy is 5.2 years less than all races in the U.S. population. AI/AN die at higher rates from tuberculosis-(500 per- cent higher); alcoholism (514 percent higher); diabetes (177 percent higher); unin- tentional injuries (140 per- cent higher); homicide (92 percent higher); and suicide (82 percent higher). AI/AN have a high preva- lence of obesity, substance abuse, sudden infant death syndrome, teenage pregnan- cy, liver disease and hepati- tis. Thirty percent use Medic- aid. Thirty-three percent have no health insurance. Median family income: $44,347, versus $68,390 for non-Hispanic whites. Live at the poverty level: 28 Percent, versus 9.9 per- cent of non-Hispanic whites. Own a home: 54 percent, versus 65 percent of overall population. High school diploma: 77 percent, versus the overall population of 86 percent. Bachelor's degree or high- er: 13 percent, versus the overall population of 28 per- cent. Management and profes- sional occupations: 28 per- cent, versus 39.6 percent of whites. The federal govern- ment/Health and Human Services has had over 200 years to get this right, and these are the results. Inspiring, isn't it? Now we are going to let them run Obamacare. Are we crazy, or just plain stupid? Lynn Desjardin Portola T