Letters to the Editor - The Millerton News - 9-21-23

Nuvance must accept OHS judgment

Idaho, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina, Missouri, Florida …all states I once called out in praise for their rural health care programs, are now places where the Republican led legislatures are known for instituting violent laws which are full of hatred and cruelty criminalizing women’s bodies. American women are feeling angry, frightened and hopeless.

We need to spread our good news that offers hope. The Office of Health Strategy drew a bright line explaining what access to reproductive health care should mean in rural Connecticut. We respect and honor the women of our state, and want to ensure they have the access to all the health care they need.

The hearing for CON 32511 was held Dec. 6, 2022, and lasted 12 hours. During that time Hearing Officer, Daniel J. Csuka maintained an impressive level of professionalism and calm. A mighty fight was presented by Dr. Mortman (along with a host of other doctors) and the Save Sharon Hospital team. Twelve thousand pages of testimony was submitted. The outcome was the full-throated support to access to rural reproductive healthcare, authored by the staff of OHS, and signed by the Hearing Officer Csuka.

 Nuvance’s staff at Sharon Hospital (SH), under the direction of Attorney Theodore Tucci and his staff, was given ample opportunity to explain their ‘transformational plan’ and knew full well what was at stake.

Yet when asked by OHS staff at the hearing, “ to describe how the Proposal will improve quality of health care, SH stated that approving the termination of the Services “will have no impact on the quality of care in the region.”

Really?? That was the best they had?? Yet again they proved that they do NOT care about the health of the families they serve they care about the paymaster who cracks the whip.

Facts and OHS were on the side of women’s reproductive health. “All of the available research is clear that even when alternative arrangements are made and emergency department staff is as fully prepared as possible, rural L&D closure results in bad quality and safety outcomes, including premature birth, low-birth weight, maternal mortality, severe maternal morbidity, increased risk of postpartum depression. Rural L&D closures also result in emergency department births, non-indicated induced c-section, postpartum hemorrhage, prolonged hospital stays, and an increase in perinatal mortality. There is no reason to believe that SH’s experience would be any different.”

Nuvance must accept this judgment. Appealing this decision only proves what little regard they have for the women and families of our region, and for healthcare, their chosen profession.

The Connecticut Hospital Association must show some leadership by supporting the state’s decision and the women and families it protects; acknowledging that the days of L&D closures are no longer appropriate and that access to rural reproductive healthcare is something they stand for. Tell Nuvance not to appeal.

It is long past time for the Sharon Hospital Board to speak out for the well-being of the women and children they represent, to call for healing and an end to this battle. Tell everyone they value life in this community and tell Nuvance they must not appeal.

Deborah Moore

Sharon, Conn.

 

Equal space for Republican candidates

One of the front-page articles in the September 14, 2023, issue of the News was entitled “Eastern Dutchess Democrats gather on a historic site.” While the article wasn’t newsworthy, it did manage to describe in some detail the Democrat candidates for local Town of Amenia offices, as well as the Democrat candidates for County Executive, County Clerk, District Attorney and Family Court Judge. 

Now I don’t have a beef with local Democrats, but I have to wonder why the News would spend so much valuable space and ink on behalf of their candidates? I suppose that the News is entitled to print most anything it wishes, but curiously its editorial page clearly states that “it does not support … candidates for public office.” On several occasions, I have cautioned the Editor and Publisher that the consistent favoritism shown by the News toward Democrat candidates and positions runs the risk of alienating about half of its potential readership.

I would hope that the least the News could do in a future edition is to provide equal space to Republican candidates, some of whom are incumbents who have worked hard for many years to make Eastern Dutchess County such a great place to live.

Michael Chamberlin

Former Chair of  the Amenia
Republican Committee

Amenia Union

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