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Letters to the editor on KanCare, charging seniors to hunt, no choice in health care, lupus

  • Published Tuesday, May 14, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Letters to the Editor

Include your full name, home address and phone number for verification purposes. All letters are edited for clarity and length; 200 words or fewer are best. Letters may be published in any format and become the property of The Eagle.

Mail: Letters to the Editor, The Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67202

E-mail: letters@wichitaeagle.com

Fax: 316-269-6799

For more information, contact Phillip Brownlee at 316-268-6262, pbrownlee@wichitaeagle.com.

KanCare goals are laudable

Over the past two years, LeadingAge Kansas has closely monitored and actively advocated on KanCare. As an association representing 160 nonprofit long-term care and aging service providers that serve more than 20,000 older Kansans, we have had many opportunities to provide input about KanCare to the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and the Brownback administration. We have appreciated their open-door policy and responsiveness to our questions and concerns.

It has been clear for more than a decade that the growth in the state’s Medicaid budget is not sustainable. The administration established KanCare as a way to address this issue, and to improve quality outcomes, expand consumer choice and increase care coordination across health care settings. LeadingAge Kansas supports these ambitious and laudable goals.

The initial implementation phase of KanCare was rocky, especially related to claims filing and timely payment. However, as the weeks have gone by, problems have been fixed, and the state is working diligently with the managed-care companies and our members for resolution of remaining issues.

More than 16,000 frail older Kansans rely on Medicaid to pay for their long-term care, and the number will increase in years ahead. They deserve the best care that we can provide. It is in this spirit that we have and will continue to work with the state to ensure that the goals of KanCare are advanced.

DEBRA HARMON ZEHR

President and CEO

LeadingAge Kansas

Topeka

Bullying disabled

Rep. Dave Crum, R-Augusta, inserted a proviso into the House’s budget bill last week that would take away any new waiting-list dollars for intellectually or developmentally disabled Kansans if their long-term care services were “carved out” of KanCare (May 10 Local & State). InterHab, a statewide association of service providers, wrote: “This action is naked in its attempt to intimidate and bully the tens of thousands of Kansans who have urged their legislators to exclude these vital long-term care services from KanCare. It is also cruel punishment for hundreds of Kansans with developmental disabilities who have been forced to wait for years on waiting lists.”

Right on, InterHab. The specific proviso sounds pretty much like extortion and bullying to me.

As a Kansas citizen, guardian, caregiver and advocate for an I/DD individual for more than 34 years, I am chilled to the bone by the way our state government is handling the needs of those who can’t speak for themselves.

What kind of a state and world do we live in?

If our state representatives will do this to these individuals and citizens, just think what they could and may do in the future for the rest of us.

TRICIA GLIDEWELL

Wichita

Punishing seniors

The state of Kansas used to show respect and consideration for its senior citizens and older war veterans by exempting them from having to purchase hunting and fishing licenses. That consideration was withdrawn this year when the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism began demanding that people ages 65 to 74 purchase hunting and fishing licenses. That attempt to generate extra funding allowed the state to pretty much get its arms around all able-bodied seniors, including the vast majority of Vietnam veterans.

Are there too many Vietnam veterans in wheelchairs shooting up the deer and wild turkey populations?

Too many 73-year-old couples out on the area lakes in fancy bass boats using up all the precious Kansas resources?

These older Kansas citizens are the ones who paid for re-establishing the deer and wild turkey populations. KDWPT punished Kansas seniors and war veterans rather than rewarding them.

Shame on KDWPT.

LARRY G. HOUTZ

Wichita

No choice

I laughed out loud at Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ comment last week that the information about the discrepancy in prices among hospitals for procedures was released to “save consumers money by arming them with better information that can help them make better choices” (“Data: Hospitals’ prices vary across Kan., U.S.,” May 10 Eagle).

We don’t have any choice. The insurance company decides if, where and when we have any procedures. Sebelius is sadly mistaken if she thinks my doctor and I have any choice in the matter.

LINDA GILBOW

Wichita

Learn about lupus

May is Lupus Awareness Month. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means the body attacks itself. It is an unpredictable disease with no known cause and no cure. An estimated 1.5 million Americans have lupus, yet many know nothing about the disease.

I have been diagnosed with lupus for 17 years. During that time, lupus has affected my lungs, muscles, skin, joints and blood. I have taken various chemotherapy drugs throughout the entire time since being diagnosed. Yes, the same drugs used to treat cancer or prevent rejection after organ transplant are common medications used in treating lupus. When I explain to others how it feels to have lupus, I tell them it is like having the flu every day of your life (severe fatigue and achiness).

Lupus affects every moment of your life. It is a devastating and debilitating disease that can kill. Please educate yourself and help find a cure. Go to www.lupus.org.

MELISSA LOQUIST

Park City

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