Assisted living teaser (copy)

Home health care

More than 90% of Americans say they prefer to age in place and receive health care in their own homes rather than in institutionalized settings such as nursing homes or hospitals.

The good news is that home-based care is less expensive, patient-centered, high-quality and keeps families together when their loved ones need it most. Our nation is experiencing a severe health care crisis, and promoting home health care is the answer. It provides quality care, at the best price, in the comfort of home.

Medicare and Medicaid home-based care has consistently saved billions of dollars year-over-year by keeping individuals out of costly emergency departments and nursing homes. Home-based care is the future, and Nebraska legislators and policymakers should foster its growth.

Visiting Nurse Association urges our Nebraska and Iowa congressional delegations to continue to protect Medicare home health by supporting the Home Health Payment Innovation Act (S. 433 and H.R. 2573).

Without adequate reimbursement to home health providers, the beneficial cost savings of home health care disappears, and agencies will not be able to continue to serve patients.

VNA has proudly served this community since 1896. We’re honored to be invited into the Omaha and Council Bluffs homes of those who need our assistance, and we celebrate the ability to provide quality care, wherever our patients call home. We need our representatives in Washington to support these patients and VNA caregivers who provide health care, hospice, therapy and supportive services to vulnerable individuals and families.

James C. Summerfelt, Omaha

VNA president and CEO

‘Legitimate’ Republican?

A few critical Public Pulse writers have questioned lately whether I am a legitimate member of the Republican Party.

Despite the fact that one’s party affiliation is self-defined, I would argue that the term Republican is an ill-defined, moving target.

Traditional Republican values of fiscal discipline, promotion of free trade, protection of the environment and immigration reform have been unceremoniously and totally cast aside.

Like it or not, the Republican Party is now the party of President Donald Trump, lock, stock and barrel. I chose to call myself a “classic” Republican rather than the revisionist term now so widely used.

However, I recognize that political parties are forever evolving, so I will wait until after the next election to determine whether my party affiliation should change.

John McCollister, Omaha

State senator, District 20

Discipline at home, school

Mass shootings should not be happening in the U.S. Who’s responsible? We are. Society is.

Families used to sit at the kitchen table and eat at least one meal a day together. Today?

Kiddies use to come home from school and get a hug/kiss from mom and a cookie or jelly bread. Today they are at a baby sitter’s or after-school center. Have we changed?

Dr. Spock told parents and teachers that children should be loved and not punished. Soon governments told schools they were not to punish students. I remember when I did something wrong in school and wanted to take care of it in school. Now a student is apt to tell you you’ll hear from our attorney. What’s changed?

Can we learn right from wrong without some discipline? Shouldn’t we be able to tell a student to sit in his seat without being sworn at or spit upon?

What happened to “Please” and “Thank you” or opening a door for a lady or a disabled or the elderly? Parents are the most important part of this equation, and if they don’t come forward with higher expectations of their children, nothing will change. As long as a student can disrupt a class and isn’t punished when sent to the office, no right and wrong will be taught. Something is wrong.

The family unit is to blame for not having discipline, and society is to blame for allowing it.

Vaughn Christensen, Blair

Parental spying appalls

Regarding the article on facial recognition letting parents keep an eye on their kids at camp, I have some questions.

When did spying on one’s children become acceptable? Why is catering to and nurturing parental anxiety appropriate? Why is putting parents’ selfish needs before children’s privacy not considered shameful?

I am not talking only about the secrecy of the spying, which is appalling, but of the spying in itself.

How are children supposed to build (or learn to build) their independence and autonomy and bring their stories back to their parents when their parents already know about their activities, (even their apparent moods and when they go to the toilet) based on images shared by the camps (1,000 images a day as stated in the article).

Whose memories are these? The parents’ or the children’s? To me the parental spying, no matter whether it is secret or disclosed, is a betrayal of precious trust that has the potential to do great harm to all concerned, especially the children.

It is not surprising that a company would seek to profit on such parental anxiety, but where is the shame for all who participate? It is worthy of shame.

Molly Romero, Omaha

Jean streets

The construction around Omaha is a nuisance (Dodge Street, West Maple Road, Military Avenue and the Northwest Radial Highway).

But the roads are going to be glorious when they’re done.

Maybe we won’t have to worry about chuckholes for a while now. We can only hope.

I want to thank Mayor Jean Stothert.

Michelle Danielson, Omaha

Power to the people

We Americans have taken our political system for granted. We assume that our elected officials will work in the best interest of the American people, treating all of us equally no matter what our party affiliation is or what our religious beliefs, race or sexual orientations are.

We Americans live in a country where these freedoms we have are never free.

If the voting population is unhappy with the current government, we have the right to make a change with the power of the vote. This is only way we will bring our country back together and reduce the divisions that we currently experience between our political parties.

Had our current administration shown more concern for all the issues that affect all Americans instead of taking advantage of social media platforms for their personal beliefs, and using rhetoric to incite and divide us, then I would not be writing this.

The current administration will never heal this country. When I vote in the coming elections, I will not be voting by party, but for those who have the best interests for all Americans, to bring back unity among our political parties and citizens. Please vote to strengthen America, not by your party.

Bruce Forbes, Omaha

Support drug pricing bill

Nebraskans, like all Americans, are fed up with paying among the highest drug prices in the world. For decades, Big Pharma has been price-gouging consumers without restraint.

That’s why AARP Nebraska urges Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse to support the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, which the Senate Finance Committee passed in July with strong bipartisan support. The House is expected to act on its own drug pricing bill this fall.

The Senate bill would cap out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors and crack down on drug makers whose price increases exceed inflation. Consumers badly need this reform. The average drug price increase in the first six months of 2019 was five times the rate of inflation.

Our congressional delegation has an opportunity to lead on this issue and provide Nebraskans relief from skyrocketing drug prices.

Prescription drugs are useless if patients can’t afford them. No Nebraskan should have to choose between putting food on the table and buying a lifesaving medication.

Connie Benjamin, Lincoln

State director, AARP Nebraska

End Farnam Street craziness

Travelers on Farnam Street last week may have noticed the blue yard signs asking the Omaha City Council and the mayor to end the craziness on Farnam Street, where for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon, the street is no longer a two-way, but rather is a one-way.

Accidents and near misses are a common occurrence. Two minutes before the lane changes, cars try and squeak by, while others totally miss the signs, placing themselves and others in peril.

At some point some child is going to get run over by the speeders, who think 50 mph is the right speed to plow through the neighborhood. This isn’t a freeway; it is a residential street.

Maple Street isn’t this way, nor are Leavenworth, Pacific or Blondo Streets. In fact, I don’t believe there is another street like this anywhere within 500 miles of Omaha.

The city recently closed one of the two lanes eastbound for concrete panel reconstruction. Guess what: People somehow managed to handle a single lane of traffic. Perhaps it is time for civil disobedience. Maybe a few mornings a week, a car could schedule a breakdown in the left lane.

You don’t need a study, nor do you need to see what the University of Nebraska Medical Center is doing with the Steel Castings site — just change the signs and let’s move on. Please, before I or someone else gets killed on this road.

Paul Spagnolo, Omaha

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