Letters to the Editor for 8/31/09

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Waddell has high rating

This is in regard to newspaper accounts of alleged abuse at Waddell Nursing and Rehab Center.

I’m confident that your reporting accurately represented the facts as alleged. However, your article in terms of what it didn’t say, unintentionally did a serious disservice to the facility, employees and residents.

I am a retired attorney and former counsel for the Palm Beach County Health Care District in West Palm Beach, Fla. Among services the district provided was operating a large county nursing home, where I spent considerable time evaluating quality and delivery of services.

My wife and I recently relocated to Independence. Because my mother-in-law was in an assisted-living facility in Florida, my wife and I investigated nursing home facilities to which we might relocate her. My wife is a registered nurse with a master’s degree in nursing education and over 40 years of nursing experience.

Our investigation found that Waddell holds an above-average overall rating of four out of five stars from a Medicare rating system.

We walked away from our review of the facility with the warm feeling that this was a nursing home where you could feel confident that your mother was safe and well cared for.

My mother-in-law was transferred to Waddell approximately six weeks ago, and our experience has been rewarding. The staff is cordial, attentive to needs, and genuinely caring and concerned.

From our observations, this attitude extends from administration, to nursing supervisory staff, nursing assistants, maintenance, and housekeeping.

As a minor example, on the first day of her residency at Waddell, someone took it upon themselves to mount her crucifix above her bed without our requesting it.

The caring, professional people at this facility deserve to have the public informed about the full picture. The alleged questionable behaviors and elder abuse on the part of two caregivers does not represent the overall quality of care.

I know from experience it is virtually impossible for an employer, despite all best efforts, to safeguard against some employees who fail to meet high standards of care that are so essential in the care of our elders.

Ted and Pat Crowell


Airstreamers enjoyed visit

We were privileged to be part of a Wally Byum Caravan Club (Airstreams) group that spent Aug. 3-9 enjoying your city, the warm gracious people in your city, and the great music we heard every day.

The Twin County Chamber of Commerce, Galax Moose Lodge, merchants, restaurants, Fairview Ruritan Club and citizen volunteers are to be congratulated for hosting a wonderful week of music.

This is a great event for your city. We will be telling others about your Old Fiddlers’ Convention and what an enjoyable time we had in Galax.

Tom Collier

WBCCI International President

Jackson Center, Ohio

Average Americans get the shaft

The difficult times that the American people are going through were made clear recently, when some 8,000 people stood in line, camped out, and waited for hours for free medical care.

This country has gone from “yes, we can” to “maybe, uh or if.”

The whole healthcare debate between the president and Congress on the effects on citizens over changes in the system has become a shouting match, with strong views and accusations of socialism.

The White House press secretary blames the media for covering town hall meetings. On top of that, the House Speaker calls the ones expressing their views un-American. This attitude, along with a few others, is an insult to the party to which they belong.

Some say this country acts like a Third World society. No, we have politicians, leaders and special interests controlling things.

A recent bright idea by the House of Representatives to buy two luxury jets to fly members of Congress around was quickly dropped after an uproar.

There are some out there eating bologna sandwiches and leftovers from the fridge, and some idiot wants to shell out $200 million for planes.

Overseas, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and Syria continue to cause trouble any way they can. Russia even sent submarines just off our eastern shore in international waters.

The American worker, the taxpayers, and all who really care about this country wonder where it’s headed. Some feel raising taxes, being a person to “get along go along,” and being an appeaser rocks the boat. What boat? It just sank.

Things will only get better if there are jobs and paychecks, taxes are kept to a medium, and government spending is curtailed. Prayers and thoughts go out to the American people who continue to get the shaft!

Mitchell Robinson


Humane Society's power is limited

We would like to respond to a call in the Hotline Aug. 19 regarding why the “humane society” will not do anything about dogs being tied outside all the time.

There is no state law against chaining or tying dogs. If a dog has clean water, food and shelter, there is nothing the animal control officers can do.

State and local humane societies lobby with state legislators to change this and other laws governing animals.

The best way to address your concern is to get in touch with State Sen. Roscoe Reynolds, P.O. Box 404, Martinsville, Va., 24114-0404; phone (276) 638-2315.

Many citizens are not aware that humane societies have no legal authority in cases such as this or any other aspect of animal cruelty or neglect.

If an incident is reported to us, we contact the animal control officer for that area but there is only so much that they are allowed to do under the state laws.

Animal control officers will visit the home to make sure that the dog’s basic needs are being met. (Animal control officers are: Carroll County—Terry Woods, 728-3331; Galax—Veronica Bryant, 236-8501; Grayson County—Glen Richardson, 773-3241.)

We never want to see any dog tied outside but, unfortunately, there is no law against it.

We feel, as the caller does, that your dog is part of the family and should be treated as such. It is difficult for us to understand why someone would want a dog just to have it tied outside.

We make it clear to all potential adopters that any dog they adopt from us must be considered part of the family. Small to medium dogs are considered as “indoor” dogs only.

If larger dogs cannot be kept in the home all the time, we recommend they have a fenced yard or spacious pen, with shade and shelter, but that they are never tied or chained.

Margaret Martin, president

and board of directors

Twin County Humane Society

No health care for illegal aliens

What is wrong with Rep. Rick Boucher’s thinking?

The House Energy and Commerce Committee (of which you are a member) is holding hearings on HR 3200, the "America's Affordable Health Choice Act" (read, “socialized Obamacare).

This bill is to provide health care to individuals unable to afford health insurance. It needs to be noted that Numbers USA does not have a stance on government-funded health care.

However, this bill is vaguely worded and will not prevent lawbreakers from receiving taxpayer-funded health care.

Problems with the bill include:

• Section 242 prohibits "undocumented aliens" (law breakers) from receiving health care, but does not prescribe a method for preventing illegal aliens (law breakers) from receiving health care.

• Section 1702 requires that "the state shall accept without further determination the enrollment under [the Medicaid program] of an individual determined by the commissioner to be a non-traditional Medicaid eligible individual."

However, the bill does not require the government to apply citizenship and identity verification requirements that exist in the current Medicare statute.

(A friend's wife has severe problems with her knees and has much difficulty walking. She has been refused Medicaid and was told to get a "sit down" job.)

• Section 1714 states, "in determining eligibility for services under this subsection, the state may consider only the income of the applicant or recipient."

This means that for certain non-essential services, the state can disregard an individual's immigration status and look only at the individual's income.

On July 30 the committee voted on the Deal amendment. Rep. Deal's amendment would have prevented illegal aliens from receiving non-emergency health services by forcing the government to ensure that beneficiaries are U.S. citizens or qualified legal aliens.

Unfortunately, the amendment failed by one vote, 29-28.

For some reason, Rep. Rick Boucher did not cast his vote on the amendment even though he has been attending the hearings.

How's that for representation of the 9th District of Virginia! Are we having fun yet, people?

Contact Rep. Boucher and ask him why he did not cast his vote on the amendment and find out if he supports giving government health care to illegal aliens.

Rep. Boucher is not properly representing his constituents.

Georgette Lasorso