Valley News Forum for June 4, 2023: Answers needed on Dartmouth Health’s finances

Published: 06-04-2023 6:10 AM

Answers needed on Dartmouth Health’s finances

The headline article in the Valley News on May 31 (“Health system’s health better ... while still losing money, DH reports improvements”) leaves more questions than it answers. Recently renamed Dartmouth Health, its affiliates are Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, New London Hospital, Cheshire Medical Center, and the Visiting Nurse and Hospice for VT and NH.

Questions that need answers: Which of these organizations are money makers and which are money breakers? Figures, please.

The same article reports that DH plans to make Southwestern Vermont Healthcare Corp. an affiliate on July 1 and Valley Regional Hospital by the end of this calendar year. Are these additions money makers or money breakers? Perhaps DH has become too large, with severe staff shortages, and the extra expense of traveling nurses and technicians. Bigger is not necessarily better.

Terry Grigsby


NH lawmaker’s letter on public schools is alarming

I am writing you out of concern for New Hampshire state Rep. John Sellers’ irresponsible attack on public education (“Pull your kids from public schools,” May 28). As an educator myself and the recipient of an excellent public school education, I am deeply troubled when a public official urges parents to withdraw their children from the public schools. This damages our nation’s long-standing commitment to educating our citizenry. Public schools not only provide a foundation for a lifetime of learning, but they introduce all our children to a diversity of other children which is central to a strong civil society.

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Take my own family as an example. My grandfather immigrated from Germany at the age of 12. My father attended New York City schools, went on to the City College of New York (which produced opportunities for many other students from immigrant families, including Colin Powell). My father went on to law school and a career in public service, rising to be an acting assistant attorney general before retiring. His children went to public schools and eventually became university professors. When I go back to my high school reunions I reconnect with old friends with whom I share that public school experience. Calling on parents to withdraw their children from public schools deprives both our children and our communities of that important shared experience which enhances the vitality of our society.

The “parental rights” bill is misnamed. The rights of parents to shape their children’s education are already embedded in school board elections which are exercised by the adult citizenry of each and every town. Furthermore, there are lots of opportunities to volunteer through parent-teacher organizations or in providing direct classroom assistance. If you really are interested in addressing issues about curriculum or ethnic and sexual diversity, perhaps you could come up with a more constructive proposal, like creating parent-teacher committees to propose solutions rather than urge parents to withdraw their children from public schools. Emphasizing how you can educate your child in as little as 12 hours a week sounds less like a path to a strong education than an instant remedy to a complex issue.

Robert M. Baum


Lawmaker’s letter is delusional

I feel compelled to respond to Rep. John Sellers’ letter to the editor (“Pull your kids from public schools,” May 28). There is a war on public education going on in this country and in New Hampshire. It has now gone to parental rights which gratefully did not pass the New Hampshire governmental body. Those who advocate this are living in the delusion that all families are like “Leave it to Beaver.” Any teacher in public schools will tell you the horror stories of students who couch-surf because their parents don’t want them or are in danger from their family due to their choices of lifestyle.

Any parent whose child is unwilling or afraid to tell them their sexual orientation or any other personal information they feel they can share with their teachers should be ashamed that their only access to that knowledge would be through the schools.

Aline Ordman

White River Junction

Education needed

I was struck by the lack of grammatical accuracy in New Hampshire state Rep. John Sellers’ rant against public education (“Pull your kids from public schools,” May 28). As a career educator and recent New Hampshire resident, Rep. Sellers’ writing certainly made a case, though I doubt the one he was going for.

Brandon Arvesen