Monday, February 19, 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


Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18

Tuesday’s letters: Challenges in Hillsborough foster care

Foster failures under scrutiny | Feb. 10Challenges in foster care systemNo young person deserves to be treated as shown in the Ch. 8 segment on Youth and Family Alternatives Inc., an Eckerd Connects subcontractor. It is difficult to fathom how th...
Published: 02/12/18

Saturday’s letters: We’re all just trying to get home, one zip tie at a time

I detest Trump, but a ‘redneck’ fixed my Prius with zip ties | Feb. 3, Ruth Mayer columnWe’re all just trying to get homeLike columnist Ruth Mayer, I too am trying to find my level ground, my level-set. I too have held a tremendously deep resentm...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18

Sunday’s letters: Let’s make America good again

Everyone loves a parade | Feb. 9, editorialI’ll sit on the sidelinesAs a 30-year veteran I was appalled at the president’s plan for a military parade. Having marched in numerous parades in my career I can say without hesitation that members of th...
Published: 02/07/18
Updated: 02/09/18