Monday, June 18, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Wednesday letters: Florida health care needs reform

Emergency medicine

Florida health care needs reform

Are we in Florida doing everything we can to address emergency care issues? Not according to the state-by-state report card on America's emergency care environment just released by the American College of Emergency Physicians, which gave Florida a C-minus and ranked the state 27th overall.

Florida earned a D-plus in public health and injury prevention, in part because of a lack of safe driving laws that result in the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the country, and a rate of bicyclist fatalities that is more than twice the national average.

The state earned a C for medical liability environment, which is due to the lack of insurers offering liability coverage and the lack of pretrial screening panels.

Florida needs to recruit, train and retain all types of health professionals — especially those who work in our ERs. We need to become known as a physician-friendly state. One way to do that would be to improve our medical liability environment. Florida could do that by encouraging additional insurers to write liability policies and implement pretrial screening panels. Another way would be to increase funding for graduate medical education and to consider loan forgiveness programs.

Michael Lozano Jr., M.D., president, Florida College of Emergency Physicians, Tampa

TV ads defend trauma units | Jan. 19

Justify facilities by need

Health care has become an emotional, fear-driven agenda for hospital conglomerates with their profit-oriented business plans. Can we be realistic, honest and sensible in our approach to the trauma issue?

Having been a board member on the Health Council of West Central Florida and the Hillsborough County Hospital Authority for many years, I have seen this develop for decades.

At one time there was a logical program for determining the justification for establishing medical facilities through the certificate of need process. This gauged the actual need. Slowly, it was politically marginalized. The economic and medical justification for facilities is now a political game. The mega hospital conglomerates are using this to serve their dollar-driven agendas.

Trauma centers are a highly specialized segment of health care. Huge investments of millions in equipment, staffing of skilled medical professional experts, experience in thousands of procedures unique to trauma — these elements simply cannot be duplicated in more than a few vital venues.

While we have a shortage of primary care physicians and medical specialists, you cannot simply open a facility and call it a "trauma center" with justifiable credibility.

Access to quality health care is vital. We must utilize sound reason and logic in our approach to this issue in lieu of the emotional fear and propaganda now being experienced.

Austin R. Curry, Tampa

Taxing us to death | Jan. 17, letter

Learn the facts about plan

In a letter opposing the Greenlight Pinellas plan and a 1 percent sales tax for improved transit, a reader wrote: "It would appear that the mind-set of those who support this effort … is … those who oppose it are simply uneducated, misinformed or confused." He then perfectly validates the mind-set he attempts to disprove: He suggests that Penny for Pinellas funds be used for transit. That is not possible.

If he had researched the Penny for Pinellas, he would know that those funds are already allotted and can only be used for capital improvements and not ongoing operations, which is essential for transit. He then points out that the ballot language doesn't specify eliminating the current PSTA property tax. Had he researched that subject, he would have easily learned that the PSTA will officially zero out the property tax via interlocal agreement with the county. PSTA's taxing authority is levied by the Legislature and can only be taken away by the Legislature. In fact, last year, at PSTA's request, the Legislature passed a bill that would, indeed, eliminate that taxing authority if a 1 percent transit sales tax were approved by the voters. That bill was vetoed by the governor.

I urge people to visit to learn the truth about the plan and not to rely on assumptions and catch phrases to make their decision as to whether to support the funding change and Greenlight Pinellas transit improvement plan.

Bob Lasher, spokesman, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg

Lawmakers should okay charity fixes Jan. 19, editorial

Set a higher standard

Protecting charity donors is certainly a government role and I am relieved that finally this is being done. There are excellent proposed legislative safety recommendations being made.

However, I thought there was a typo when I saw that if less than 25 percent of the proceeds are actually being spent on charity, the group will have to detail how it is spending its money and with whom. At a minimum 60 percent of my donation should go for its intended purpose and solicitation. I would want to know how the 75 percent is not being spent on the charity.

Twenty five cents of each dollar I donate going to my intended cause is not a wise investment. I want more for my money. Unfortunately, 25 percent was not a typo as I saw it mentioned in several places. This is a glaring misstep in keeping the scammers at bay.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam should take another look at this.

Marilyn Weaver, Tarpon Springs

A monumental disagreement Jan. 20

A lack of dignity

Why are some people still fighting the Civil War and this one over monuments? As horrific as the Civil War was, when it ended, the common soldiers from both sides just wanted to go home and get on with their lives. Years later when these soldiers were old men, they would gather at reunions as comrades and friends while reliving the courage and bravery exhibited by both sides in battle. These former enemies embraced each other as citizens of one country.

Too bad that 150 years after the Civil War ended, the present-day ancestors of these soldiers cannot act with as much dignity and grace as their forefathers who actually fought in that war.

John Murphy, Largo


Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Updated: 3 hours ago

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 ...
Updated: 12 hours ago

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