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Opinion: Porter Medical Center should instead ask higher-paid staff to sacrifice

I want to respond to the editorial of the Nov. 9 edition of the Independent.
I think most citizens who use Porter are glad to have this resource available to us and don’t want to see it disappear because of economic issues. I do wonder if the board of the hospital and the executive officers looked at other solutions to cost cutting besides removing the health insurance benefit currently provided for staff who work less than 30 hour per week. Did they even talk about cutting the salaries of the highest paid professional and administrative employees or have them pay a bigger share of their health insurance benefit?
In my opinion, many people in power tend to make cost-saving cuts from the bottom of their spreadsheet. Administrators seldom if ever cut their own salaries or benefits to save the business or institution. It is easier to cut the health insurance benefits of part-time employees rather than cutting the salary or benefits of the people in the most stable economic position at the top of the institution’s spreadsheet.
The highest paid employees are often considered the hardest to replace and are protected from economic decisions that would reduce their compensation. Part-time and low-paid salaried or hourly workers are where administrators focus their cuts to balance their budgets. I wonder if Angelo Lynn looked into other economic cost-saving solutions before writing his editorial supporting the administration’s position of cutting the health benefits of part-time employees to keep Porter economically stable.
Staff who have no health benefits often come to work sick since they can’t afford to see a doctor. They run the risk of infecting patients and visitors to the hospital. They wait longer to obtain medical help and a simple medical problem can become a major problem eating up more medical resources and put the patient’s life at risk, thus increasing health care costs for all of us.
So maybe it is hollering wolf for no good reason if the cost savings to Porter can be handled by reducing the benefits to the highest paid employees, including the administration, and providing good health care benefits to the hospital’s part-time employees.
May we all be in good health.
Peter Ryersbach
Starksboro

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