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Lawmakers should back Better Access, Care Act

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Lawmakers should back Better Access, Care Act

More than 1.4 mil- lion Ohioans – nearly 50 percent of the population – live in what is called a “Health Professional Shortage Area.” These areas, designated by the federal government, have a shortage of primary care, dental or mental health providers. Due to this statistic and as a member of the medical field, I am writing to urge my local legislators to support House Bill 177, the “Better Access, Better Care Act,” and retire the outdated regulatory framework known as the Standard Care Arrangement (SCA).

For those who may not know, the SCA is a mandatory contract that an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), such as a nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife or a clinical nurse specialist, must enter into with a physician in order to practice in Ohio. This contract results in little more than a financial arrangement between an APRN and a physician and results in no meaningful oversight or collaboration between the two parties. In fact, it serves as a barrier to care, and Ohio’s patients deserve better.

Those who oppose the modernization of Ohio’s regulatory framework make claims that it will change how APRNs and physicians work together. As an APRN, I can assure your readers that we professionally collaborate with physicians on a daily basis, many of whom are not our ”official” collaborator. Getting essentially a permission slip to practice and have a physician review patient charts every six months provides no value to patients.

In fact, 27 states and the District of Columbia have already modernized their rules not to require these types of contracts, ensuring patients have increased access to care and a choice of provider.

Retiring the Standard Care Arrangement will not expand APRNs’ scope of practice in any way, but it will expand access to high-quality, affordable healthcare for all Ohioans.

Jesse V. McClain IV , Canfield

Homosexuality remains a sin, according to Bible

In response to the May 10 article by syndicated columnist Jill Richardson, “Don’t use religion to harm,” I agree when she said it’s wrong to refuse services to LGBTQ people on religious grounds, but not when she says people who think homosexuality is a sin are misinterpreting the Bible.

If people who think it’s a sin are misinterpreting Scriptures then why did it take so long to figure it out? For centuries it was an accepted fact it was a sin, and the church didn’t even debate it until about 20 years ago. Does that mean that all these centuries it was misinterpreted and now they finally got it right? What’s really happening is people are falling away from the truth.

When people use Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 to condemn homosexuality, people say, “It also says to stone to death disobedient children.” But those chapters also condemn incest, bestiality and adultery. Surely those things are still sinful so why wouldn’t homosexuality still be?

Things like stoning people to death and sacrificing animals went out of effect in the New Testament, but sexual sin didn’t.

Homosexuality is still condemned in the New Testament.

Richardson also made a comment about how people who think it’s a sin are picking and choosing Scriptures they want to follow. It’s really the people on the other side of the issue who do that.

I’ve talked to people who don’t believe it’s a sin and most of them tell me they don’t believe that part of the Bible. They talk about how the Bible says to love and disregard what it says about sin. They don’t want to believe it’s a sin.

You can take any sin in the Bible and rationalize and make it look like it’s not a sin.

Steve Blessing, Warren

Ohio already has impartial redistricting map to use

The Federal Court has ruled that Ohio must redraw the congression-al districts right away because of the GOP’s attempts to gerrymander districts in their favor. We currently have districts that are drawn that make no sense to the voter. Some atrocities like Ohio’s 9th district which includes both Cleveland and Toledo, are drawn to pack Democrats in one district and reduce their voting power.

Many years ago, a computer programmer named Brian Olson developed an algorithm to draw congressional districts that are equivalent in population and compact. He was featured in an article from the Washington Post in 2014. Brian has already drawn a map for every state, including Ohio, to show what compact districts look like using 2010 census data. You can see the map for yourself by going to his website:

Congress won’t work for the people if we continue let politicians pick their voters. Republicans in the Ohio Legislature are shrugging their shoulders in drawing a new map, but they don’t need to. Would you ask Rep. Manning and Sen. Rulli why they won’t propose Ohio simply use the impartial map of compact districts drawn years ago rather than spend tax money on a costly appeal?

Gary Hassay, Boardman

Editor’s note: The writer provided this link to the map:

Thankfully, attitudes on mental health are changing in the US

In America today, 1 out of 5 Americans suffers a mental health issue, and about 1 in 25 adults is experiencing a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with one or more major life activities. Sadly, the rate of suicide is at a 30-year high.

While more individuals are accessing care, an astounding 9 million are struggling with unmet needs. These are our friends, colleagues, neighbors and perhaps our own family members.

As CEO of Belmont Pines Hospital, my staff and I serve many members of our community who are experiencing some of the most challenging times of their lives – mental illnesses that are often invisible to the casual observer in ways that physical illnesses are not.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, providing an important opportunity for reflection and collective action to address barriers, including the ongoing stigma and stereotypes preventing many individuals from getting the care they need.

A recent poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by Research Now provides some noteworthy insights regarding perception and barriers. High percentages of respondents view mental health as equal in importance to physical health with illnesses like depression and anxiety cited among the top concerns, along with cancer and heart disease. The same poll identified barriers to care and different perspectives regarding value for physical and mental health where historically the latter wasn’t taken as seriously.

The good news is that there is much hope, and today, positive outcomes are not only possible but experienced every day. Each of us can play a positive role to improve the lives of the millions of Americans suffering from mental health challenges, not just during this month, but every month in every community across the country.

Lisa Cocca, Liberty

Lisa Cocca is CEO/managing director of Belmont Pines Hospital,