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BIGGER NATIONAL CHAINS AREN'T ALWAYS BETTER

I'm a local oxygen-provider in Western New York who is fed up with the awful service that some home-oxygen patients are receiving. In light of the Medicare reduction in oxygen reimbursement of 30 percent, many national oxygen companies located in the Buffalo area have reduced their client services as a cost-cutting measure.

Many companies have been laying off their respiratory therapists. Some have even gone so far as to substitute "phone visits" in place of a therapist visit. And many companies have cut down to annual visits by a driver. These companies don't even have the decency to send a licensed professional. What does this say about their commitment to the quality of a patient's care?

Many area hospitals and HMOs are referring to these companies without checking on the quality of service. Just because they are national chains doesn't mean they are always better.

MICHAEL J. MCCARTNEY Cheektowaga

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