Camden Herald letters to the editor, Sept. 14

Sep 14, 2017

Concerning hospital unification

Having read the Aug. 30, 2017, article on VillageSoup entitled "Community Skeptical of Hospital Unification" I feel the need to write this letter in order to note the main reasons why in 2008 the Board of Directors and lncorporators overwhelmingly voted to join MaineHealth. Those reasons included the following and these trends continue to impact the delivery of health care today:

(1) Reimbursements to hospitals nation-wide continued to be reduced by both our federal and state governments as well as insurance companies. Today, this trend has accelerated to unsustainable levels. It is widely known the fee-for-service payment system that hospitals have been reimbursed through for many decades is unaffordable for everyone. This is why the Affordable Care Act was implemented by the Obama Administration and Congress several years ago. Today, over 50 percent of the hospitals in Maine and in the nation annually operate in the red.

(2) Technology and biology are galloping ahead of the healthcare industry and most hospitals, especially those in rural areas, will not be able to keep up with these changes.

(3) Bad debt and charity care continue to increase on an annual basis. Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital alone write off $12 million annually.

(4) Finally, working together with MaineHealth has saved millions of dollars in insurance costs, supplies and equipment purchases for our hospital these past nine years and will continue to do so well into the future.

We all need to continually look ahead and understand the changes that will take place in the healthcare industry. I took on the job of CEO of Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital for almost three years knowing that if our local hospitals didn't work together, one of those facilities would have closed in the near future. Financially, this would have been devastating to our coastal area as well as negatively impacting health care delivery to those who live here.

For the past nine years I have found MaineHealth to be the BEST partner Waldo County General Hospital could have. I do not fear any loss of local control knowing the benefits of working together and combining our resources will have on continuing of the great health care we have experienced over the past 40 years.

I truly urge our Coastal Healthcare Alliance Board of Trustees to approve unification as soon as possible.

Mark Biscone

Former CEO of Coastal Healthcare Alliance


Amazing experience

My family had an amazing build-a-boat experience at the Camden Windjammer Festival last weekend. We saw your front-page article regarding the build-a-boat event and were lucky enough to get a slot.

On Saturday, we arrived to a well-organized work tent at the public landing with wood forms already cut (by Bench Dogs) for our future Optimus boats. Ellsworth Building Supply supplied us with the wood, screws, epoxy, and so much more. Sikaflex held us all together with their donated marine caulk. Glenn Ruesswick and Brian Robinson worked with all the teams to get our vessels water ready. Of course, the Parks and Recreation Department of the town of Camden had laid the foundation for this awesome event and the volunteers at the Windjammer Festival made everything smooth.

On Sunday, our vessels were paddled in front of the crowds and launched with great fanfare. After paddling the course through the harbor, all kids were dry and happy. Success! Now the Sail Machine and Steam Museum will help us finish off our boats.

How amazing to have this building experience with all the help from our community sponsors. To be able to take a boat home for our two little boys to enjoy many more boating adventures is a true gift. Thank you to all!

John, Serena, Ward and Grant Morrison



High school activities bring communities together

Tailgates. Pep rallies. Friday night lights. The new school year is here! And that’s exciting news for student-athletes and high school sports fans alike.

Research shows that being a student-athlete is about a lot more than fun and games. It teaches important life lessons, too. In fact, high school athletes not only have higher grade point averages and fewer school absences than non-athletes, they also develop the kind of work habits and self-discipline skills that help them become more responsible and productive community members.

Attending high school sporting events teaches important life lessons, too.

Among them, it teaches that we can live in different communities, come from different backgrounds, faiths and cultures, cheer for different teams, and still have a common bond.

That’s why attending the activities hosted by your high school this fall is so important. It’s not only an opportunity to cheer for your hometown team, it is also an opportunity to celebrate our commonality. And that’s something our country needs right now.

The bond we share is mutually supporting the teenagers in our respective communities. We applaud their persistence, tenacity, preparation and hard work, regardless of the color of the uniform they wear. We acknowledge that education-based, high school sports are enhancing their lives, and ours, in ways that few other activities could. And we agree that, regardless of what side of the field we sit on, attending a high school sporting event is an uplifting, enriching, family-friendly experience for all of us.

Many of the high schools in our state lie at the heart of the communities they serve. They not only are educating our next generation of leaders, they also are a place where we congregate, where people from every corner of town and all walks of life come together as one. And at no time is this unity more evident than during a high school athletic event.

This is the beginning of a new school year. Opportunities abound in the classroom and outside it. Let’s make the most of them by attending as many athletic events at the high school in our community as possible.

Turn on the lights, and let the games begin!

Bob Gardner, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations

Dick Durost, Executive Director of the Maine Principals’ Association

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