Recent news from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on hospital readmissions highlights important work being done by Hawaii’s hospitals (“Isle hospital readmissions fell 13.4% in 5 years,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 14).
Hawaii had the steepest drop in hospital readmissions in the nation between 2010 and 2015. This means Hawaii — already among the states with the lowest readmission rates in the nation — made the most progress in ensuring patients don’t end up back in the hospital after being discharged.
This is a testament to ongoing hard work by our hospitals, who partner with skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies to ensure patients continue to receive the care they need. It also shows what can be done when we work together.
That is the Hawaii way — lokahi — which is one of the reasons the health care industry here continues to push the boundaries of what is possible for quality care. Let’s congratulate Hawaii’s hospitals on this well-earned national achievement.
President and CEO, Healthcare Association of Hawaii
Keep uninsured cars off the road
In addition to Robert Holden’s suggestions (“Extend Zipper Lane in west to ease traffic,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Sept. 20), how’s this idea to help ease traffic in the west, east, north and south?
Auto insurers would tie in to the city’s motor vehicle registration department to create a database to ensure that vehicles are insured and registered. Safety-check stations could tap into the database and refuse safety inspection certificates to improperly documented vehicles. This reduces the chance of bogus paper insurance cards.
But here’s the key part: The police should enforce the law. No insurance? No registration? You don’t belong on the road. The result: perhaps 20-30 percent fewer vehicles on the roads.
U.S. should help more refugees
This is the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Millions of people from Syria, Central America and other conflict zones have been forced to leave their homes due to violence and instability in their communities.
The Obama administration is starting to acknowledge the magnitude of this crisis, but the stated goal of welcoming just 110,000 refugees next year falls far short of what is needed.
Congress has so far failed to agree to fund even this modest increase in refugee assistance. The U.S. needs to increase funding to meet the urgent need for refugee resettlement in the U.S. and internationally.
I hope my senators and representative will act to welcome refugees.
Watch stoplights, not cell phones
I was born and brought up here so I know: Unless you really need to, don’t honk your horn.
I get it. But I find myself behind drivers who don’t move when the light changes. I know why: They are looking at their cell phones.
So what do I do? Adhere to tradition or honk? I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been slipping to the dark side. Please save me. Stop looking at your cell phones when you should be watching the lights.
Spend money on life, not war
A recent report from Nextgen Climate and Demos, based on a Stanford/Berkeley study, predicts that U.S. millennials will lose $8.8 trillion in their lifetime due to global climate change inaction.
Yet tax dollars still focus on never-ending war. The latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute states, “As regional conflicts and tensions continue to mount, the USA remains the leading global arms supplier by a significant margin.”
How do we transform the U.S. military-industrial complex into the sustainable energy-industrial complex? We vote.
There are 75.5 million U.S. millennials. One by one we elect a government that invests our federal and state tax dollars, not on war profiteering or fighter jets, but on new jobs researching and building energy-efficient infrastructure. Through watchdogs and social media, we hold our elected officials accountable.
The positive side effect is a foreign policy based on community action promoting the quality of life — clean energy, uncontam- inated water, soil, air and food for all.
Politicians keep taking, spending
If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
The rail transit project is over budget and underfunded. Now the state wants to study making drivers pay per mile they drive (“Charging by mile, not by fuel,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 16). It sounds like a way to drive up rail ridership.
The rail originally was to be completed in 2019; now it may be in 2024. The study for the tax-per-mile plan is set to be completed in 2019, the same year the rail was due to open.
We are over budget on rail by more than 50 percent; the state takes a large percentage of the general excise tax surcharge that was supposed to go to rail only; and now the state blames low gas prices for the bad roads.
It is amazing to me that we keep voting these people into office and giving them two or more chances. We get what we deserve.
Trump birther headlines biased
When I woke up Saturday and turned the first page of the Star-Advertiser, I was greeted with the headline, “Trump reveled in birther lie until the end” (Sept. 17). The next line read: “His smug reversal was a continuation of his self-indulgent, uninhibited fantasy.”
Really? How do you really feel? I know President Barack Obama is Hawaii’s favorite son, but would it be possible for the Star-Advertiser to report the news in an unbiased, professional manner? Something like: “After years of contending otherwise, Trump finally agrees that Obama was born in the U.S.”
This would have gotten the point across without subjecting the reader to such bias.
Editor’s note: The article in question was a news analysis from The New York Times.
Blame experts or sugar industry?
The political cartoon in the Star-Advertiser (“Just a spoonful of sugar,” Sept. 16) was eye-grabbing.
The story behind that cartoon is terribly disturbing. Some 50 or so years ago, the national sugar industry decided to steer the blame for increasing obesity and heart disease away from sugar and toward saturated fat.
It hired esteemed scientists, including a Harvard professor, to write a so-called scientific paper to achieve that end. The effort was a success.
The result has been incalculable damage to the public health over an extended period of time.
Who is at fault — the highly esteemed professionals who sold their souls or the sugar industry that was protecting its economic interests? Worse yet, whom can one believe anymore?