Today's Opinions

  • Search for home health care just got easier

    Medicare has just begun publishing star ratings for home health care agencies to help consumers tell the good providers from the bad.
    Medicare pays for health care you receive in the comfort and privacy of your home if you meet certain requirements. You must be homebound, under a physician’s care and in need of part-time, skilled nursing care, or rehabilitative services.
    One in 10 people with traditional Medicare relies on home health services in a given year. A third of all home visits are for patients released from the hospital but still requiring attention. The other two-thirds are for people trying to stay out of the hospital in the first place.
    Medicare’s website — medicare.gov — is a convenient place to begin your search for a home health agency. With a few clicks, you can compare the providers in your area, check on the types of services they offer and the quality of their care.
    To help you understand the differences in quality between agencies, Medicare has added star ratings to its website. One star means “poor,” two stars are “below average,” three stars mean “average,” four stars are “above average” and five stars mean “excellent.”

  • The Planned Parenthood horror show, it’s not a movie

    Babies are being born alive, only to be butchered for their parts, harvesting tiny hearts, brains and livers.
    Fetal organs are being transplanted into lab rats for research. Horror shows are usually like that: repulsive, disturbing, barbaric and sickening.
    Except that Planned Parenthood’s horror show is not a movie, but a real nightmare that keeps getting worse.
    No one is above the law. The trafficking and sale of aborted baby body parts for profit is illegal and unethical.
    In fact, it is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2). If this had been any other medical facility or hospital, there would be unquestioned support for immediate investigation.
    Claims of innocence do not suffice.
    Hillary Clinton admitted the videos “are disturbing” and went on to say, “this raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country.”
    Clinton added that if there’s going to be a congressional inquiry into the videos, “it should look at everything,” and not just one organization.

  • 10 reasons why you might be financially stressed

    Stress can come from everywhere — career, school, family, relationships, health — and especially money.
    The American Psychological Association (APA) recently reported that money remains the number one stressor for 72 percent of Americans. In fact, money has led the APA’s annual stress survey since its debut in 2007, the year before the financial crash that took the U.S. economy into its worst slump since the Great Depression.
    Are you financially stressed? Here are 10 major signs of financial stress and ways to take action.
    You wonder if your job is secure. Even though the economy has improved in recent years, employers still cut and reassign workers and make occasional adjustments in pay and benefits. If you’ve spotted changes in other departments or news accounts suggest a shift in your industry, start thinking ahead. Action Plan: Build up your emergency fund to cover six months or more of basic living expenses, update your resume and get organized for a potential job search.

  • Good news: Retiree Health Care is solvent for 20 years

    A friend told me, excitedly, that he has been approved for the new hepatitis C drug – the miracle drug that is supposed to cure this disease at a cost of $93,000 per patient. He has started the treatment and so far is doing great.
    I hadn’t known he had the disease. Of course, I’m happy for him.
    I realized later I’m helping to pay for his treatment. He is married to a retired teacher and is probably covered through the Retiree Health Care Authority. So am I. His treatment affects my premiums.  
    RHCA can afford to pay for this. This is good news for everybody in New Mexico, including you.
    RHCA provides health insurance coverage to retirees of New Mexico state and local government and schools. Active employees and their employers contribute a small percentage of payroll to the fund. Once those employees retire, if they choose RHCA for their coverage (before Medicare or in combination with Medicare), they pay premiums into the fund.  
    With tough cost controls and reforms, the program is now projected to be solvent through 2035, according to Mark Tyndall, RHCA executive director. This is a major accomplishment.

  • Atomic City Transit, Dial-a-Ride prevented injury

    I would like to express my great appreciation for the excellence and professionalism of the drivers and staff of the Los Alamos Atomic City Transit and Dial-a-Ride. I was a passenger on an early morning Dial-a-Ride trip from White Rock to the Transit Center on Oct. 1 when an accident occurred on State Road 4, just outside White Rock.
    The extremely rapid reaction of the driver, Cliff, prevented a head-on collision that would have led to a much worse outcome for everyone involved. The driver then assisted the two passengers in quickly and safely exiting the bus through the emergency exit. His quick actions, plus the practice of seat belt use by Dial-a-Ride passengers prevented an injury to the bus passengers.
    After the accident, the dispatcher, Annette and the ACT manager provided all needed assistance with communication and transportation for the passenger.
    I also want to thank the Los Alamos police, fire, emergency medical and county services for an prompt and effective response. The first police vehicle was on the scene a minute after the event. The fire truck and the ambulance arrived immediately thereafter. They provided all necessary assistance. The county then cleared and cleaned the site and traffic was reopened as quickly as possible under the circumstances.

  • Letter to the editor 10-4-15

    30th-Annual Heart Council Health Fair a success

    The 30th-annual Los Alamos Heart Council Health Fair, held at Griffith Gymnasium on Sept. 26 was a tremendous success! We had over 2,000 attendees. There were more than 70 exhibitors representing a wide range of health-related organizations from Los Alamos and surrounding communities. A total of some 800 flu shots were given and hundreds of blood draws were done, as well as many other health screenings. With this year’s emphasis on children and families, hundreds more parents and children attended than ever before. More than 150 free bike helmets were given out at the fair and, in a new program, an additional 60 helmets will be given directly to elementary and pre-schools in Los Alamos. Hundreds of free children’s backpacks we given out, as well.

  • Letter to the editor 10-2-15

    Historical Museum receives outpouring of community support after theft

    By now many of your readers may know that a theft occurred at the Los Alamos Historical Museum on Sept. 25. The good news is no one was hurt and no objects were taken from the museum. However, we did have a beautifully crafted, wooden donation box – made by one of our volunteers – which was torn apart, and the cash donations inside were stolen.
    The theft received a significant amount of attention on social media over the weekend, and the response from the community, both far and near, has been tremendous. We have received donations through our website from as far away as Texas and Montana, and a number of people came into the museum on Saturday to give special donations.
    The Los Alamos Historical Museum belongs to the community. Admission is free, and we rely on donations to support our operations. The outpouring of support has been encouraging and inspiring. It reminds us, once again, why this is the best little community on the planet. We love being your museum!

    Sincerely and with gratitude,
    Heather McClenahan
    Executive Director
    Los Alamos Historical Society

  • Thank you to volunteer exchange program host family

    This September, a family in Los Alamos enjoyed a special experience by welcoming into their home a high school exchange student from Germany. This volunteer host family is participating in the SHARE! Student Exchange Program for the 2015-16 school year. And this international exchange student is eager to learn about how Americans live.
    I am prompted to write an expression of enormous gratitude to the host family, the high school and community. As the regional director for this program, I have helped local coordinators find the host families and helped them select a student who best fits their family. Local coordinators and our regional office staff will supervise and monitor our families and exchange students throughout their stay.
    There are now several outstanding candidates awaiting host families for the 2016 spring semester. If anyone has thought about hosting, now is an excellent time to start.  Please contact me as soon as possible. This is a great opportunity to SHARE! your heart and home with the rest of the world.