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Wednesday, June 5, 2013: Memorials, ER care and Medicaid business

Daily remembrance

I would respectfully disagree with Lorraine Maher’s assertion in the BDN May 30 that growing up, Memorial Day was a celebration for all who have passed away.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. The day has been set aside for more than 100 years to honor those who have fallen in defense of this great nation.

Maher is right in asserting that all veterans are deservedly honored on Veterans Day. But these are two distinct holidays. The first honors the memory of those who died, while Veterans Day honors all, both the living and deceased, who have served.

This in no way precludes one from remembering family members or friends on Memorial Day who have passed away, just as we should remember them each day.

John Bruneel


Veto loyalty

Recently, it was reported that some Republican state legislators changed their votes, so a veto by the governor was upheld. They did this out of loyalty to their party and to the governor, an article that ran in the BDN on May 30 indicated.

I’d like to remind them that their first loyalty should be to the people of Maine, not to a veto-prone governor.

Maynard Clemons


Patient care

As the nation implements health care reform, emergency care has never been more important. We treat everyone, from babies to seniors, and we see the entire spectrum of medical problems. We save more than lives — we are dedicated specialists who mobilize resources and coordinate care for our patients.

A new report by the RAND Corporation finds that emergency physicians continue to play a key role in reducing health care costs. We are the decision makers for nearly half of all hospital admissions, which account for more than 30 percent of the nation’s health care costs.

Many emergency departments such as ours here at St. Joseph Hospital are already providing more comprehensive services to the community, including care management in the emergency department, coordinating closely with our acclaimed community-based care management programs. In this way we care for the whole patient and even families, enabling us to align to the “triple aim” of providing the best patient care and ensuring better health in our community at controlled or reduced cost.

The RAND report urges policy makers and hospital administrators to pay closer attention to the role emergency physicians play in evaluation management and finding less costly alternatives to hospital admission.

Greater collaboration is needed between office-based and hospital-based physicians to ensure seamless transitions for patients from one site of care to another, and ultimately a safe transition home. Emergency departments must continue to be fully integrated in healthcare delivery systems.

Charles F. Pattavina, MD, department of emergency medicine chief

St. Joseph Hospital


Open for business?

Economizing on our state budget and “open for business” bills are not being passed. Small businesses could save money if MaineCare were expanded as they would be relieved of paying for insurance for their lower-wage workers.

Expansion would not affect state budgets for at least three years, according to a story in Bloomberg Businessweek, and, even then, 90 percent would be federally covered. More jobs in the medical field would be created, the article also said.

Further, I believe continuing MaineCare for clinical alcohol and drug dependence treatments saves money. The state already has high costs from pharmacy robberies, police, jail

time, legal aid, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and general assistance.

I believe if more patients are effectively treated, more can return to work and resume stable family effectiveness.

If anyone disagrees, they should hold their disdain for the poor and ill, if not for moral reasons, then for reducing our state’s costs.

Jane Fairchild, licensed clinical social worker

Orneville Township

Pride wave

On June 5, I will be leaving for Washington, D.C., as I have been invited to be guest of honor in the Capital Pride Parade on June 8. This will mark the first time a straight person has been chosen for the honor.

Accompanying me will be my wife Dorothy, my granddaughter Kate, her spouse Alex and their daughter Mikayla. I hear that the Straight8’s Classic Car Club is donating an early 1960s convertible and driver for us to use.

No doubt the reason for the trip is due to Maine’s “first in the nation” vote to allow same sex marriage. The few of us who lead the parade will be humbled by the fact that we only cast our few votes for equality. The thousands of Mainers who, often at a cost, voted for same sex-marriage will be riding with us. When we wave, we will be waving to everyone and for everyone.

Harlan Gardner


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