Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: On hospitals, look beyond magazine ratings

Hospital gets low safety rating | March 28

Look beyond magazine ratings

This article noted that no Tampa Bay area hospital scored high. Tampa General was recently named the second-best hospital in Florida by U.S. News & World Report yet received only 43 out of 100 from the Consumer Reports analysis. Could this rating discrepancy be a result of the different variables present when dealing with different populations? Is it possible that the Consumer Reports ranking is not actually reflective of care provided by hospital staff but of some other variable influencing these outcomes?

Readmission was one area scored. I question which readmissions were due to noncompliance on the part of patients. Oftentimes patients who cannot afford or do not correctly take medications, do not care for post-op wounds as directed or do not follow dietary instructions end up returning to the hospital. The hospital takes the hit.

Before putting too much emphasis on nonscientific surveys that don't always paint an accurate picture of the quality of care provided by dedicated staff in some of these "low-ranking" facilities, I would encourage taking the time to do your own research. See what quality initiatives these facilities have put in place and how they have fared in other reviews and surveys.

I believe the best indicator of the overall functioning of a medical facility is its accreditation status. Independent organizations, most notably the Joint Commission, set accreditation standards that are nationally recognized. When medical facilities are accredited by the Joint Commission, this means they have undergone a rigorous review of their systems and processes to ensure they meet or exceed the community standard of care. Medical facilities that are accredited by the Joint Commission also agree to unannounced inspections and to openly post the Joint Commission complaint hotline. St. Petersburg General Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission. That works for my family.

Jill Chase, St. Petersburg

Appeals court shuts off judge's 'sentencing path' | March 26

Modern-day debtor prison

Judge Thomas Freeman was admonished for keeping people tied to the court system and possibly in jail for many years if they were unable to pay fines. He may have had good motives, yet our Constitution protects us from debtors' prisons — except in divorce court.

People whose crime was to have been married are often forced to pay alimony for the rest of their natural lives. Until the day they die, they must support an ex-spouse or be put in jail. This has nothing to do with child support and applies to both women and men. Family courts in Florida and a few other backward states remain in the control of the divorce lawyers. And no wonder, as it is a $2 billion-per-year industry. These laws must be changed. Splitting assets and paying alimony for a period of time is fair. Paying until the day you die is abominable.

Linwood Gilbert, St. Petersburg

Must-have for 2014: your own Super PAC March 30

Money's grip tightens

In the landmark Citizens United decision, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority that "by definition an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate." Kennedy and those who voted with him should now eat their words because of the unintended consequences of this law.

During the recent debates for U.S. House District 13, the candidates were asked whether they approved of all the outside commercials. Sounding a lot like Pontius Pilate washing his hands, they all expressed their displeasure. Yet the ads continued. They were funded by a huge amount of money and in almost all cases were negative.

For the upcoming 2014 elections, it will only get worse. Americans should mute their televisions.

Florence Laureira, Hudson

Close door to drilling off Florida's coast March 17, editorial

Testing brings benefits

Seismic testing off the coast of Florida is about much more than expanding our gas and oil reserves. Studies suggest that a commitment to allow seismic testing would have tremendous economic benefits for all Floridians and would help put more people back to work.

A recent American Petroleum Institute study showed that more than 9,000 jobs could be added by 2035 if the government lifted restrictions against exploration and drilling in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. That means 9,000 Florida families could have more money in their pockets and more disposable income to spend at other Florida businesses. Couple that with $460 million in projected spending by exploration and development activity, and we have a scenario that is literally too good to pass up.

The benefits of testing are definitely worth lifting these restrictions. Our economy and labor force stand to benefit greatly if we just do the sensible and logical thing.

Marilyn Paul, Lakeland

Health care back in court | March 26

A matter of equality

This is one of those issues that is simply infuriating in the simple fact that it is an issue at all. Billions of dollars are covered every year in prescription drugs to help men have sex. No one derides these men. No one questions their morality.

Sixty percent of prescription contraceptives are prescribed for reasons other than contraception, and none are prescribed for facilitating sex. Ninety-eight percent of women, of all religions, have reported using contraceptives. This is about simple equality.

Mary Cook Colding, Tampa

For Rays deal, time nearly up March 31, editorial

Out from under debt

In this editorial, you state as a reason for building a new Rays stadium the fact that bonds issued to build the existing dome will be paid off in 2016. Across America, paying off a mortgage is cause for celebration. I have two years left on mine, and I assure you I will not run out and get another. I will have a mortgage-burning party and will start putting that money toward retirement. I'm glad the Times editorial board isn't my financial adviser.

Sam Jordan, St. Petersburg


Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: Trump’s words insult our Canadian visitors

Trade disputes torpedo G-7 summit | June 10Canadian visitors are owed apologyLike many Pinellas County residents, I’m pleased that we receive thousands of Canadian "snow birds" as part-year residents. Not only do they enhance our economy, but by ...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/13/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for June 15

Opinion: Commissioners arrogant and incompetentMy wife and I live in Hernando County. As such, we are represented by a Board of County Commissioners where all the members manifest two common traits. Those traits are arrogance and incompetence.The arr...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Tuesday’s letters: Fewer guns would reduce suicides

U.S. under suicide watch | June 8Fewer guns mean fewer suicidesIt is a fact that deserves more attention, but got only one sentence in the article about the U.S. "suicide watch:" "The most common method used across all groups was firearms." I spe...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for June 15

New group to address real women’s issuesLast Saturday our Congressman Gus Bilirakis sponsored a "Woman’s Summit" at East Lake High School that was supposed to deal with women’s issues. Some topics covered were gardening, weight loss and quilting.Mayb...
Published: 06/11/18

Monday’s letters: Bring back the ferry, kick-start transit

Cross bay, but who’ll pay? | June 8Ferry could be a gateway to transitIt’s great news that St. Petersburg is committed to bringing back the world class cross bay ferry service. What a common-sense and practical thing to do in order to ease us int...
Published: 06/08/18
Updated: 06/11/18