Letters to the Editor - 2-15-24

After state’s decision, Sharon Hospital must act

The Executive Director of the CT Office of Health Strategy (OHS) has issued a Final Decision, dated Feb. 5, 2024, denying Nuvance’s Application to close the Maternity Unit of Sharon Hospital. In the Final Decision, OHS found, among other things:

(A) “…[Nuvance] …failed to demonstrate that [Nuvance’s] Proposal aligns with [OHS’s] goals of improving quality, accessibility, continuity of care (and its relationship to quality of healthcare services), financial stability, and cost containment,” (B) “…the Proposal’s negative impact on access to Medicaid recipients and indigent persons would exacerbate racial and ethnic healthcare inequities at the state, county, and town levels,” (C) “…Nuvance had an excess of revenue over expenses of $105 million, had an increase in net assets of $242 million ending the year with over $1.7 billion in net assets, and by all accounts appears financially stable,” (D) “…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,” (E) “…[Nuvance] has not articulated a plan for ensuring that sufficient EMS providers are available when needed…” (F) “…if this Proposal is approved, there will be an impact on cost-effectiveness both for the general population as well as indigent persons, and it will not be a beneficial one,” (G) “[Nuvance] has not demonstrated that there is good cause for its reducing access to services by Medicaid recipients and indigent persons,” and (8) “…the Proposal will result in a negative impact to the diversity of health care providers and patient choice for L&D services.”

Nuvance must commit itself to the rule of law by adhering to the Final Decision and promptly:

1. Publicize to the entire community that the Maternity Unit at Sharon Hospital is and will remain fully operational.

2. Actively recruit full-time OB-GYN doctors offering competitive compensation.

3. Actively recruit full-time OB-GYN nurses offering competitive compensation.

4. Insure that Sharon Hospital has the doctors and medical staff required to address pediatric care and emergencies.

Nuvance must act now and in good faith so that the Maternity Unit at Sharon Hospital can thrive.

David C. Singer, Esq.


Sharon Hospital OB-GYN services

It is hard for me to imagine that Nuvance ever dreamed that it could or would ever close Sharon Hospital’s obstetrical unit, given that there are no other places nearby where it is truly safe to have a baby. Obstetrical emergencies, when they occur, happen with speed and require quick, competent intervention. It appears that the administrative people don’t care about the health and well being of mothers or babies, but care more about the bottom line.

I spent 28 years as a pediatrician at Sharon Hospital with privileges to go to the delivery room, especially when for emergencies. I am certain that administrators and insurance people have their place, but it is not in the delivery room.

I trust that Nuvance will now live up to their responsibilities, but they will need to be watched.

Malcolm M. Brown, M.D.

Active Medical Staff from 1973- 2005. First Selectman of Sharon from 2005-2009. Now on Emeritus Medical Staff


Wilburn review strikes chord

Although I don’t consider myself a true cinephile, Alexander Wilburn’s review of Illeana Douglas’s book Connecticut in the Movies… (Compass, Jan. 18) struck a chord. Having lived in Connecticut for most of my lifetime I’ve developed a sense of what is genuine and what is pastiche.

I agree that to a Manhattan audience Connecticut is Westchester County with an extra dose of cachet. On the small screen, Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow is but a plastic imitation of Hollywood’s concept of Litchfield County. We don’t hold town meetings in a village square and no Nutmegger, to use a passe epithet, would ever refer to our shoreline Interstate as “the I-95.”

Revolutionary Road I found so depressing that any faux pas escaped my notice.

Not mentioned in the review is Mystic Pizza, which was not only set in eastern Connecticut but was filmed here. Much of the action was not actually shot in Mystic, as it happened, but in Stonington, one town to the east. This was perhaps because the titled pizzeria, which was and is a real restaurant, is on a fairly steep incline and not well suited logistically. A number of my friends made transitory appearances as extras. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but the milieu seemed well suited to the story and vice versa.

To my mind, the quintessential Connecticut movie is Parrish, the 1961 film adaptation of Mildred Savage’s novel of the same name. Starring Troy Donahue and Claudette Colbert, the story concerns the fortunes of two competing family dynasties in what was once a major Connecticut industry: tobacco. Of course, the business battles are accompanied by complex love stories, but what is most remarkable is that both setting and narrative come across as genuine. In large part that’s because it was filmed in the “tobacco valley” of north central Connecticut with a few other recognizable landmarks in the mix, the Chester-Hadlyme ferry and the former Terra Mar resort at Old Saybrook among them. I first saw it shortly after release at the Colonial Theatre in Canaan, as I was living in Falls Village at the time.

Christopher “Kit” Foster

Gales Ferry, Conn.

Need for local housing options

I would like to address the need for local housing opportunities for local natives of the Northwest Corner. There seems to be more discussion of the process of how we address the problem of severe housing shortage for locals rather than actually solving the problem. I’ve lived in the Northwest Corner for seventy-nine years and the problem is still with us.

DIP’s (definitely inform people) get appointed to positions in local government boards of the town. They have created and installed their own property pricing that adversely impacts local folks who desire to live in the area they were raised in.

Since the pandemic, property square costs have risen $400 per square foot to well over $1,800.00 per square foot! And we wonder why local residents cannot afford to buy property in their home town?

I have a creative solution to the problem! For every sale of land or home, a portion of the sale price be set aside to stimulate local production of local housing. These funds should be placed in a stipulated local account that promoted the development of local housing. An initial amount of 4% per sale would be a good start. Keep in mind property speculators come in all ages and sizes!

The process of denying local congregate communities is discouraging communities to build affordable housing. The Pope Land (which has both street side sewer and water access) was purchased by the town of Salisbury and voted and approved at a town meeting, yet the land trust organization has organized to limit housing opportunities not expand them! All those who advocate unlimited hours of planning are intentionally stalling the process of implementing affordable housing! What’s wrong with that picture! The Pope Land is an example of this delay and deflection campaign that targets both the elderly and local workers WHO NEED A PLACE TO LIVE!!

So lets stop planning defective strategies and put the shovel in the ground and START BUILDING NOW!

Bill Kelsey

Ashley Falls

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