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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 15

An alternative to hospitals

We reviewed with great interest your Sunday Focus on hospital payment reports. This article is quite timely as the “Affordable” Care Act and other health care costs come under scrutiny. It is important to note that the data provided by the Oregon Hospital Payment Report is only based on hospital payments and excludes payments to Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs).

We have developed a program at our ASC that allows appropriate non-Medicare patients to safely undergo hip, knee and shoulder replacement surgeries as same-day outpatients. We have an extremely high satisfaction rate and exceptionally low complication rate. The payments are “bundled” so the entire episode of care is packaged into one global fee. This includes the surgeon fee, the facility fee, implant/equipment costs, etc. This allows the cost to the patient and the insurance company to be less than the hospital charges in most cases.

Current legislation does not allow Medicare patients to have total hip or knee replacements at outpatient centers. There were over 700,000 patients who received knee replacements in 2015 in the U.S. Hopefully the Medicare regulations will be updated in the near future so the immense cost savings can be realized by all patients.

Robert Bents, M.D., and James Van Horne, M.D.

Grants Pass Surgery Center

A charming story

I applaud Judi Honoré's attempt to denounce censorship. "Little Black Sambo" was written in 1899 by a Scottish author about an Indian boy — not an African. It is a charming story, beloved by children worldwide.

Linda Gamble

Ashland

Plan reduces protection

In the article you reprinted from the Roseburg News-Review about the latest BLM Forest Plan, the plan claims to “better protect wildlife ... and waterways, and old-growth forests. However, my understanding is that the plan reduces by half the streamside no-logging buffers. This seems to lessen protection for fish, water quality, and other wildlife.

Also, at a time when climate change is becoming more and more alarming, increased clearcutting that reduces the ability of our forests to store carbon is contradictory to common sense.

Transitional programs for timber-reliant communities need to be created now so the health of our planet and life upon it can be the bottom line rather than money.

Jill A. Iles

Talent

Open the cover

Recently the Oregon Shakespeare Festival raised concerns about a book called "Little Black Sambo." This is a children's story about a Sikh family in India, and a son who outwits a tiger. It is a charming tale that has become a classic.

But OSF seems to only see the title and has taken offense and publicly criticized the book and its display. They could have opened the cover and found the story of heroism by a young child told with humor and pretty pictures. It has nothing to do with American racism.

OSF has put some plays forward that have provocative words in the title. Shouldn't they give a children's book the tolerance they ask of their own audiences?

Anna Howe

Ashland

Letters to the Editor, Aug. 15