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Letters to the editor- July 03, 2008

To the Editor,

    On July 11, Steve Perkins will be leaving his post as CEO of Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center. He has served with particular distinction in that post for five years. Let’s look at what that job entails, and why one might want to move on after five years of service.

    Providing and preserving quality health care in rural Colorado is a constant struggle. Huerfano County is one of the poorest counties in the state, and our local population is compromised in large part by citizens with either no means of paying for health care or with coverage that does not cover the cost of providing adequate care. Those who have the means or the insurance to pay for their care are burdened by “cost shifting” that is designed to cover some of the losses incurred caring for those who don’t have the means to do so. The CEO and SPRHC must constantly adjust resources and funds in an attempt to continue to keep the doors open and the lights turned on. The talented and caring staff at SPRHC must be adequately paid for their fine work, the building and grounds must be carefully maintained and essential equipment and technology must be regularly upgraded.

    Meanwhile, reimbursement for services loses ground annually with the rate of inflation. The U.S. Congress currently is considering a ten percent decrease in Medicare reimbursement, at a time when rural hospitals light to stay solvent. Utility costs continue to rise, insurance costs of all kinds continue to rise, the cost of materials, equipment and technology continue to rise.

    I know that five years in that environment would burn me out. I don’t know of all that contributed to Steve Perkins’ decision to step down, and I wish he would re-consider, but I don’t blame him for wanting to move on. We should all thank him for five years of a job well done.

    David Zehring, M.D.


    Huerfano County

    Hospital District Board


Letter to the editor:

    Blackhawk Ranch extends its most sincere gratitude to the eagle eye at Silver Spurs Ranch for reporting smoke coming from our location.

    Thanks to the speedy response from the Huerfano County Sheriff’s Deputies and Fire Department and the Spanish Peaks Volunteer Fire Department, a small, smoldering, lightening caused fire on the southeastern part of Blackhawk was quickly extinguished.

    It was a lucky day for Blackhawk Ranch and its residents. Thank you all for your efforts.

    Cissy Severance

    Blackhawk Ranch POA

    On June 25, 2008 at a special hearing of the Upper Huerfano County Fire Protection District an injustice was set right.  Assistant Fire Chief Joe Albano was reinstated and the bogus charges, brought against him by Chief McArthur, were dropped. 

    My concern is that Chief McArthur sees himself fit to sit as one of our county’s commissioners.  I believe this county deserves much better, please, let me explain.  McArthur charged Albano with placing firefighters under his command in danger.  This would be an egregious act of ineptitude or evidence of woeful disregard.  One would think that the chief would have confronted Albano at the scene, relieved him of duty, or at the very least, documented these very serious allegations; Chief McArthur did nothing.  So, at a much later date, as McArthur feels his little kingdom threatened by Albano, a better educated, more capable firefighter, he dredges up these specious allegations.  McArthur then has his loyalists make vague recollections supporting the charges against Albano and hopes his “snow job” will work on the Fire Protection Board; it didn’t.   What McArthur proved in not addressing Albano with these charges at the time they supposedly occurred is that, at best, the chief is an incompetent manager whose inability to document these serious allegations, and follow the protocol necessary, leaves great doubt with regard to his ability and judgment.  At worst, McArthur has shown himself to be a petty, vindictive and passive-aggressive administrator who will do anything to serve his ego and political ambition. I say again, Huerfano County deserves better.  Without dissecting, line by line, Chief McArthur′s recent letter to the editor in the Huerfano World, let me just say that his recollection is both creative and self-serving and doesn’t mesh with the reality the rest of us experienced. (The meeting was taped by a reporter, what were you thinking?)  In the light of your crass behavior and administrative incompetence, please sir, show a degree of class and self-awareness and remove your name from the ballot. 

    So I leave no doubt as to my intention, do not take my concern over Chief McArthur′s behavior as having been motivated by my support of either of the other candidates running for commissioner in District One.  In light of past history and current scandal the Democrat, and the Republican, should both gaze into the mirror and assay their consciences.  I suggest that they, too, should put the good of this county before their personal ambition and consider removing their names from the ballot…let′s wipe this slate clean.  Huerfano County deserves better!

    And, to be very clear, let me say for the record that the opinions stated above are my own and I am not speaking on behalf of any group or organization.

    Nelson Holmes

    I took some offense at being led into reading Ms. Dolce′s news article which I viewed as being politically slanted against Sen. John McCain′s health care reform plan.  You describe the senator and "conservative businessmen" as advocates for "individual responsibility".  I just checked McCain′s website where his health care reform plan is spelled out and found nothing that indicates he spoke or wrote those words.  Perhaps you mistakenly took those words out of context or this was an interpretation taken on your own.  I suggest you also review McCain′s health care reform plans on his website where they are spelled out in a detailed fashion.  Additionally, I feel the health care reform series should be viewed as editorial material instead of news if the series advances a political agenda.

     According to the Cato Institute, more than one-third of the uninsured in the U.S. are eligible to get free Medicaid care by joining either the Medicaid program or the State Children′s Health Insurance Program.  And yet they don′t bother to enroll.  May we assume that one-third of our citizens you refer to as uninsured in Huerfano County do not want insurance?

         Jim Sumner

        La Veta

    Thank you, Mr. Sumner, for your comments on the health care reform article.  The more people who join the discussion, the more likely we will find the optimal solution. 

    I meant no offense by my comments and believe Senator McCain is absolutely right in his position that “The biggest problem with the American health care system is that it costs too much” and that it must be reformed because it is damaging the competitiveness of America′s businesses (see McCain′s October 11, 2007, Des Moines Rotary Lunch speech).

    Political slants aside, you make a very good point about the number of uninsured in our county being inflated with people who apparently don′t want insurance as indicated by their failure to enroll in Medicaid though eligible.   According to the Blue Ribbon Commission′s final report, the Census Bureau estimate of uninsured is inflated with people on Medicaid who have been incorrectly identified as uninsured.

    You′re obviously well informed on this vital issue.  I hope you will continue reading the series and sharing your comments.

     Carla Dolce

Dear Editor:

    In this day of big business and the high cost of gas;  thanks goes out to San Isabel Electric Company. On Friday June 20, there was a cat stuck on an electric pole out in Navajo. He had been up there for at least 12 hours in the hot sun and could not be coaxed down. San Isabel was called; and from the top people all the way down to the lineman, it was agreed they would come out and get the cat down.  Great appreciation goes out to San Isabel Electric for caring more about a cat′s life; than the money it cost them to run a truck from La Veta and the lineman′s time (whether donated or paid) to save the cat from what would have surely been a horrific death. Good to know our electric company cares about more than the almighty dollar.  And especially thanks to the lineman from La Veta who came out late in the evening and risked injury from the cat to save it.

    Pattie Rowe  

To:  Huerfano Journal

Re: John Galusha, County Administrator

    I don’t know what Mr. Galusha said about the Huerfano County Chamber of Commerce?  What was said?  My question regarding Mr. Galusha is, as county administrator why isn’t he at their meetings?  He states: “I have not attended a meeting for several years.”  This is not good, in my opinion, as county administrator.  He needs to know the details of their organization.  This, I would think, is part of his job.  Our Chamber needs all of the backing it can get.  And in order to help, his presence is needed.


    Dorothy Mihanovich

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