My turn to speak up

Dear editor:
I read the letters of Dianne Griffiths (Oct. 10/07) and Brenda Tullio (Oct. 24/07) and feel they are putting the closure of the Fort Frances Canadian Hearing Society on one agency.
Since the closure resulted in two job losses, one being mine, it is time for me to speak up.
The closure was due to several circumstances. It all started when Ms. Tullio left her audiologist position at the Northwestern Health Unit, her long-time employer until she chose to go private.
At this time, Ms. Tullio also made the decision to compete with CHS and the NWHU.
I truly believe the services could have worked together in a professional manner to best serve the communities and areas.
Going private means to charge a fee for services, such as hearing tests and prescriptions, unlike the health unit, where the services are free.
Ms. Tullio’s decision also left the NWHU without this free service from August, 2006-June, 2007, when the Canadian Hearing Society, along with the health unit, were forced to keep an ongoing list of customers waiting for a new audiologist, who started in June.
Prior to the new audiologist’s arrival, some people were finding it cheaper to drive to Dryden and Kenora than pay the private fees.
People were confused and thought that the Fort Frances CHS had closed because Ms. Tullio was testing and dispensing. When a person gets tested from an audiologist, they can bring their prescription to another qualified agency to be dispensed if they choose (it is their right).
This confusion resulted in less business for the Canadian Hearing Society.
I also feel that during this time, the Canadian Hearing Society’s head office in Toronto could have attended the area to assess and support the Fort Frances office. A simple ad in the Fort Frances Times, explaining the situation to our clients, may have helped.
My co-worker and I tried by word of mouth, but it wasn’t enough.
There also was some talk of the health unit dispensing, but to the best of my knowledge nothing was put in writing. They tried in Kenora for a bit.
The Northwestern Health Unit here in Fort Frances was forced to dispense when the CHS closed its doors here permanently.
Ms. Tullio you stated in your letter that by the NWHU replacing your vacant position, they were in “direct competition” and that is why the CHS closed. The health unit has had free audiology service in Fort Frances for years before your decision to go private. Why shouldn’t they continue to serve the community and area in this manner as they do in Dryden and Kenora?
Ms. Tullio makes me laugh when she say her clinic provides comprehensive hearing care in our district. I know for a fact that one person can’t provide this large an area with the same efficient services that a combination of agencies provided.
Hearing testing, dispensing, and paperwork alone take up a large amount of time. In the past, the NWHU provided the prescription, CHS dispensed, etc., and the paper work was done by several people.
I ask this question: how can one person serve Dryden, Fort Frances, Atikokan, and Rainy River and areas, and provide the same efficient service, that it takes several other people to do?
I would think it is spreading the service very thin.
(Signed),
Unemployed
in her field,
Lori Germain Crowe
Fort Frances, Ont.