In the raging healthcare debate this summer, both sides agree that reducing the cost of medical care for individual Americans is desirable. One important way to decrease costs is something called “tort reform.” A tort is defined as a social wrong. But in the healthcare field, consider a tort an act of medical malpractice where a patient is harmed by a medical error of a healthcare provider (a doctor, hospital, nurse, health aide, etc.). At the present time, a patient who is harmed can sue the healthcare provider for “pain and suffering,” and at trial, the patient could be awarded very large sums of money. The patient’s lawyer shares in that large reward. The award money comes from the malpractice insurance company. And the malpractice insurance company obtains its money from charging physicians tens of thousands of dollars a year (sometimes hundreds of thousands, depending on the medical specialty) in malpractice premiums. Doctors must purchase this insurance in order to practice medicine. Tort reform would place a cap on the amount of money that could be awarded in “pain and suffering” lawsuits. So you would limit these awards to, for example, $250,000, and would do away with massive multimillion dollar awards. This would bring down the price of malpractice insurance doctors pay. Huge monetary awards are a big motivator for many personal injury lawyers. These lawyers are strongly opposed to tort reform because it would limit patients to smaller awards and thus limit the lawyers to lower income.
I was reading recently how Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss is now devoting himself to promoting the education of “civics” in our schools in order to give our children real-world knowledge and, hopefully, wisdom about how to run our government. I never realized that Mr. Dreyfuss and I had so much in common and I enthusiastically join his call to bring back civic education.
Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R,C,I-East Meadow) would like to advise his constituents on ways they can save money. The Long Island Power Authority is offering savings with rebates on two-speed and variable-speed pool pumps, refrigerators, dehumidifiers and central air conditioning tune-ups. “This is a smart program which people should take advantage of to help decrease energy costs for your home or business and replace any older appliances,” the Assemblyman stated.
As students across New York return to school, local education officials are facing the dawn of a new school year with economic storm clouds on the horizon threatening school district resources.
Having dodged the harshest effects of declining state revenue because of federal stimulus funding last year, school board members are still wary about the state’s financial picture, according to a recent poll from the New York State School Boards Association.
If Congress goes forward with national health care reform (currently H.R. 3200), they must incorporate H.R. 1322 to protect health benefits already earned by America’s retirees.
The Emergency Retiree Health Benefits Protection Act (H.R. 1322), which would make corporations live up to the financial commitments they made to their employees during their working years, should be a part of any healthcare reform legislation.
Like most municipalities across the country, we have had to tighten our belts in the face of the lingering economic decline. Nonetheless, we remain committed to providing fun activities, events and amusement such as our fireworks extravaganza and summer-long presentation of free concerts.
On Wednesday, Sept. 9, I will be joined by the Nassau County 9/11 Memorial Committee, along with victims’ families and friends, at a sunset ceremony to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001. The ceremony will take place at the September 11th Memorial in Eisenhower Park.
Chief of Detectives Ed Curran is now retired after a distinguished 33-year career with the police department. He started as a patrolman in the 3rd Precinct in 1946. He advanced quickly to a detective in 1951. Ed moved up rapidly from there to detective sergeant, detective lieutenant and detective captain and finally chief of detectives, a position he held for 14 years. In 1978 he was made first deputy commissioner of police. Ed retired in 1979. He is now the president of the NY State Association of Police. This is the only statewide association of retired police with 5,300 members. Their headquarters is nearby on Old Country Road, Carle Place. He and his wife Ruth have lived on Croyden Road for 45 years. Ed Curran is active in the County Seat Kiwanis Club. If you attend their annual Superbowl breakfast you can always find Ed standing behind the counter serving pancakes. Three years ago he was named “Kiwanian of the Year.” He and Ruth attend Corpus Christi Church.
Growing up in Mineola, a lot of us were rabid Beatles fans (I myself attended their concert at Shea Stadium in 1966 along with a number of my Mineola High School classmates). Many of us still remain fans (there’s even a restaurant in Mineola named after one of Paul’s songs). Recently, the two remaining Beatles — Paul McCartney and Ringo Star — announced that the proceeds from the download of one of their songs (through their new XBOX game) will go directly to an organization called Doctors without Borders (DWB).
DWB is an international, humanitarian aid organization, which provides medical aid in more than 80 countries. They provide aid to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. These folks work in some of the most desperate, poverty ridden, dangerous places in the world.
What many of the folks in Mineola might not know is that one of our own, John Yergan, Mineola High School Class of 1968, is currently working with DWB in Nigeria.
Nigeria is undergoing armed ethnic and sectarian violence in it’s oil producing Niger Delta region.
John was a star running back on the 1967 MHS football team that went undefeated and won the Rutgers Cup as Nassau County’s best team that year. He attended Columbia University for his undergraduate and medical studies. Since the ’80s, he’s lived in the Seattle area where he was on the faculty at the University of Washington School of Medicine and most recently an emergency medicine specialist.
Here’s John’s latest letter letting his friends know what his work and life in Africa has been like. I thought the folks in Mineola might find this interesting.
Although neither John or I have lived in Mineola or Williston Park for a number of years (John in Seattle, me in Richmond, Virginia) we will always feel like the Mineola/Williston Park area is our home and wanted to share this with our friends.
Mineola High School Class of 1968
Here is the letter from John Yergan:
Two months, one third of the way behind me. I have settled into life in a tropical riverine environment. It took me several weeks to be somewhat comfortable in the humidity as I found myself suffering on and off from sudden profuse sweating. Thankfully, my bedroom has a fan and the electricity is now on more than it is off, I hope.
For security reasons, I must endure restrictions in my ability to move around independently. For example, I must remain in our compound after dark, unless more than one of us leave together in one of our official vehicles. We must return by 10 p.m. Military check points abound, both on the roads and in the creeks. In the boat we must raise our hands above our heads starting about 100 yards away from a checkpoint. We can take them down at the checkpoint. Usually passing the soldiers goes very smoothly. Unfortunately, the security matter prevents me from forwarding any pictures along with this update.
The medical work remains stimulating. Much of what I see is relatively new and therefore interesting from that perspective alone. Additionally, the human stories behind the medical problems differ dramatically from those at home. Poverty, malnutrition, traditional beliefs, lack of access to transportation, and other factors affect greatly the severity of disease at the time we see a patient. In a typical day, we may see patients of all ages with these diseases: malnutrition, severe malaria and other parasitic infections, pneumonia, typhoid fever, gastroenteritis, severe anemia, measles complicated by pneumonia, chronic infections, injuries which ideally should have been seen weeks earlier, acute trauma, and many other maladies.
On August 10, the MTA released a Draft 2010-2014 Capital Program document and a 20-year Capital Needs Assessment document for public review and comment. It seems that the LIRR Main Line Corridor Improvements Project has morphed into something called the LIRR Strategic Corridor Improvement Program. The LIRR Strategic Corridor Improvements Program redefines the main line as being between Jamaica station in Queens County and the Ronkonkoma station in Suffolk County.
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