I get so tired of St. Joseph-bashing in this community. Sure, St. Joseph's makes some mistakes, and employees facing changes will aways feel uncomfortable, but I think we need to balance that with how much the St. Joseph Health System does for our community. They support numerous Community Resource Centers and give many grants large and small to many diverse organizations that promote health directly and indirectly. They give a tremendous amount of free care, 10-20 percent more than other hospitals in the greater St. Joseph System. Just this afternoon a man in Mad River told me, with tears in his eyes, that he got a letter from St. Joseph saying he didn't owe "a thing." And they do all this while struggling to keep afloat in a reimbursement system that is beyond broken.

Health care will always have to make uncomfortable decisions about who will get care and how. The problem is not St. Joe's, but our overall health care system's. St. Joe's is fighting a battle with both its arms and one leg tied behind its back, as are all the health care providers in this country. I think St. Joe's does an admirable job keeping its goal of a healthy community in the forefront of its policy decisions. We need to give the system credit for its successes instead of just complaining about everything we percieve as wrong.

We have a program at St. Joe's where you can shadow a fellow employee to get a better understanding of their job. I suggest that those both within and without the system shadow Joe Mark before they cast stones. I know I certainly don't want to be the one making the decisions he has to make.

Lauri Rose, Redwood Memorial Hospital nurse, Bridgeville


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