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Letters to the Editor 12/11

December 27, 2001

Letters to the Editor 12/11

Health department supports better worker compensation



To the editor:

James Twyman is absolutely correct that personal care (or home-care) providers work very hard and do deserve more money. The difficulty is that the Washington County Health Department does not control what these hard-working folks earn. Their salaries are determined by the state and not the Washington County Health Department.

While the Health Department does not have the authority to raise personal care workers salaries we have tried to advocate for them. One approach we tried was to reimburse the personal care staff for their travel to and from their clients home. The Health Department currently pays for needed transportation services to the offices of health care providers for Medicaid clients. On Aug. 9, we asked the state if we could at least reimburse our personal care providers for their costs traveling to clients' homes to provide care. We were told that it is against Medicaid rules to pay providers anything over the established reimbursement rate. Our paying for their travel expenses would be considered by Medicaid as a supplement and, therefore, not allowed.

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Last year the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 432 authorizing a gradual increase in reimbursement to personal care providers. Unfortunately, this act will not have any impact for several years. As Twyman clearly points out, the problem needs to be solved now. An immediate solution, to our understanding, will require additional funding from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. On Oct. 10, the purpose was to examine the pressing issues facing individuals with disabilities in Western Maryland. We encouraged all Washington County residents receiving personal care services to attend and voice their concerns at this Oct. 10 hearing. At this hearing I argued, along with many others, that the current rate of reimbursement for personal care providers was unacceptably low.

The Washington County Health Department is committed to continue to serve individuals with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities deserve the best care and personal care providers deserve a better wage for providing it.

William G. Christoffel
Health Officer
Hagerstown




Let us stay at Old Forge



To the editor:

My name is Demi Jacques and this is my sister, Tara Jacques. We are in the third grade at Old Forge School. We have been told that we may have to go to Cascade next year and we do not want to go.

These are reasons we don't want to go:

We don't want to leave our friends that we have had since kindergarten; we don't want a longer bus ride; we don't want to have to be at school longer in the day because it will take mom longer to get there to get us; we like Old Forge and are both getting good grades and like our teachers; if there is an emergency, we have classmates who live in our community who can take us home and whose parents are friends with our mom and dad; Old Forge is a good school that is clean and with good teachers; We don't go to Cascade for any of our clubs or sports groups that we are in.

Please let us finish our elementary school years where we started, at Old Forge.

Demi and Tara Jacques
Smithsburg




Stop smoking for Christmas



To the editor:

This letter is to all of the smokers who read your newspaper.

As a smoker you can give a beneficial and greatly appreciated gift to your family, friends and loved ones. Stop smoking by Christmas.

You will smell better, have more money to spend, be healthier, be more popular and you will make the lives of those who love you much safer and more enjoyable. It will be a great way to start the new year.

If you need help quitting please contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association or the American Heart Association.

John H. O'Hara
Bowie, Md.

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