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Letters: Helen Ellis hospital needs support of community

Re: Hospital must open its books, editorial, Oct. 3

Hospital needs local support

In the caption under the photo of Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital in Tarpon Springs you say, "North Pinellas residents want — and deserve — details about the facility's finances." I sincerely wish that were true, but unfortunately, most citizens never give a thought to any community hospital until they need one, much less care about getting any financial information about it. In fact, most citizens don't have a clue that Helen Ellis is a not-for-profit medical center, and if they did, they wouldn't even know what that means.

If, as you say, people in this community "want" information about this hospital, the first thing they need to know is that a not-for-profit hospital derives its income not only from the services it provides, but more importantly, from charitable contributions, financial and otherwise, from a public who are grateful to have this facility close by in their neighborhood and want to support it in any way they can.

No income is used for anything other than running the hospital and continuing to provide all its services to the citizens in this area. All the income goes right back into operations and equipment to continue to assure that citizens have the best care available.

This community support is nowhere more important than in actually using this hospital's services when the necessity arises, rather than choosing to use another, more remote facility. Without the support of the community it serves, no non-profit hospital anywhere can do well.

Since 1927, when a group of citizens saw the need for a hospital in this community and provided, out of their own pockets, the means of acquiring one, this hospital has grown into a full-service, state-of-the-art medical center thanks to the continuing support of the people it serves.

As the expenses of operating a hospital continue to rise, if that public support wanes, naturally, finances will be affected. We should care, and if we indeed do care about the continuation of this marvelous medical facility in our area, we need to know about it and support it through charitable donations, volunteering and, most importantly, using the fine services it provides.

Believe me, I know from personal experience that in an emergency, nothing is more comforting than to know that you are only minutes away from a great medical facility that can take care of whatever your need may be. For our own peace of mind and our own benefit, this hospital is a facility we can all be proud of and it needs and deserves our support.

Sandra Tracey, Tarpon Springs

Re: Hospital must open its books, editorial, Oct. 3

We all pay for patients who don't

May I suggest that you run down information that 45 percent of all emergency room visitors do not pay. I heard this from a very reliable medical source. It is impossible for any company to break even when 45 percent of its customers do not pay! Do the paying 55 percent of patients make up for the 45 percent who do not? That would not seem fair!

Fred Yonteck, Clearwater

Re: Car kills man in shelter, story, Oct. 6

Learn the dangers of driving in rain

On Sunday night I drove home from work in Tampa in that terrible storm. There was deep water on all the roads. Cars had to be hydroplaning. They sure scared me!

Then I reached Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and U.S. 19 in Clearwater and realized something terrible had happened. Again.

When will Florida drivers learn how to drive in a downpour? These kinds of accidents happen far too often!

Fran Mcdonough, Dunedin

>>your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

Letters: Helen Ellis hospital needs support of community 10/07/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 8, 2008 4:52pm]
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