Letters to the Editor (4/22/15) | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Letters to the Editor (4/22/15) 

Published April 22, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

Second Opinion

"Record Time? Checking Vitals on Vermont's Other Health Exchange," [April 1] creates an incomplete picture of the important work done by Vermont Information Technology Leaders. In the last three years, VITL has accelerated the development of the Vermont Health Information Exchange, a secure network that delivers patient health information to providers. The VHIE is now connected with Vermont's 14 hospitals, Dartmouth-Hitchcock medical center and 170 health care organizations. Last fall, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, President Obama's head of health information technology, told VITL: "You all are a leader in the country, and you are doing some amazing work."

VITLAccess, a secure portal to the VHIE, allows authorized clinicians to see the results of care delivered by other providers. Higher-quality, cost-effective care is realized when tests don't need to be repeated, a patient's medication history is known or hospitalization for a procedure is avoided because test results already exist. Vermonters agree: 96 percent of those asked have given their consent for providers to use VITLAccess.

Vermont's major health reform initiatives rely on VITL to capture data for population health management. Dr. Craig Jones, director of the Vermont Blueprint for Health, recently stated, "VITL is poised to move Vermont's health system to a whole new level. For the first time, doctors will have timely access to more complete information to help their patients."

VITL has benefited substantially from federal and state funding, allowing an independent, entrepreneurial company to leverage technology that positively impacts health care delivery in Vermont.

John Evans


Evans is president and CEO of VITL.

The Troubles with '71

Finally, an Irish movie that film critic Rick Kisonak enjoys [Movie Review: '71, April 8]. Fie on Philomena; let's all go see a dark, gruesome, totally confusing and utterly pointless piece of crap about "IRA thugs," "a bloodthirsty mob" and "troublemakers" all out to get the sweet, innocent, soccer-playing British soldier, fighting in an army of occupation against people struggling for their independence and dignity. Poor guy can't catch a break, apparently, even though he manages to live to hug again while everybody else lies dead and bleeding.

No good guys in this flick — only murderous Irish villains of every ilk and age doing what they do for no apparent reason, historical context be damned. Sure, let's leave all that boring "exposition" stuff for the less gifted directors. No loyalties, no conscience — they're all just out there killing the crap out of each other. I'm from Belfast, I lived through the troubles in one of those "quaint hamlet[s]," and I had no feckin' clue what was going on after about the first five minutes of the movie.

Couple of things Kisonak did get right though. For sure, it's "a night that threatens to stretch on forever." I thought the bloody thing would never end! How long do we need to watch someone stagger around after a bomb goes off? Or get their belly sewn up? Or breathe hard? Oh, right, there's that deep underlying message about how "some things never change." War sucks. Wow! That's deep.

Eileen Cleland


Sorrell Must Go!

Compliments to Paul Heintz on his last three pokes at Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell [Fair Game, April 1, 8 & 15]. Five months investigating Dean Corren? Outrageous! No wonder we have to cut state benefits and lay off state workers. (I'd bet fives months of AG office "investigation" of Corren cost more than $72,000.)

There should be an "investigation" of Sorrell and his department by the U.S. Justice Department. A heroin (and perhaps human trafficking) pipeline through the state? Abuses of the elderly and disabled? The injustice done to migrant workers whose bosses withhold their last paychecks as they are being deported? (Sorrell has said in the past that this is federal — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. His hands are tied. Right.)

Is the heroin pipeline federal too, Bill? And what about your own little conflicts of interest in your campaign contributions? I've already started making calls to acting U.S. Attorney Eugenia Cowles in Burlington, and I urge others to do the same. Next, I'm calling U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. As Bob Dylan once put it: "Somebody better investigate soon."

Thank you, Heintz. And keep at it. You're doing a service to Vermonters.

Peter Buknatski


Fair Price of Food

[Re "Sacred Cows," April 1]: If people want dairy farms to implement practices that prevent pollution of our waterways, then we need to make sure that farmers are being paid a fair price for their production of essential wealth — food — so they can upgrade to more ecological practices without going out of business.

According to the State of Vermont, wholesale milk prices do not cover production prices, and with subsidies, farms continue to go out of business. I assume people want to eat, and that they like a Vermont with farms not sold to housing developers. Farming is an important part of our state and national economies, representing the production of real wealth. Try not eating if you do not agree.

To address this problem, farm prices need to be determined, as they were from 1942 to 1952, under what is known as "parity," successfully helping the war effort and creating the post-war boom.

The National Organization for Raw Materials, of which I am a member, has demonstrated the actuarial reality that a healthy economy requires farmers who can make a profit without subsidies, just a fair price, where that fair price factors in sound ecological practice. Then, with every bite, we all can contribute to keeping the waterways clean.

Bruce Marshall



Last week's feature about billiard whiz Van Phan, "Calling the Shots," gave the wrong impression that she quit college after taking some courses in pursuit of a career in law enforcement; in fact, Phan earned a bachelor's degree from Trinity College, where she double majored in sociology and criminal justice.


In his April 1 Fair Game column, "Big Fish," Paul Heintz misstated the value of a campaign contribution that Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell received from Mike Messina, a broker for the Dallas-based plaintiffs' law firm Baron & Budd. Messina gave Sorrell $2,000. The amount was correct in Heintz's follow-up column on April 15.

Due to an editing error, last week's story "Can Suburban South Burlington Build a Real Downtown?" gave the wrong impression about the current arrangement between the library and South Burlington High School. The South Burlington Community Library shares a building with the high school library, but it is an independent city department. Their respective collections are shelved together.

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