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As a hospice COO, I know first-hand the difficulties that some of our neighbors face as they negotiate our complex health care system. Unfortunately, for some rural patients their ability to access hospice can be downright impossible. This is because current federal laws state that physicians employed by Rural Health Clinics (RHC) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) cannot receive reimbursement for serving as an attending physician for their patients enrolled in hospice care. In Idaho we have well over 40 RHCs that, under current law, are excluded from providing hospice care.
Fortunately, this issue has garnered the attention of leaders in Congress, and bipartisan legislation has been introduced to correct statutory shortcoming. The Rural Access to Hospice Act (H.R. 2594/S. 1190) would allow these clinics to receive payment for acting as a hospice attending physician.
As our population ages, we must ensure that access to hospice is readily available to patients. I met with staff members from the Idaho congressional delegation to discuss this and other important legislation. I thank them for their time. It is essential that the members of the Idaho congressional delegation, Sens. Crapo and Risch along with Reps. Fulcher and Simpson, support this legislation.
Honey Goodman, Nampa
Did you read the Sunday June 23 front-page article, “Refugee physicians band together in dream to become US doctors.”? Did their stories move you? Are you a physician in the Treasure Valley?
We have a tremendous shortage of doctors in Idaho, and these highly qualified refugees could help us meet that need. I have worked with this group for over a year now, helping them to pass the “boards” and get into residency programs. We are at a stage where we need clinical rotations for these deserving physicians. Would you be willing to host an observership in your practice? This does not have to be a monthlong, detailed rotation. In fact, ideally it could be a few hours a day, a few days a week, for two to eight weeks. If you would like to volunteer or know more, please reach out.
C. Scott Smith, Boise
Again and to further make my point regarding the push by our mayor insisting we should demolish our current downtown library and replace it with another $85 million monumental structure plus $15 million to build a parking garage (total $100 million), I submit the following quote by Ron Williams, a Board of Directors member of the Boise Public Library Foundation, as appeared in the Feb. 11, 2019, Statesman Guest Opinion. “Boise used funds within its capital budget to build four branch libraries without raising taxes. Thirteen years later each of those neighborhood libraries welcome an average of 12,000 visitors each month. What a win-win it has been for the residents to see new branch libraries built and heavily used without having to raise taxes for these important community assets.” Thank you, Mr. Williams. You have made my point. Maintain the current downtown library, no need to move The Cabin, no need for zoning change, no need to tear down two existing buildings. Continue to build branch libraries as they become needed.
Betty Weston, Boise