Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 2-16-23

Winsted Phoenix was not short-lived

In your article “Nader backs new Winsted papers” published on Feb. 1, the writer, Terry Cowgill, wrote:

“The Winsted Phoenix, a mostly online venture led by former Winsted Journal editor Shaw Israel Izikson, was short-lived.”

It was not lead by me. I was the editor, but it was lead by the board heading its 501(c)(3) organization.

Furthermore, the newspaper lasted from 2019 to 2021 and was both in print and online. I have the printed issues for proof of this. So it didn’t seem short-lived to me.

Please take this as correcting those statements.

Shaw Israel Izikson

Winsted

 

Act now to keep Sharon Hospital ICU open

What will happen if Nuvance is allowed to close the Sharon Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and replace it with a Progressive Care Unit (PCU)? Nuvance falsely claims in its public outreach that a PCU will provide our community with the same level of critical care that it currently provides.

This claim is contradicted in Nuvance’s official filings with the CT Office of Health Strategy (OHS), in which it states:

• Its proposed PCU is akin to an “intermediate care unit” and, therefore, not equivalent to an ICU that treats acutely ill patients.

• Patients with clinical conditions requiring ICU level nursing care cannot be admitted to the proposed PCU; instead, they must be transferred to another facility that has an ICU.

• 10% of the patients currently treated in the ICU will no longer qualify to be admitted to Sharon Hospital and will have to be transferred to another hospital.

What would this change mean for our community? While the Sharon Hospital Emergency Department would receive and stabilize ICU level patients, Sharon Hospital would not admit them. Instead, patients will be transferred to another hospital, up to an hour away (weather permitting).

The sickest patients could no longer be treated at Sharon Hospital, and families of those patients will have to travel significant distances to be with them. Consider what the inter-hospital transfer of patients would involve — long wait times for transport, reliance on third-party paid services (for which patients get billed), and the physical issues that arise when transferring a patient (moving a very ill patient from a hospital bed to a stretcher, detaching all monitors and reattaching them to mobile equipment, getting the patient into an advanced life support ambulance for transport of an hour or more, moving the patient out of the ambulance, transferring the patient into the new hospital and then into a room, moving the patient again from the stretcher to the hospital bed, reattaching all the monitors.)

Yes, this will all happen if the downgrade to PCU is approved by OHS. And, ironically, Nuvance admits in its filings with OHS that its plan will cause Sharon Hospital to lose more money.

It’s not too late for you to help. You can oppose Nuvance’s application to close the ICU and replace it with a PCU by providing written public comment to OHS by February 22. Just email a letter to CONComment@ct.gov and reference docket #22-32504-CON. Thank you for your support.

David C. Singer

Salisbury

 

Santos is to Republicans, as Medicare Advantage is to American health care

If you had any doubts about the monetization of our health care system you need only to follow the money in the development of Medicare Advantage — the cheap, for-profit health care insurance offered as a Medicare option (sic) on TV. Yes, the one that offers you no cost or even money back into you Social Security account upon your enrollment. They get to continue enrolling year-round while regular, government-based Medicare is restricted to enrollment yearly periods.

Yep, that’s the one that has the awful, old, and familiar person yelling to sell you “Medicare Advantage” in an over long and incessantly playing ad. With 50% of elder Americans now enrolled in Medicare Advantage, despite Biden’s HHS discovery of their fraudulent practices, they are continuing to restrict service delivery areas, providers and coverage.

Targeting the same elderly and largely under-informed enrollees, CVS (+Walgreens and Amazon) – three of our distribution giants – now have expanded to offer full primary care practices and homecare through their insurance holdings. This is an explicit and expected vertical integration of the American health care continuum of services from insurance, docs, drugs and homecare in one powerful corporate owner.

“CVS Health shocked many in late 2017 when it announced it would acquire Aetna in a nearly $70 billion deal. At the time, the companies stated the deal would ‘remake the consumer healthcare experience’ by combining CVS’ local clinic presence and Aetna’s analytics.” (Vertical Integration Will Test Health Systems Vulnerabilities, Health Association of New York, Hanys.org, 2019).

Insurance, with doctors clinics, wheelchairs and home health care, all designed to cut costs, especially hospital charges. Each practicing primary care, prescribing and filling your pharmacy needs. These are all legal for-profit expansions under Medicare Advantage. This industrial buy-up will tend to our aged as each patient meets the same owner’s cost-savings for all of their health care needs all the way to the Big Pharma Wall Street cluster.

“Make no mistake, vertical integration is testing and exposing providers’ vulnerabilities. While the payer and retail pharmacy vertical deals have a lot to do with owning more of the U.S. drug supply chain, they will also erode providers’ margins by impacting their referrals and top-of-funnel strategies. In reality, insurers would prefer people not visit the hospital, so these deals seek to prevent high-cost, unnecessary hospital admissions.” (HANYS.org)AL

Can anything be more predatory than a billion-dollar profit-driven health care industry disguised as a government safety net program for our most vulnerable populations? Yes, we have stooped that low in our national will to care.

Nancy F. Mckenzie

Amenia

 

Troutbeck expansion is just too much

In “The Story of Troutbeck,” Lewis Mumford says, “Almost two centuries from now, one hopes, there will still be fields and woods where there are now fields and woods....”

The plan of Troutbeck Holdings Inc. to build two hotels, four cabins, an event center and gatehouse will destroy this hope in less than a century.  What are our values?  Is making money more important than preserving the fields and woods?

You may be thinking Mumford was an impractical intellectual and that, of course, making money is more important.  But to exploit Troutbeck, the epitome of the unsullied natural environment, proves we care about nothing but making money.

If we allow this expansion, we destroy the Troutbeck described in Myron Benton’s poetry. In Benton’s “Songs of the Webutuck” there is a poem called “Haying” in which a mower takes a holiday on a crucial mowing day to go into the woods and enjoy its wonders. Perhaps we can’t understand today the gamble this mower took in a time when long term weather forecasting didn’t exist.

In “Soul’s Return” Benton imagines that after he has died, he would want his soul to return to Troutbeck:

“There is one spot for which my soul will yearn,

….

If I have leave; that sheltered valley farm;

its climbing woods, its spring, the meadow gold;

The creek-path, dearest to my boyhood’s feet:--

Oh, God! Is there another world so sweet?”

Mercifully for Mr. Benton, his soul will be turned away at the new gatehouse and won’t be able to see that his meadow gold has become a parking lot.

George Bistransin

Amenia

 

Work on view for Hudson River artist

In reference to the recent article in the Compass concerning painters in the Hudson River School of Art, I might add that my great-great grandfather, Jasper Cropsey,  was one the original founders of that school. A museum, with most of his works, is located in Hastings-on-Hudson, adjacent to Cropsey’s studio/home.

Peter Cropsey Smith

Taconic

 

Troutbeck’s proposed expansion may pose threat to shared Amenia/Sharon aquifer

I write this letter to ensure that Connecticut residents (people in the town of Sharon in particular) are aware that the proposed expansion of the Troutbeck Hotel and Conference Center near the border of Amenia and Sharon could seriously impact on the aquifer that is shared by portions of both towns. The fact that this aquifer is shared by both states makes this a Connecticut environmental/water usage issue as well as New York.

In the public hearing at the recent Town of Amenia planning board meeting, it was made clear that no actual hydrology study on the potential impact to the affected aquifer has been done. The newest version of Troutbeck’s proposed expansion will use, by Troutbeck’s own estimation, approximately 7,500,000 gallons of water annually, to be drawn from this shared aquifer. As a homeowner near Troutbeck, (on property that borders Sharon) I can attest to the fact that last year’s drought adversely affected the gallons/minute of our own well. The pressure on this aquifer, if Troutbeck were to use 7.5 million gallons/year, may cause serious water problems for households in both New York and Connecticut, especially during times of drought.

I voiced my concerns to the Amenia Planning Board about this water usage issue in that hearing, and none of the planning board members or Troutbeck representatives seemed to know what the present water usage at Troutbeck is, to compare with the proposed 7.5 million gallons of estimated annual usage. The town of Sharon, Conn., the N.Y. and Connecticut depts. of Environmental Protection and Conservation, legislators and any other agencies concerned should be made aware of the potential threat posed to this shared aquifer, and need to ensure all required impact studies are completed before approval be given to Troutbeck to proceed with the expansion.

I implored the planning board in a letter submitted to the town of Amenia to delay any final decision on approval or disapproval of the Troutbeck plan until all potentially affected parties are satisfied that all applicable environmental impact studies have been completed. I also voiced concerns publicly that the changes at Troutbeck could adversely affect the quality of water in the Webutuck River that flows through the property.

This river is in the Housatonic River watershed, and the Housatonic’s designation as a Federal Wild and Scenic river could warrant that further studies be completed before the Amenia board acts. A Connecticut Environmental Quality study may also need to be conducted. The Housatonic River Council, River Keepers, and other river protection organizations should be aware of this situation to help clarify any potential impact on the Webutuck River, and therefore the Housatonic River as well.

With the serious concerns shared by neighbors of the Troutbeck property, I feel the Amenia Planning Board should reconsider their decision to end all public hearings on this matter. It would seem prudent that another public hearing might be necessary to dispel any doubt that all environmental impact problems posed by further Troutbeck development have been addressed.

James Paton

Amenia

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