Some hospital survey questions 'leading'

To the Editor:

I have obtained a copy of the questions used in the poll regarding the location of a new hospital. The first 45 questions inquire about a person's attitude towards the hospital and I would state that they appear neutral; however, the real issue starts prior to question 46.

"Information" given prior to the next question states that: "The first option is a partial replacement hospital at the current location. No tax increase would be necessary because the hospital has the financial resources necessary to pay for construction. Russell Street by the hospital would be permanently closed. The new facility would be about the same size as the current hospital but built to make medical services more efficient and modern. The facility would be designed for future expansion."

This "information" boldly states that no taxes would be needed to build the hospital if built at the current location. This tactic is called setting up the question. After a couple of questions are asked, additional "information" is offered: "Another option is to build a completely new hospital at a different location. The cost of this project would be approximately $2 to $3 million more than the cost of the partial replacement at the current location. In order to secure the additional $2 to $3 million, a property tax increase will be required. The new hospital facility would be designed for future expansion."

This is the hammer for the next few questions giving the subject a choice of building at the current location with no new taxes or building somewhere else with a tax increase. No questions were ever put forth about building on the current location with a tax increase or building at another location with no tax increase. Was this a neutral poll? I leave it to you to decide, as for myself, I think NOT. It will be interesting to see how the TMH board uses this poll. I do not believe that anyone who understands the way this poll was conducted regarding a new hospital location would give it any credence or would be manipulated by the alleged results. Of course it was the TMH board who retained Dan Jones & Associates to conduct the poll and obviously the purpose was to attempt to show community support to build a hospital at its current location. If the TMH board must resort to using threatening poll questions to obtain an alleged showing of community support then I propose that it shows that the TMH board itself feels that it does not have community support to build the hospital at the current location.

Very truly yours,

Kenneth L. Hall

Las Vegas, Nev.

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