Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 9-6-18

Patient care inconvenience due to too-lengthy process

On Wednesday, Aug. 29, I experienced firsthand the disturbing incompetence of what Health Quest has done to Sharon Hospital. The once cherished sense of patient care has been replaced with a facility that is truly just another corporation. Endless amounts of paperwork, duplicated in each department you visit, replacing a sense of care and concern once bestowed upon the patient.

I have heard stories of bloodwork being lost. I have heard how the results of lab work ordered by a New York doctor are now unobtainable from Sharon’s Medical Records department because the bloodwork is sent to a New York lab. The disappointments continue.

Let me make very clear that I am not discrediting the medical professionals at Sharon Hospital, nor am I complaining about the fact that an appointment was delayed. I am discrediting the process and the quality of customer service provided to patients and our providers by Health Quest.  

My son had an 8:45 a.m. appointment with Regional Orthopedics and Sports Medicine (RO&SM), located at Sharon Hospital. He arrived at 8:35, completed the expected paperwork and was told, “It’ll be just a moment until your X-ray.”  

Instead, 15 minutes later, RO&SM was instructed to send us to Registration to register for the X-ray. Prior to Health Quest, patients were taken by a RO&SM staff member directly to and from X-ray.  

Upon arriving at Registration, we found 11 people waiting. We turned right around, went back to RO&SM and explained that we would not wait in line to get an X-ray for an appointment already scheduled with their office. RO&SM was somehow able to eliminate the registration process for us. 

Upon arrival at Radiology, all the patient information just provided to RO&SM was input again, this time into Radiology’s computer. Health Quest doesn’t have the ability to merge patient information, so more time can be focused on the patient? Clearly not. This process took another 15 minutes and it was input incorrectly, resulting in more wasted time on logistics.  

After spending almost an hour rushing back and forth from department to department, continuing to repeat insurance and patient information and still not obtaining the medical procedure requested (X-ray), I informed Radiology and RO&SM that we were leaving, and they were not to bill my insurance company for Health Quest’s disservice.

As I was leaving, Jim Hutchinson asked that I take the time “to write to him” with my experience. Unfortunately, what is going on at Sharon Hospital is much more than one individual can fix himself.  

Are all these voices not loud enough? When will you save Sharon Hospital, president of Sharon Hospital, Peter Cordeau?

Lynsey Anderson



Variation on a theme: The Mulligan Burger

I think it was about four years back, that you published a piece about the Mulligan Burger, once a staple at the Woodland Restaurant. Mr. Knowlton has attested to his father’s invention with both pride and passion.

He is certainly entitled to both emotions; to run a restaurant requires incredible skill, determination, endurance and an intrinsic understanding of what makes food good. But I believe the myth of his father’s creation is just not so.

My father, Richard Kearcher, purchased The Woodland in 1952, moving his two little boys and wife to the Northwest Corner of Connecticut, to run a luncheonette named The Woodland. It served three meals a day, employed local women to bake pies, bought beef from Shagroy farm and used local purveyors for milk and eggs.

When he took possession of The Woodland, a man named Mulligan frequented the restaurant. He had served as a chaplain at The Hotchkiss School, was fond of the area and visited often. His son Jack Mulligan enrolled as a freshman at Hotchkiss in 1957.  As our father always told it (the story is corroborated by my eldest brother, Robert), Mr. Mulligan one day requested his ground sirloin burger with melted cheese, a slice of tomato and my mother’s recipe for coleslaw piled upon the burger. 

It became The Mulligan Burger and went on the menu as such. Perhaps a precursor to The Big Mac, requests from patrons would vary: a slice of red onion, sautéed onions, lettuce. When my father sold the restaurant to Mr. Knowlton, he then opened a restaurant in Millbrook called The Hilltop. The Mulligan Burger was on the menu at The Hilltop Restaurant.

The recipe for the original coleslaw was not the recipe Mr. Knowlton used after purchasing The Woodland. My father used green cabbage (not red),  carrot, onion, mayonnaise, cider vinegar salt and white pepper. (Black pepper was unsightly; and sugar was never used.) 

And that is the story of the Mulligan Burger, or at least as our family knows it.

Lynn Kearcher



Creativity, accountability needed in North Canaan

Kudos to Mark Godburn’s recent letter inquiring as to the state of financials regarding the rebirth of the Canaan Depot.

It’s about time we got an accounting of just where the money comes from and goes to on this long-awaited salvation for North Canaan.

Personally, I thought the cabooses of years ago would have been a real attraction to the town, perhaps with the marriage of a steam locomotive. The vision wasn’t apparently there then and I have doubts our eyesight has improved.

While on the subject, I think our abandoned Episcopal Church has real possibility of becoming a multi-purposed arts center, but without money to invest I can only imagine and use creativity. 

Not that a brewery won’t keep us intoxicated and emptying our pockets, but something more fulfilling to our mind and cultural expansion might be better for our salvation.

Let’s start seeing the nickels and dimes, and the investments already made into the town.

Wayne Farrington

North Canaan


Good reasons to vote for Maria Horn for 64th District

In June, I attended the “Moms Demand Action” rally in Kent. This rally expressed solidarity with the victims of gun violence, with emphasis on preventing future mass shootings like those in Newtown, Parkland, Pulse Nightclub and Las Vegas. 

I learned at this gathering that the National Rifle Association, based outside Washington, demanded that Maria Horn, a candidate for the 64th District, complete a questionnaire on gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment. If she complied, Ms. Horn would receive a “score” from NRA HQ. If not, NRA HQ assured her they would question her patriotism and target her candidacy.  

In my opinion, Ms. Horn took a courageous stand and did not succumb to bullying and extortion by NRA HQ. 

Ms. Horn’s friends and neighbors in the Northwest Corner are law-abiding patriots who support common sense regulations for gun purchase and ownership. They are poorly represented by an over-funded, self-aggrandizing NRA management who plan to demonize and intimidate her. Who made NRA HQ in Washington the arbiter of patriotism in northwest Connecticut?  

Before the 2016 election, Brian Ohler completed his NRA  questionnaire and was rewarded with its endorsement and a rating of 86 percent.“ I am wondering: Will Mr. Ohler also renounce the bullying and intimidation practices of NRA HQ?  

I’m going to the polls in November looking for courageous officials who believe in and will fight for the general welfare of all of us in the Northwest Corner. This means I’ll be supporting Maria Horn.

Michael Kelley



Horn deserves your vote

Aren’t we privileged to have such a generous and qualified candidate running for state representative for the 64th District in the Northwest Corner? Maria Horn has the dynamism and professionalism needed to fight for our families, our environment, our health care and our schools.

And who better than Maria to defend women’s rights, which are presently so imperiled? It’s time to shout out loudly that we have had enough of destructive Republican policies that are influencing our daily lives, our communities and our country. Vote against the president and all those who have stood silently at his side by voting for Maria Horn in November. 

It’s time.

Rita Marshall



She listens: Vote for Horn

I met Maria Horn at a “Meet the Candidate” event for state representative at a gathering at my neighbors’ home recently. I experienced her as an informed, articulate woman who has the ability to calmly look at issues from different points of view.  

The lack of stridency in her message was refreshing in these times of finger-pointing and personal insults. Ms. Horn answered questions about issues, including Sharon Hospital, affordable housing, improved technology to attract businesses and the concerns of our neighbors in North Canaan and Torrington. 

Her approach to these problems was deep listening and conversation to find truths. It is not “they are wrong and I can fix it”, but finding ways to meet, listen and problem-solve.

When she knocks on your door, welcome her presence and willingness to listen to your concerns.

Eleanor Miller