Letters to the Editor

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Editor:
Alameda Hospital used to be the go-to Hospital for my elderly father since his family moved to Alameda in 1949. The reason I say “used to be” is the fact that it no longer is his hospital of choice. From his very first visit to his last, he has seen the hospital evolve into what it is today. But the biggest positive that the hospital used to have was its affordability.

Ever since Alameda Hospital became part of Alameda Health System (AHS), the fees have skyrocketed and the billing department has become atrocious. Since my father is elderly with ongoing health conditions, he has been seen by multiple professionals at the hospital. Many of the visits were to the emergency room (ER).

We have seen a dramatic increase in fees associated with the ER. Before the switch, he would never see separate bills for the ER. It was always one affordable fee, even after insurance was billed. Now, the ER bill involves separate fees: not just an ER fee, but a specialist fee and an imaging fee: three different bills for one visit. My father does have insurance. The ER doctor’s fee without insurance is $749 and $150 after insurance payed their portion. That is still ridiculous.

The billing department is worse now than ever before. He received a bill a couple of months ago for services performed in mid-2019. When added to his bill in June, it all totaled $1,200. Then two more bills last week for services that were done in April and May of 2019 that are getting ready to go to collections. The billing department needs to stop piling all these services onto one invoice and instead and expect the bill to be paid in full.

I will never recommend Alameda Hospital to anyone that can make it to another Hospital due to the change in cost. Alameda Hospital and AHS is a joke with their new billing system and lack of timely billing invoices. AHS truly takes advantage of those that are either underinsured or on a strict fixed income like my father. Something needs to be done about this and fast.

— Victor Gallegos

Editor:
The State of California dictates how much housing Alameda must plan for. Voting “yes” on Z will allow Alamedans who live here now to decide how best to meet our legal and moral obligation to provide new housing.

Are we a welcoming community that plans for residents of all ages and incomes and backgrounds? Or are we only going to build the types of housing that require Silicon Valley incomes and the long car commutes and traffic that entails?

Are we going to place our required housing in transit corridors to mitigate congestion and climate change impacts? Or are we going to push all new housing to a few select locations on the outskirts of town where good transit options are scarce and car dependence is assured?

These are the questions that all of us can answer together in the coming years. But first we must repeal the archaic and ultimately discriminatory Article 26 in order for the community to have a say in what type of city we want to be for the next 47 years. The voters of 1973 had their say. Now it is our turn.

— Brian McGuire

Fellow Alameda residents:
In the next seven years Alameda is going to be required by the state to build more than 4,900 residences in our community. Given this fact, I would like to implore you to vote “yes” on Measure Z.

Measure Z has zero impact on the number of homes that will be added to our community, but it will allow our Planning Board to deliberately add this new housing in ways that strengthen our community — homes near transit hubs and near struggling small businesses. This is growth that can further reinforce our motto, that “everyone belongs here,” regardless of your ability to buy or rent a single-family home.

— Rachel Lee

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