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I was appalled when I read the Sept. 10 letter "HMO must learn to spend money wisely." As a former employee of Independent Health's Advocacy Department, I offer the following rebuttal.

Yes, Independent Health does have an employee appreciation day. This is something I believe the employees deserve for doing a great job and working hard all year to make sure subscribers and providers get the best service possible. So if we have a hot dog or a hamburger and a soda, believe me, we've earned it, and Independent Health is showing that it appreciates our efforts.

As for the Christmas party at Adam's Mark, although the company does contribute toward it, all employees had to pay for their tickets. And if any employee chose to stay in the hotel that night, it was entirely paid for by the employee.

The writer stated: "What bothered me was what was not disclosed in the article." She did not disclose the fact that providers receive the withholding reimbursement at the end of each year.

She also forgot to mention all the occasions when Independent Health held "dress-down days" and raised anywhere from $700 to $1,200 to donate to various charities each week. Or the fact that at Christmastime, the employees collect food, clothing, cash and toys for needy families so that they might have a happy holiday.

Independent Health also offers numerous programs of community service, such as health care symposiums and different free testing clinics for non-subscribers as well as subscribers at no charge.

I am not only a former employee, but also a current subscriber. I had my choice of numerous health care plans, and I maintain that Independent Health, as its slogan states, "is quality coverage you can depend on."



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