Letters to the Editor

6/23 letters: State budget cuts will hurt health care in eastern NC

The Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C. is the location of the teaching hospital for ECU’s Brody School of Medicine.
The Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, N.C. is the location of the teaching hospital for ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. Courtesy of Vidant.

Local health care in peril

Vidant Medical Center (VMC) is a vital pillar of our community, leading the way in rural health care and improving the health of the people of eastern North Carolina. As members of the VMC Board of Trustees, we take our role as stewards of this community asset seriously and will do what we believe is right to protect it.

Not only is it our responsibility, but it is our passion to deliver on the health care needs of the eastern North Carolina community. Dedicated Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, private community and Vidant physicians work together seamlessly at the bedside daily. The team members, families, friends and neighbors who make up our community depend on VMC as a partner to provide quality care, employ thousands of residents, train future nurses, physicians and other providers, and reinvest in our community.

As part of our commitment to eastern North Carolina, we unanimously agreed to restructure the VMC board to better reflect and meet the needs of the people Vidant serves. Every member of the board, including those appointed by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, agreed these changes were necessary to advance health care in eastern North Carolina and to strengthen our partnership with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University; a relationship that we fully support and value greatly.

Although we continually focus on meeting and enhancing the health care needs of our community, there are those outside of eastern North Carolina who have made politically motivated moves that will hinder our ability to fully deliver on our mission in the future. These harmful decisions were made in order to control health care in the East.

Most recently, the Senate pushed through a proposed budget that will cut $35 million annually in Medicaid payments to Vidant. This comes on top of the $38 million annual cut to Vidant due to changes to the State Health Plan that would take effect in January. The collective $73 million in cuts to the Vidant system will have devastating consequences for health care in eastern North Carolina.

Members of the VMC board took an oath to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina and we remain committed to that mission. We want to ensure that the people we care for are represented by those who understand them best and are committed to improving their access to quality, patient-centered care.

Bynum Satterwhite

Chairman, VMC Board of Trustees

This letter was signed by all members of the VMC board.

Enough guns already

Regarding “Lawmaker wants unlimited handgun purchases on single permit” (June 12):

The recent bill put forth by N.C. Sen. Danny Britt does not take not account that there are already too many guns in our country.

If you intend to protect our children and the adults of our country, there need to be stricter gun laws.

Everyday our newspapers are full of killings. Maybe Britt does not read or watch the news.

This is the same senator who co-sponsored a bill to let members of Congress use blue lights on their cars while working in North Carolina.

We need elected officials who are intelligent and have the ability to pass laws that are for the good of the American people.

The people of Robeson County should think about that at the next election.

Dolores Banks, Cary

Change medical malpractice law

The Opinion piece about the cap on awards is only half the reason victims of medical malpractice fail to recover damages. (June 18)

In North Carolina you must engage the opinion of a local, or similar community, doctor to opine to the malpractice in violation of “community standard of care in the field”.

The problem: N.C. doctors sign contracts agreeing not to perform this service because successful claims results in malpractice insurers raising premiums for coverage, costing physicians out-of-pocket cash.

In short: this is an effective bar on the injured, protecting the doctors who commit malpractice from increased insurance fees.

Remedy: The law needs to change to allow out of state expert opinion to give citizens a fair opportunity to be heard, and punish incompetent doctors who injure. Or, penalize self-dealing doctors who sign agreements not to testify for injured patients.

Remember the Hippocratic oath?

Deborrah Newton, Raleigh

Lawyer, Criminal Law Specialist

GOP must act on robocalls

Why won’t Republicans bring The Deterrence Act the anti-robocall Deterrence Act to the floor of the U.S. Senate?

What does the Republican Party love so much about robocalls using spoofed phone numbers to spread scams and misinformation?

While we’re at it, why won’t the Republicans in the U.S. Senate hold a vote on Mark Warner’s bill to mandate reporting of foreign interference in U.S. elections? What does the Republican Party love so much about foreign interference in our electoral process?

If Sen. Richard Burr and Sen. Thom Tillis don’t speak out in favor of these bills then they are actively working against the best interests of their constituents and should be ashamed of themselves.

Michael Williams, DurhamCQ

Why I find state COLAs unfair

Kudos to the N.C. General Assembly for considering the issue of COLAs for the retirees in the state’s pension plan.

While nonetheless considering Despite all the valuable contributions they may have made while actively working and enjoying good wages and benefits, the reality is that simply having a pension at all during retirement already gives them a huge advantage over private sector retirees.

While sources disagree on the exact number, Generally speaking, less than one in four private sector employees even have a traditional defined benefit pension plan, and less than one in 10 of those have COLAs.

Is it “right” that those private sector plans don’t have COLAs? Maybe not.

But is it “fair” that state retirees get benefit COLAs when their private sector fellow retirees can not? No, it’s not. Especially since North Carolina is one of those states that include pension payments in calculating taxable income.

So private sector retirees who don’t get COLAs but do pay taxes end up financing the COLAs for the state’s retirees. Absolutely not fair.

William Wilson, Hillsborough CQ