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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 9/15/2002

Hospitals should quit competition

The unexpected collaboration by Mercy Health Partners and ProMedica in response to Mayor Jack Ford's health-care initiative for the uninsured should mandate an end to their long-standing, counterproductive competition.

Demonstrable evidence that this spirit of cooperation is not merely a fa ade would include elimination of advertising by both parties. This should start with removing the large billboards scattered throughout the area. The multi-thousand dollar cost of each of them, some with high-tech revolving panels, cannot be justified in this time of escalating health and insurance costs. Moreover, expenditures for the billboards can be reallocated to help offset the anticipated high cost of the proposed program.

Self-promotional advertising represents a costly, competition-driven modality, which if eliminated would significantly enhance the hospitals' ability to contribute funds in support of this new community endeavor.

The rationale for abolishing hospital advertising is unassailable: Except when unexpected emergencies occur, patients choose their physicians, and as circumstances may require, participate in decisions regarding hospital and/or specialist care. This physician and patient interaction is integral to preserving a proper doctor-patient relationship.

The primary role and responsibility of hospitals is to make available facilities and services that enable physicians and other health professionals to provide quality patient care. Extensive advertising of these resources is an unwarranted expenditure, serving only to perpetuate an unhealthy, unprofessional competitive atmosphere.

The community at large and the health professions are well aware of the excellent state-of-the-art services available in our region. It is time for Mercy Health Partners and ProMedica to cease and desist from persisting in costly, unnecessary competition, and to refocus their efforts and finances on the serious issues and problems that beset quality health care in Toledo and northwest Ohio.

HOWARD S. MADIGAN, M.D.

Sylvania

Our presidents are privileged to travel in high style on Air Force One. No one questions the need for our leader to fly in this manner when conducting the business of the country.

The cost of Air Force One averages about $57,000 per hour. That does not include extra security charges. We taxpayers pick up most of this cost. The problem is, the President is not always conducting the business of the country.

For example, President Bush has traveled 36 times this summer on “political” business - read: bolstering his personal standing, campaigning for other party candidates, replenishing the GOP fundraiser coffers - bringing in over $115 million. President Clinton, during the same point in his presidency, raised a paltry $35 million.

Whoa! What gives here? Why should taxpayers foot the bill for a president's political junkets? We've heard the word “accountability” in reference to the business community. How about some of the same from the Oval Office?

VIRGINIA M. NICHOLS

Sylvania

Gov. Bob Taft has spent the summer playing a $100,000 shell game with taxpayer dollars. Consider the following “fishy” sequence of events.

The Hook: In late July, Mr. Taft cuts Ohio's fish-safety advisories to save $100,000. A storm of criticism follows.

The Line: Suddenly Mr. Taft reinstates the fish advisory program at a cost of $100,000. Why? No doubt because the next day he's going fishing at Lake Erie Fish Ohio Day (“Taft's angle in fishing lake is to help sport,” Aug. 29) and doesn't want a bunch of angry anglers to throw him overboard.

The Sinker: While Taft was off fishing, his staff in Columbus closes the Ohio Film Commission. Money saved? You guessed it: $100,000.

So there you have it: Bob Taft's summer shell game - hook, line, and sinker.

ALEXANDRA HUGUELET

Wright Avenue

For those blind and weak-willed liberals unable to see the threat that Saddam Hussein poses to our American way of life, consider the following. U.S. intelligence has uncovered evidence that Iraq is now in the production stages of a stealth slingshot.

Don't laugh; this is a weapon of mass destruction.

It was learned that Saddam has employed and in some cases kidnapped the best rubber scientists from around the world. Entire rubber plantations have been shipped to Iraq from South America for experimentation. The result has been the development of an altered rubber molecule having 500 times the elasticity of ordinary rubber.

Recovered blueprints show a sling that, at least on paper, can be drawn up to one mile and catapult a conventional or nuclear weapon or biological agent from Baghdad to the Atlantic Ocean. The launching of this weapon is virtually undetectable until it reaches the ocean.

At this point a sophisticated rocket-propelled guidance system will quickly deliver the ordinance to eastern U.S. cities. Satellite reconnaissance photos show soldiers and machinery attempting to draw the enormous rubber band of a scaled-down model and accidents are feared.

The Spanish daily La Bombasta recently reported the mysterious appearance of an Iraqi solider swimming in the waters off the coast of Gibraltar. This is the latest in a history of aggression and deception by a man obsessed with destroying our nation. This is not the time to be consulting with allies, or Congress for that matter.

JOSEPH MORAN

Woodbriar Drive

I applaud the Ohio Supreme Court decision to refuse to extend authority of local health department officials to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.

Dr. David Grossman's well-intentioned regulation goes against the grain of democracy.

Place this issue on a ballot for the people to decide.

Like one person who frequents Arnie's Eating and Drinking Saloon said, “These are public places where people go to eat, drink, and smoke. If you don't like it, don't come in.”

As long as cigarettes can be purchased legally, owners of liquor establishments should be allowed to accommodate smokers - at least at their bar.

Until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration accepts control and regulation of cigarettes, recognizes the dangers of smoking, and classifies this highly addictive drug as an illegal substance, smoke 'em if you got 'em!

FRANK ALBERTS III

Brooke Park

Do the math:

Cost of new arena: $40 million.

City Taxpayers Pay: $ 8 million.

State Taxpayers Pay: $ 7 million.

Payments from Operations: $25 million.

Total: $40 million.

Where is the private investment for this part of the project?

Who is on the hook if operations do not produce enough revenue to retire the remaining debt? We've had one arena failure in the area (even before it was built), let's not have two.

Cleanup of the site is costing the state $6 million. Are the proponents of the project expecting the state to pick up an additional $7 million? Can anyone assume they will be involved in operating a public facility without bidding a contract to operate it? Or is it a condition of the sale of the land?

Fifth Third Field is the bright spot. Do it right (and it looks like it was done right), or don't do it at all.

JAY SAMELAK

Tecumseh, Mich.

As I watched the Toledo Mud Hens playoff game in their new ballpark, my eyes filled with tears. I was thinking of Gene Cook, and how he would have been so proud and excited to see his dream of a new stadium come true.

Well, Gene O, we could feel your spirit all around us. You helped build it, and we all came. We didn't win the ball game, but we came away from our beautiful new ballpark knowing the area has a winner.

ALICE GERDING

Stirrup Lane



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