This is Viewpoints for Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 2014 

Dismayed and bewildered

It was with dismay I read the recommendation to cease all county funding to The Medical Center of Central Georgia for services rendered to the indigent patients of Bibb County. As someone who worked annually with the county commissioners since the 1970s to try to find appropriate and workable ways to address the obligation of local government to deal with the emergent medical needs of its citizens, I simple find it hard to fathom our mayor and commissioners propose to turn their backs on the critical needs of these citizens and on the Medical Center, one of the shining examples of excellent world class service, delivered by a public entity here in our community and available to all.

The Medical Center is a huge economic engine for our area, one that has been there during very tough decades, making Macon-Bibb County a place of pride, medically speaking, while providing solid employment even as other industries faltered. The Medical Center is now finding a most hostile financial environment, unprecedented in its challenges of decreased revenue from all sources such as insurance and government payments, while having traditional sources of revenue moved away from the hospital into entrepreneurial centers that concentrate on services and patients who pay.

Again, the intricacies of this financial system of health care are very complex. Suffice it to say, I am dismayed with the proposed action as I feel it is based on incomplete knowledge and without consideration of unintended consequences to our community and to one of its most valuable assets.

As you know, I and many of the Medical Center’s leadership and employees were among the strongest supporters of the move to consolidate Macon-Bibb. One of the real hopes I had was the reduction of overlapping services that would create greater efficiency in local government and would allow for the numerous cuts to indigent care funding over the last decade to be halted and even reversed. We have an opportunity to move ahead in this critical area in the next few years. Don’t let the immediacy of this budget need in one area dictate a direction which will be detrimental in the long run to the community, This is simply about our local government officials having a positive and meaningful partnership, including a financial component, with the Medical Center, the county’s only community owned and operated hospital facility. The only one whose only purpose is to serve here with all of those dollars staying in our community.

I would implore the mayor and commissioners not take this action at this time, but truly make an informed decision and reestablish the active partnership which has served this community so well over the years. While I am no longer employed at the Medical Center, I am and will continue to be a citizen of Macon-Bibb and one who is vitally interested in the health and well being of the facility that will lead our region’s health care into the future.

-- Don Faulk


Time to hide?

I recall June 6, 1968. I was 9, my mom was sitting on the corner of the bed, crying. On the television were scenes of Robert Kennedy lying in a pool of blood around his head on the kitchen floor in the Ambassador Hotel. After that day, my mom seemed to change.

My older brother had a similar memory. He was 8 years old in November 1963 and remembered our dear “Miss Ruby” crying in front of the television watching “As The World Turns” when a news bulletin interrupted her soap opera.

In April 1968, while we ate dinner, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot in Memphis. In 1964, Fannie Lou Hamer gave a speech in Harlem: “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Then women like Gloria Steinem and Shirley Chisholm spoke up.

The white, straight, male, “serve me” mentality has just about petered out. On July 1, this state will experience an odd, almost wild-west change and the effect will be felt in retail businesses, schools, bars, churches, City Hall meetings and in the streets. Tourism and convention venues will suffer.

Would you chance going to a theme park in the middle of summer to find you and your children in a long line and suddenly someone gets frustrated and stands his ground?

I now completely understand my late mother’s need to become a recluse. “Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” -- Robert F. Kennedy

-- Craig Graham

Warner Robins

Fast VA service

Someone has got to say a positive word about the Veterans Administration. I served in both World War II and the Korean conflict. I never heard about a “contract” or that “they” owed me anything. You either went in the military because it was the right thing to do, or they came and got you.

Now I am amazed at all the benefits that I am “entitled” to.

I go to the VA and in a matter of minutes, I am called in to see the doctor. I only wish my civilian doctors worked on a two-minute wait schedule.

And a special word of thanks to Latrellis Walton, the office manager of the local VA clinic. She had the nicest smile and an eagerness to help that was truly outstanding during a recent visit about two administrative matters.

-- Neal G. Baldschun


National anthem

Last eve, while channel surfing, I happened upon the opening ceremonies for the NBA finals. The playing of the national anthem was in progress. I did not see the entire singing, but of the portion I saw, not one person had their hand over their heart.

Players were standing casually with their hands behind their backs. Some bouncing around with pregame jitters. The word that comes to mind is disgrace.

-- Dennis Vargo


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