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Everybody's Column

>More funding required to expand home care

The March 26 article, "State, nursing homes at impasse over Medicaid," correctly notes that there is in fact a shortage of home care workers, but implies that the industry is not a viable alternative to nursing home care.

Home care is a cost-effective and often preferred alternative to institutional long-term care. It is also a key component to slowing New York's spending on Medicaid. Today, home care provides an alternative to nursing home care, but there are unresolved issues that could severely limit access to home care services as its popularity increases.

The industry lacks necessary work force recruitment and retention funding to fill the ranks of quality workers. The governor and State Legislature have recognized this need, but the funding is in limbo pending federal approval. Home care also faces challenges with adequate and timely reimbursement and for money-saving technology to deliver care.

Patients, family members and taxpayers can all benefit from greater usage of home care. Home care is up to the task, but if government officials want to depend on home care to a greater degree, issues limiting access must be addressed.

Phyllis A. Wang
President, New York State
Association of Health Care Providers

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>Athletes' dedication to cause is impressive

It was with great interest that I read the recent News article about the runners crossing the Sahara. As a runner, I can honestly say I am shocked, awed and deeply impressed by their dedication and insanity in undertaking and accomplishing such a feat. But I wonder how many people noticed another goal of the run. At the end of the article, it was mentioned that besides finishing, the goal was to raise awareness for a clean-water nonprofit group called H20 Africa.

We, as Americans, take for granted everything that is provided for us, including clean water. It's nice to see such devoted athletes also be committed to such a worthy cause. And it should remind us all that a little bit of effort can go a long way.

Katherine Bauer
West Seneca

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>It's rude to walk out in middle of a concert

On March 17, we had the pleasure of attending our daughter's Erie County Music Educators Association Junior High South concert. The concert was fabulous. We have many talented young musicians in our area.

However, we were appalled by the lack of respect and common courtesy shown to the musicians and concert-goers by those who left the auditorium prior to the end of the concert. Not only did those people miss out on incredibly beautiful music, they were disruptive and rude to those still on stage and in the audience. The noise of those leaving early, talking and laughing in the hallway, and the constant opening and closing of the auditorium doors was terribly distracting.

We have been to many Junior High and Senior High ECMEA All-County and New York State School Music Association All-State concerts over the past five years and have seen a steady increase in the number of people leaving the concerts early. A full concert is typically only one hour in length. We hope that in the future, those in charge will find a solution to this problem. All of these exceptional musicians and singers have spent many hours preparing for these concerts, and all deserve to perform for a full audience.

Julie and David Mueller
Hamburg

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>Western New York has more than one bishop

Most residents understand that Buffalo is a predominantly Catholic city. With no lack of respect for that fact, the media should understand and appreciate another truth. There is more than one bishop in Western New York. It is disconcerting to repeatedly note newspaper and television reports that refer to "the" bishop. Bishop Edward Kmiec is a fine priest. His diocese has every right to be proud of him.

However, Bishop Michael Garrison is equally well-respected and more than a little deserving of his title as the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York. Undoubtedly, there are others who carry that title with honor. It is quite offensive to have those who report the news, however inadvertently, repeatedly denigrate those bishops who do not serve majority congregations.

Remember just how grating down-staters can be when they speak of "the" city and "the" island, as if they have the only city and the only island. Sometimes the rest of us feel a bit left out in Buffalo, too.

Kathleen Bryce Niles
East Amherst

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>Many could do without General Mills 'aroma'

I am writing in response to the letter, "Aroma from General Mills is a great way to start day." I also work downtown, as a matter of fact, right across the Buffalo River from General Mills, at the Metro Rail storage and maintenance facilities.

I, too, smell the aroma when I arrive at work. But I cringe every time I do, because I know my truck and everyone else's vehicle there downwind is going to get blasted with cereal fallout. You want to see what it does to the paint finish on a new truck? When you turn on your wipers, it sounds like sandpaper. The paint finish needs to be buffed off; wax won't touch it. Our company vehicles, which used to be white, are trashed.

We did get a box of cereal and a couple of car wash coupons from the plant about eight years ago. I guess that was supposed to make us feel better.

I want to know what is in the cereal that we feed our children that is eating away the paint on my truck. Think about that the next time you are eating your Cheerios, Buffalo. Breathe deep!

Randy Steltermann
Cheektowaga

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>Buffalo VA Hospital is doing a great job

Nationally, Veterans Affairs is receiving bad publicity based on lax patient care and facility maintenance coupled with inadequate or complete absence of on-site supervision possibly caused by insufficient funding beyond control of hospital directors. Nevertheless, such undesirable conditions are inexcusable.

As a World War II disabled veteran with overseas service, I have needed to use the local VA Hospital on many occasions. In my dealings with a full range of treating physicians, medical technicians and administrative staff, I have experienced empathy, professionalism and courtesy. The facilities always appear clean and orderly despite extensive ongoing construction and renovation projects that normally lead to inconvenience. The security employees are also courteous and businesslike.

In my view -- and one shared by many fellow veterans -- it is reassuring to know we have a top-flight medical facility readily available, managed by a director and staff fully committed to furnishing needed care and attention to those who selflessly served their country in time of great crisis.

Dominic Zanghi
Buffalo

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