Monday, July 5, 2004

Letters to the editor

More ambulances, fewer consultants

Only in Cincinnati in the middle of yet another fiscal crisis would City Manager Valerie Lemme propose spending $250,000 to $500,000 to hire a consultant to come in and tell our fire chief how to organize his department. Five hundred thousand dollars would buy four or five desperately needed ambulances. Decisions, decisions ...

John Schlagetter, East Price Hill


Iraqi leaders facing familiar problems

Many in the media have tried to find failure in the early and secretive turnover of power in Iraq. One might imagine a group of bureaucrats, not elected by popular vote, huddled in a guarded hall, fearing assassination, the possibility of sectional strife, ongoing violence from a segment of their populace that supports the former regime and knows that their safety and their ultimate victory over tyranny depends on the forces of a foreign power. Yes, this describes the recent Iraqi turnover. It also describes the birth of our own republic. God bless the United States, and God bless the Republic of Iraq.

Michael Lanzillotta, West Price Hill


Columnist correct on health insurance

I want to thank Dr. Arvind Venkat for his heartbreaking "Your Voice" column "Health insurance: canary in the mine" (July 1) about the state of our health care system.

The Breast Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati is a member organization of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. The National Breast Cancer Coalition's top legislative priority for 2004 is access to quality health care for all.

This past May, 21 delegates from Cincinnati traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with our Ohio legislators about the importance of this issue.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and have a story you wish to share about the inadequate care you have received because of your lack of health insurance, please e-mail us at bcacincy@yahoo.com. We will in turn send your story in and share it with policy makers in Washington, D.C.

A change is needed and the time is now.

Ann Hernick, President, Breast Cancer Alliance of Greater Cincinnati (BCA)


Discount card is too confusing

The Bush administration is amazed that not many people are signing up for the new prescription discount card. The new law is so confusing that it is hard to understand. There are more than 70 companies offering a prescription drug card but you can only sign up for one and you can't change for a year. The drug companies choose which drugs will be discounted and how much and then they have the right to change discounts and/or the drugs they cover every 7 days.

Americans are no longer staying captive to the highest drug prices in the world and are buying their medications from other countries. Now our U.S. trade officials travel the globe with a new mission; to force other countries to raise their prescription-drug prices. They figure that if you can't stop Americans from looking in other countries for cheaper drugs, you can at least stop the drugs abroad from being cheaper.

Oscar L. Brown, Maineville


Health care data available

Tim Bonfield's article on resources for health care services ("More health choices, more costs" (June 30) highlights an issue that the health care community works daily to eliminate. Quality of care differs from one provider to another, but even one experience of poor quality is too many, so the article was a valuable service to readers.

Fortunately, health care consumers and their caregivers can access reliable, credible and understandable data on the quality of care in Ohio's nursing homes, home health agencies and soon hospitals. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, makes this available on the Internet at www.medicare.gov or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). These tools are part of a National Quality Initiative that has already helped consumers educate themselves and their loved ones.

But looking up quality data is simply the first step in the health care decision-making process. Consumers should also use resources in the community, and talk to family, friends, and health care providers to get the best possible information when making such important decisions.

Alice Stollenwerk Petrulis, MD, FACP, Medical director, Ohio KePRO, Cleveland

Push ahead on Fernald cleanup
Working for a swim this summer
Making life better: Memorial Inc.
Pills often no help in battling depression
Letters to the editor

Iraq: Will freedom survive handover?
Reader's letters: The handover in Iraq
Winners: Cicada limericks
Diabetes explosion: What does it really mean?
Focus on building city must be on people
Readers sound off on Fountain Square plans
Let's Talk: Riverfront casinos