Courier-Gazette 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

 

Bringing Millay home

Nancy Milford , author of Savage Beauty, the biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, spoke for free at the Strand Theatre this Saturday to crown the efforts of the Millay Society's successful start.

Ms. Milford took the three hundred Millay fans through a whirlwind mystery tour of the life of that wild woman poet of the roaring twenties. Thomas Hardy once said, “America has only two wonders: the skyscraper and Edna St. Vincent Millay's poems.” The Rockland audience played a deft duet with Ms. Milford's story. The questions were so engaging, that Ms. Milford waived book signing in order to continue the intimate three-hundred-person chat.

Rockland, you are always so Rockland amazing. Edna must be happy to be home.

Debby Atwell

Rockland

 

Library says thanks for support of summer program

Another summer has passed for the 40 Days of Summer program at the Thomaston Public Library. Our activities included a visit from Chewonki Foundation, Northern Stars Planetarium, Project Puffin Audubon Center and Pope Memorial Animal Shelter.

We celebrated Harry Potter Days and had messy science; made Legos and learned about forensics with Patty McDonald; were visited by the Thomaston Police and were introduced to robots by Chris Dorman, Maine State Library STEM/Emerging Technologies Specialist. We learned about bees and sharks and lots of water everywhere was de rigueur for hot days. There was much more and healthy snacks and lunches every day.

A total of 133 children from 84 families participated, and nearly 1,100 meals were served. We were generously supported by the Rockland Kiwanis Foundation, American Legion Post 1, the Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist, the Federated Church of Thomaston and Lyman Morse, as well as by individuals and families in our community. Food for the first seven weeks was supplied by RSU 13. The final week was hosted by the Friends of the Thomaston Public Library and had "guest" cooks, including the Garry Owen Motorcycle Club, who roared up on their bikes and barbecued hot dogs and burgers. We ended our program with traditional pizza and root beer floats. We were able to offer a grand summer experience for our children.

So many folks to thank: a marvelous staff, including our own Missy Harjula, Caroline Ward-Nesbitt and Hana Baker, and a redux of last year's summer staff, Caitlin Raye and Toby Mergendahl. Patty McDonald, Peggy McCrea, Peter Lambert, Jean Vose, William Dashiell, Matt Hansbury and Jessica Woodend, thank you for your time and talents. Master-Clean provided us with an indispensable trailer for our supplies. And we appreciate the support and efforts of the RSU 13 kitchen, which supplied lunches. It's a wrap, until, of course, summer 2018.

Diane Giese

Librarian

Thomaston Public Library

 

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

 

Thank you for Blueberry Cove run

Last month's benefit half marathon at Blueberry Cove raised more than $20,000. It also raised my spirits to see 200 people of all ages, sizes and background enjoying this beautiful corner of Maine together.

Proceeds help children experience the outdoors together and discover that learning can be joyful, cooperative and character-building. The race supports scholarships to both Blueberry Cove and Tanglewood 4-H Camps, supported by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

This year, as in past years, I'd like to thank all the volunteers who helped in so many ways, and these area businesses, who contributed to the post-race brunch and the overall cause: Harbor Builders, The Sugar Tree, Happy Clam and East Wind Inn in Tenants Harbor; Thomaston Cafe; Laura Cabot Catering in Waldoboro; Schoolhouse Farm in Warren; Good Tern market, Atlantic Baking and Hole in the Wall bagels in Rockland.

The 8th annual Blueberry Cove 13.1 will take place August 26, 2018.

Steve Cartwright

Tenants Harbor

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