Innovators in health care
Community health centers across the nation last week celebrated National Health Center Week 2019.
The 1,400 health centers across the U.S., including the seven in Nebraska, provide top-quality preventive and primary care services to 28 million people.
At OneWorld Community Health Centers, we provide comprehensive primary health care, dental care, mental health/substance abuse services, affordable medications and supportive services at 12 clinical locations in Omaha, Bellevue and Plattsmouth.
Last year alone, we cared for 46,292 unique patients.
Of those patients, 93% lived below 200% of poverty, 65% were racial and ethnic minorities, 49% were uninsured and 40% were children under age 19.
Health centers provide care to people who disproportionately suffer from chronic disease and lack access to quality, affordable care.
Health centers are not just healers; we are innovators who look beyond medical charts to address the factors that may cause poor health, such as poverty, lack of education, homelessness, substance use, mental illness, lack of nutrition and unemployment.
We collaborate and partner with hospitals, local and state governments, social, health and business organizations to improve health for people who are medically vulnerable.
Secure, long-term funding for community health centers will ensure that we close the access gap for underserved populations.
Accomplishing this task depends on Congress.
Their support will demonstrate it is not only possible to move beyond the partisan divide over health care, but it is also possible to support and agree on a program that is vital to our communities.
Andrea Skolkin, Omaha
Community Health Centers
We need to recycle
It is unthinkable that the collection of recyclable materials in Omaha might be eliminated on the sole basis of cost, instead sending everything to the landfill.
In this day and age, it’s hard for anyone to call themselves idealists when they’re working towards a more sustainable Earth.
How can we not be idealists when nothing but implementing the best-case scenario guarantees an impaired future? It is no longer a matter of optimism or pessimism; we are idealists because it is and will continue to be the only ideology that works toward exactly what needs to happen.
The future of recycling in Omaha relies on this same concept; it simply needs to remain in practice.
The City of Omaha is naive to believe that there will be an influx of bidders racing to secure a new contract. Although it might have been the case before the market for recyclables collapsed, the circumstances presented to us today provide for a whole different ball game.
It’s the bottom of the ninth and we have to step up to the plate.
It is true that Omahans will have to account for an additional $1.7 million, or roughly $1 per household monthly, according to Public Works. Compared to the $3 million the City of Omaha will contribute annually to maintain the riverfront renovations, it’s a small price to pay.
Nevertheless, recycling services are an undeniable necessity for a community that wants to continue calling itself one of the best places to raise a family.
T.J. Pfannenstiel, Omaha
Students for Sustainability
Not paying their fair share
With reference to the recent letters pertaining to expired plates and registration of vehicles: I was driving home from work recently and ended up following a brand-new pickup truck that still had the dealership plates on it.
As I approached the pick-up, I read the in-transit sticker that listed the date for registration as being due Nov. 29, 2018.
It appears that the offender would only be saddled with a $50 fine when and if they are finally stopped.
I’m not a mathematician; however, it seems that if there are people who can drive without having their vehicle registered for nearly nine months, you would assume that this would: 1) buy some time to scrape up the money needed to register your brand-new car; and 2) not really teach much of a lesson since the registration and taxes on the vehicle are much higher than the fine.
Where’s the deterrent if you aren’t getting stopped in the first place, and even if you do, you get off cheaply compared to those who are following the law and registering their vehicles?
Once this offender finally has to register the vehicle, there need to be additional penalties.
It’s clear why our roads are less than ideal — we are missing a large chunk of money from late and non-registrants.
Elle Sullivan, Omaha
Complacent good people
The tragic mass shootings in Texas and Ohio have brought out finger-pointing from all sides.
The real culprits in these senseless shootings are the “good complacent people” who for 60 or 70 years have allowed the progressive left, in the name of freedom or social justice or some other fine sounding title, to do the following.
We allowed them to take God out of public places and schools, thus reducing or eliminating God’s laws concerning behavior and society’s restraint of bad behavior.
We allowed them to destroy the core two-parent family, where discipline, consequences and respect were taught and enforced, primarily by the father figures.
We did all this in the pretense we were helping people by passing laws that incentivized bad moral behavior with government benefits. Then we allowed the government not to enforce our laws by allowing wholesale disregard for immigration and drug laws and rewarding people in many cases for this behavior.
Next we allowed people at the highest echelon of society and power positions in this country to violate the law without ever having to pay any price.
How much of the mental illness constantly mentioned is really the result of our young not being taught properly, while the pillars of stability needed for mental health — God, family and government for the people — disappear.
There are few consequences for bad behavior in society today.
We “complacent good people” are now reaping the results of not standing up for our true values when we had a chance.
Joseph R. Dixon, Omaha
After I was discharged as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1964, I joined the Blair Medical Group in the family practice of medicine.
At that time, our routine charge for an average office call was $5.The Medicare law was passed in 1965.
We continued that same fee for the next several years, until we discovered that we were losing money on every Medicare patient that we saw.
You see, we were originally told Medicare would pay 80% of our charge, and the supplemental insurance would pay the remaining 20%.
Medicare discounted our fee by sometimes 40% or more, leaving what Medicare termed the “allowable” charge. This is the figure from which the 80% payment was calculated.
Once we and the entire medical profession — doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. — realized what Medicare was doing, the only way we could deal with this situation and still recover enough money to live on was to hyperinflate our initial fees.
And thus started the merry-go-round that continues to this day.
It’s obvious to me that this process will continue to be a major inflationary factor in future years.
The people who do not have any insurance are the ones who have become entangled in this mess.
The reason is this: The federal government told us docs that it was illegal to charge the government anything more than a private citizen or anyone else.
Thus, those who are without any insurance coverage become swamped in medical debt.
K.C. Bagby, M.D., Blair, Neb.
Rowing teams mischaracterized
The article “Football schools like Alabama, Clemson, Michigan use massive women’s rowing rosters for gender equity” misrepresents the nature of rowing.
In shining a light on what may be a valid problem, it unfairly maligns women’s rowing in general, as well as specific schools’ programs.
Including the perspective of someone from the rowing community would have revealed that novice rowers are fully part of varsity teams and that high rates of attrition for college novices are common because many have never had the opportunity to try rowing before college. Some find that it’s not right for them.
Rowing teams are full of athletes from other sports who either didn’t love that sport or weren’t good enough to make varsity.
The assumption that high attrition means these schools are purposely inflating their numbers is problematic.
The article also seems to suggest schools shouldn’t recruit non-rowers.
Rowing is not accessible to many kids, and it is overwhelmingly white. In NCAA women’s collegiate rowing, 74% of the athletes were white and 2% were black in 2018.
Rowing teams are trying to diversify their sport, and if you stop recruiting non-rowers, you take away opportunities for many college women from different backgrounds to find their athletic niche.
If schools are manipulating the numbers to appear they are providing more of these opportunities than they actually are, then those practices should be brought to light and stopped.
But this article’s mischaracterizations diminish the experience of women rowers and squelch the opportunities the sport offers to women.
Allison Burtka, West Bloomfield, Mich.