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    Reader's Forum

    03/04/2003

    Preferred drug list is not acceptable
    Editor:
    The Canadian-style health-care and medication program is a prescription for disaster.
    West Virginia's elderly and poor could be forced to ultimately pay the price through drastic reduction of services and lack of availability of life-saving medications.
    West Virginia Citizens for a Sound Economy believes this could be one more blow to West Virginia's ailing health-care system. And patients will suffer as a result.
    This is why the Canadian health-care bureaucracy is wrong. The government sets the prices for prescription drugs and the drug makers are forced to accept those reduced prices or simply not market those drugs to its citizens. Under the governor's proposal, the West Virginia Preferred Drug List system will regulate the medications allowed.
    The PDL system is flawed. Physicians and patients should have complete access to whatever medications are medically appropriate. Do you want the politicians or your doctor prescribing the medicine you need for cancer and heart attacks?
    The governor should not stop patients from getting the drugs that they desperately need to prevent a stroke.
    Much of the Medicaid budget is squandered through political funding contests and the inefficient allocation of resources. Millions are lost each year on unnecessary treatments and emergency room visits. Let's fix this problem first - not ration medications for sick West Virginians.
    Alice Click
    Point Pleasant
    Nursing home law already exists
    Editor:
    As CEO of the West Virginia Health Care Association, I am compelled to respond to the recent Gazette editorial on the proposed legislation requiring nursing homes to form family councils and post detailed staff lists for each shift.
    This legislation is redundant of the current federal regulations, which our state's nursing homes are required to adhere. New federal regulations, effective Jan. 1, 2003, now require staffing information to be posted in each facility and closely mirror the proposed legislation. Resident councils are already required, while family councils are encouraged.
    Contrary to the statement in the Gazette editorial, we are not "fighting" this proposed regulation. We do not see the need for additional legislative attention be placed on a law that already exists for nursing homes. Other issues, of much greater consequence, are facing our state's frail and elderly. Primarily, will the Legislature find the funding necessary to fill the $ 300 million Medicaid budget shortfall so access and care for the frail and elderly through the program can continue?
    Our members are very aware of regulations imposed by state and federal governments. These regulations are followed in our facilities. Our profession understands the need to provide quality service and care to our residents and their families. Imposing a law with existing penalties in addition to existing regulation is just not necessary.
    John Alfano
    CEO
    West Virginia Health Care Association
    Charleston
    America needs a
    black president
    Editor:
    It's time that African-Americans elected a leader for our people. Currently, no individual can legitimately claim this title.
    We are disunited as a people and don't have a central source of power to tap into. None of the existing organizations are sufficient.
    It is therefore proposed that we elect a "President of Black Affairs."
    Along with managing social and societal problems, a central source of power would also let the world know where we generally stand as a people regarding important issues - and what goals we'll put our muscle behind in order to progress.
    Granted, there are philosophical differences within the black community. But that's true of America in general. Yet, somehow, presidents still manage to get elected.
    Our president would be surrounded by officers representing the various issues. The officers would work PRO-actively as well as RE-actively in our favor. The basic funding for general operations would come from our people themselves. We'd consider it another "tax" we must pay.
    All interested African-Americans can contact me at kba917a@yahoo.com. The ballot can be sent by mail or by e-mail attachment.
    The ballots will be submitted to various black publications and organizations in hopes of gaining their support for this endeavor.
    Keith Anderson
    Bluefield
    ATV safety begins at home
    Editor:
    It is very unfortunate about the ATV deaths throughout West Virginia. However, the cause is not due to the ATV but rather the ignorance and recklessness of the user and/or legal guardian.
    The vast majority of ATV deaths involve violating manufacturer's riding instructions and warnings. All ATVs are supplied with emblems that clearly state no passengers, set minimum age requirements, and set maximum speed limits. Nearly all ATV accidents involve violating at least one of these rules.
    I ask, "Where was the parent?" The parent allowing the child to be put in harm's way should be held legally accountable. Regardless of whether the harm is in the form of a vicious dog, a train track, an ATV or a rattlesnake. Who bought the ATV anyway? Few children can afford such toys.
    Parenting, common sense and taking time to supervise your child start in the home - not at the Capitol. If we try to legislate ignorance, where does it stop? How does a child know not to put his hand into a lawn mower or touch a hot stove? You guessed it - supervision!
    Greg Combs
    Point Pleasant
    Church, state rules inconsistent
    Editor:
    Well, here we go again. Am I the only one upset? Am I the only one who sees the inconsistency? Am I the only one who will speak up? I hope not.
    It started when the Columbia exploded on re-entry and seven valiant astronauts lost their lives. We were told to pray for the victims and their families. Go to your church or synagogue or mosque and offer prayers and comfort.
    A memorial service was held at NASA in Houston where the comfort of God was requested. A local religious service was held here in Charleston with all the local politicians, including the governor. The seven were honored and the grace of God requested on all us who endured this tragedy.
    Remember Sept. 11? The same tenor and fervor covered our entire nation. Pray for the victims and their families.
    But in between those two events, we were told prayer and God and church and spirituality and after-life and divinity were not supposed to be discussed in the public forum.
    There was even an attempt to remove "one nation under God" from our national pledge of allegiance. In other words, when all is well, please shut up about God and His Son. But when tragedy strikes, then it's politically correct to request his help. Consistent? Not hardly.
    Steve Fox
    Charleston
    War will not solve anything
    Editor:
    While watching the president's State of the Union speech, I didn't hear what I thought should have been the main topic. I never heard the name of God mentioned. That should have been the first word mentioned by Mr. Bush, and he should have used that word many times because God has the whole world in his hands.
    We are a sinful nation. Just stop for a moment and think why we are having fires burning out of control, floods, storms that destroy whole cities, children killing children/parents, their own best friends.
    And then there is the issue of fairness. We open the doors to people from Europe, Asia, Far East and then what happens: Sept. 11.
    We round up all immigrants, line them up and question them for hours or days. Then there is a small boat loaded with black people from Haiti seeking a better life in the Great U.S. of A. and what happens? They are forced to jump boat, rounded up and sent back home.
    Is this great nation a haven for all people that are oppressed? I don't think so.
    War with Iraq will not solve anything, Mr. Bush. It will cause death to many thousands of innocent people. Be not deceived, for God is not mocked. Whatsoever man soweth so shall he reap.
    Ferguson B. Meadows
    Institute
    We have heroes at home too
    Editor:
    At 4:15 a.m. on Feb. 17, ice on the trees pulled limbs down onto the high voltage power lines. At first I thought we were being bombed, with the fire in the sky. Then within seconds, not minutes, the South Hills fire department was here. It was only minutes till AEP was on the scene and cut the high voltage off.
    Yes, you're right. We didn't have power but we were safe. I called AEP customer service and they said they were trying to do everything they could, and they were a pleasure to talk to.
    At 11 a.m. it looked like the Army landed with AEP and Asplundph tree service. By 2 p.m. all trees were trimmed and the power was restored. I watched men go up in the air around high voltage lines that I can tell you, with all the ice, I would not have been there without feathers.
    I know we have troops abroad and I thank God every day for that, but we also have heroes at home. Oh, you say it's their job. Well, try it. I have worked in different countries and our utility bills are cheaper by far.
    May God bless all our troops abroad and bring them home safely and bless the people that are taking care of us at home.
    Tommy J. Ritchey
    Charleston

    on 3/4/03.