Letters to the Editor, August 14

Marco Eagle

Data is misleading

I am a retired physician, medical school professor and I am considered an expert in interpreting medical data and statistics. I am a Marco Island resident. I have seen information circulated by Mr. Ron Myers and feel compelled to respond.

The power points clearly do not, as Mr. Myers states, show that Collier EMS is "doing a great job.” They only show that in 2014 the response times were met their 8-minute goal 90-plus per cent of the time.

Editorial cartoon

The data is misleading because:

  1. They present four-year-old response times? What is the recent data? There have been significant changes on the island, especially the volume of people and a longer season. It is also likely that our Marco EMTs do even better at response than the county.
  2. Response times are a secondary endpoint and are actually irrelevant to this discussion. The only statistic that matters is the time from call to arrival at the emergency room. Minutes matter, especially with common issues like stroke and heart attack.
  3. I have never seen the call-to-ER data which is at the core of the argument of why Marco needs control of our own paramedics. I have asked OCOA if they have that data and was told “We have asked for the data regarding the transport times (arrival in ER) after a 911 call. The county says that they are unavailable and cannot give them to us.”
  4. It would be very disturbing it the county does not collect the data. It would mean that their quality control in awful. It is worse if they have the data and will not share it.
  5. Until now the only data I have ever heard is that most transferees were happy; which is medically irrelevant and usually means the EMTs and paramedics were nice.
  6. Other than discussing training, there is no data presented on the quality/appropriateness of care given. Again, it would be very disturbing if they do not collect either the actual data or at least the results of simulation exercises. 

In my knowledgeable opinion, the data is old, opaque, and irrelevant. Collier EMS is clearly more concerned about losing the funding from Marco and paramedic insurance charges than in providing appropriate data and timely, medically appropriate emergency care.

Paul M. Krueger (D.O. FACOOG (dist.), Emeritus Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Rowan School of Osteopathic Medicine), Marco Island

Vote ‘yes’ For Marco E.M.S. Strong!

The referendum process has worked well when the majority voted our Island becoming a city (only one of three municipalities in the county) to provide our own administration separate from Collier County.

A year later in 1998, voters made the logical step to approve the establishment of our police department separate from the county sheriff.  Because the office of sheriff is a Constitutional officer, the city has to pay full costs of our department. Perhaps the voters see the benefit of having our own police department after the recognition last year being declared the safest city in Florida.

Now the same naysayers and uniformed opponents to our city EMS/ambulance transport system might incorrectly have you believe this is double taxation. It is not! A legal decision in Broward County from a lawsuit filed by an individual citizen resulted in the reimbursement of the ad valorem taxes the county had collected for a service they no longer provided. In addition, Marco would also be able to collect user fees from transports to the hospital at a rate set by Marco. Today these patient fees are billed and collected by the County even when Marco is providing the second paramedic on the unit.

Another reason to vote yes on the Aug. 28 referendum protects Marco from upcoming consolidation of EMS services to an independent Fire District and enhances the medical care Marco residents would receive and determined by a Medical Director under contract with Marco. We will have a voice and control costs.

As a member of the PACS that brought cityhood and our own police department, I urge you to ignore the factually incorrect noise of the naysayers and vote yes on the referendum.

Jack Patterson, Marco Island

Focus on US first

Having leaders and law enforcement officials who get into positions to cater to personal agendas is what’s going on in the United States of America. We don’t need law officers or presidents who worry about what’s going on in other nations while neglecting what’s going on in this one.

Who works in supermarkets, hospitals, pharmacies, etc., is crucial to the safety of our food and medical care. Presidents and law enforcement officials don’t seem to be concerned until a complaint is filed regarding these areas. They should know how criminals and other terrorists work before complaints are filed. Not everyone reports to law enforcement or to the president. This sight comes from God or intuition working in someone.

When criminals play political leaders or law enforcement they don’t use intuition, they use “smarts.” Criminals depend on a smart, deceptive way to keep themselves in control. But they contradict their performance when it’s obvious intuition doesn’t work for them.

The medical field and shopping areas are a playground for crime and terrorism, yet they run themselves until law enforcement proves with rare evidence that they commit crimes in these positions. You don’t usually hear about Jane Doe dying from medication or John Doe in the hospital from food poisoning.

The fact of the matter is that people are no good when God isn’t working in them.

Kristie Raccuglia, Marco Island

Bill doesn’t hinder beach access

I have been reading the letters to the editor about the customary use (beach bill) law recently passed by the Florida Legislature. Since I live on Marco Island and the beach is very important to me, I became concerned by the comments in the letters that the bill privatizes the beaches in this state. So I decided to find out all I could about this new law.

I first contacted Florida Realtors since I’m a member. Florida Realtors has a good explanation of the bill on its website. It says that public access to Florida’s beaches is not cut off under the new law and that the law only changes the process a local government would follow to adopt a customary use ordinance in order to expand public access to private beachfront property. That seems to me to be a good thing, which would actually increase public access, not close it.

I also read the bill. There is nothing in the bill at all about privatizing the beaches or blocking public access.

I’m not sure where all the negativity in the letters comes from, but I suspect it’s a political ploy to disparage our Republican-led Legislature in this highly contentious election year. So, to anyone who has concerns about beach access, I suggest you read the bill itself. It should set your mind at rest.

Bette McGilvray, Marco Island

Fix environmental mess now

The environmental messes affecting the Indian River Lagoon, Lake Okeechobee and the estuaries on both coasts of southern Florida are not only unacceptable, they are frustrating.

As a Republican who has voted for Republicans for over a decade now, I am bothered by the lack of leadership and by the abundance of silence the people I have voted for are showing. The ecological treasures that surround us in this state deserve leadership that is proactive and willing to put a stop to this nonsense.

Get to work and fix this mess. Today.

Jeff Hartzler, Marco Island

Consolidation threatens Marco’s future

I see the Marco malcontents are back in full force! The “grumpy old men” and their emotional barrage of negative emails are urging you to vote no on the ambulance referendum.  Over the past several years the malcontents have been negative on many issues for progress in our community.  That is because they are not fully thinking about Marco Island’s future.  

A “no” vote is extremely shortsighted. Be aware, countywide consolidation of Collier County Emergency Services is looming in the near future.

The county did a straw vote asking citizens if they would approve EMS consolidation; 63.7 percent favored a consolidation but not one of these voters was a Marco Island voter. Marco Island had no voice in the straw vote because it was not included. Once consolidation occurs, Marco will pay more money, for less service, and with no voice if we do not have our own COPCN first. 

Marco Island needs to look to the future and vote “yes!” The ambulance referendum is not just a vote for today; it’s an investment in our future and the future of Marco Island’s next generation – our kids and grandkids.

A “yes” vote will take control back from Collier County so Marco Island residents have a strong voice in controlling its own destiny. Why don’t the Marco malcontents want to improve our ambulance service and move the tax dollars from the county to our city?

We will all benefit from our own ambulance service.  The positive voices in our community are standing together now and will vote yes for our ambulance service and for the Future of Marco Island!

Suzanne Piro, Marco Island

Hoping it's not too late

I am filled with anger and disgust, but mostly with great sadness as I write this letter.

I am a resident of Florida who treasures the beauty that it offers. To that end, I have supported environmental causes and watched carefully the debates regarding Lake Okeechobee releases. The proposed solutions have dragged on for years, even while citizens increasingly have united and voted for funding to help solve the problem.

There is not enough time and space allotted here to trace the history of the fiasco of promises, projects, indifference and misappropriated money.

Now there is an additional assault on our flora and fauna: a deluge of red tide flows into our once beautiful coastal waters. Recently on a national news program, a map of the entire west coast of Florida indicated its spread from Sanibel Island, informing the entire country of our putrid mess.

Maybe when tourism is impacted, this will be the impetus, finally, for our elected officials to protect our beautiful and delicate environment. I hope only that it is not too late.

Sallyanne Ferrero, Naples