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Your letters: Reader opinions

By Times Staff
Published March 18, 2007


Nonprofits fill pockets March 4

Hospital CEOs worth their pay

I read with interest the story by Kris Hundley on nonprofit hospitals and their CEOs' compensation. The implication appears to be that we might all be better off if there were no new hospitals, if hospitals didn't have a bottom line for new technology and improvements and that we would have better CEOs if they were paid less than what is customary in other parts of the country.

Having been a nonprofit hospital CEO a couple of decades ago, it continues to surprise me how the media and the public seem to be critical of hospitals needing to turn a profit.

Most troubling are the reactions in the blog comments of those expressing resentment about hospital CEO pay. I moved to the Tampa Bay area from an area where the preponderance of thought seemed to be, "If something good happens to you, it must be bad for me." And that seems to be a large part of the sentiment after the article.

I'm certain that for every one of those negative comments, there are hundreds of hospital employees who greatly respect their senior executive, are indeed proud and appreciative of the work he or she does and harbor no resentment of the compensation earned for that hard work.

We in the Tampa Bay area should be proud and most appreciative of the wonderful, progressive hospitals we have, and particularly thankful to the tenured professionals who serve at their helms.

Lee Lawrence, Tampa

Feds will pay for digital TV switch March 15

Federal funds for our TVs? Good grief

This modest little item in "Talk of the day" almost went unread as I scanned the Business section. But then I noticed the "B" word. Actually, $1.5-billion that's been allocated by our friends in Washington so our televisions can be converted to receive digital broadcasts.

How very thoughtful. It's about time they spent some money to improve such an important part of our lives. For far too long, they've just been spending way too much money providing quality care for our veterans and the needy elderly. What will they think of next? A chicken in every pot? An iPod in every pocket? Tune in on your newly converted, digitally equipped television to find out.

Jim Lyman, Lutz

USF: School's costs, ratings low March 13

Make USF's business school more rigorous

Improving the quality of the graduates at the University of South Florida business school is primarily a function of increasing the selectivity and/or the intensity of the program. With a Legislature focused on high enrollment, high graduation rates and low fees, that is not necessarily going to be easy.

Richard Gasink, Tampa

About Universal Health Care

Universal's 'customer service' is useless

It has been interesting to follow the news stories about Universal Health Care's financial problems. Believe me, they have more problems than just being underfunded. Their customer service department has to be the worst I have encountered in my 70 years.

I have been a Universal "client" since last June. Lately I have been attending the lunch programs of "all" the Medicare Advantage providers. The majority attending were looking for a replacement for their Universal coverage, not just because of the news reports and fear of them going "under," but frustration in dealing with contracted "customer service" representatives in another country who don't have a clue.

I and a friend have been trying for six weeks to change plans within the Universal "family" to no avail. We were even switched to a plan we did not want. All we get when we call is, "I apologize for the mistake." No one takes any blame. All we get are promises. Well, here is my promise. As of March 31, we will be enrolled in a competitor's program.

Robert Lartz, St. Petersburg

Verizon triples up on services for $99 March 13

Bright House quality? Hmm. . .

I refer to the statement Mr. Joe Durkin of Bright House made in the article. He said, "What separates us from the competition is quality and service." Bull! Ask him why Bright House has been unable to upgrade its customers to high-definition TV. I bought an HD TV several weeks ago, and they have been unable to provide me with a tuner. They tell me they don't know when they will get some and - get this - they don't know why they can't get them. How is that for "quality and service"?

Rocco Tabone, Inverness

Consumers win with competition

It has been said that competition is good for innovation, the economy and the consumer. Unfortunately, Bright House cable feels that no competition is what the consumer really wants. I am a resident of Pinellas County, where there has been competition for about five years. I can choose between Bright House or Knology for my cable TV needs. I chose Knology.

Until recently, when Verizon started offering its FiOS TV service, Hillsborough County had no competition. Consumers had to pay cable rates nearly double what their Pinellas neighbors were paying for the exact same services. Competition has started to get Hillsborough County residents more in line with what Pinellas residents pay for their cable TV.

Bright House has been rushing to have large apartment building owners and homeowner associations sign exclusive access agreements, thus locking out competition.

The residents of a large apartment building in Temple Terrace were looking forward to trying out Verizon's new offerings. They'd seen them install their fiber in 2005 and 2006, and they'd heard the buzz about their new services. But when their orders began rolling in to Verizon, Verizon received a letter from the cable company's lawyers demanding they stop selling their FiOS television service. It seems that after Verizon's construction was well under way, the cable company had signed an exclusive agreement to provide video to that building. Verizon was literally locked out of the complex.

I believe, if we really want to benefit from competition, our lawmakers will prevent Bright House, Verizon, Knology or any other cable company from using anticompetitive practices, such as the exclusive contracts.

Dennis Maranville, Clearwater

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