As a recently retired nursing home administrator with 38 years of experience, I read your editorial “Nursing Home Reform Needed” with interest. [March 15]. Unfortunately, I have seen similar calls for reform over the years. Without exception, I found that so-called reforms are usually superficial, paperwork-type mandates that have no connection with the quality of care and services. A big part of the problem is that nursing homes are almost entirely reliant on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and those rates have not kept up with real costs, let alone the increased costs resulting from increases in staff, training and education the need would result. I fear this will be another hollow, futile call for real change and improved standards of care until entrenched politicians and advocates of the industry take on the hard work of systemic change and improvement.
One issue that I believe was not adequately addressed in Newsday’s editorial “Nursing Home Reform Needed” is the need for improved government oversight of current and future regulations. In 2017, I notified the office of the State Department of Health Commissioner of my deceased wife’s nursing home’s non-compliance with state and federal law regarding the right to spousal visits, and mistakenly learned that all state nursing homes properly comply with state and federal law implement. As the husband of a patient, the 1987 federal law gave me the right to visit my wife at any time, but her nursing home limited my visit to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Then I contacted 10% of all nursing homes in all regions of the state. Of the 63 institutions I contacted, 39 had similar time restrictions on spouse visits contrary to state and federal law. And yet, when I shared these results with state officials, they denied that this was the reality! No set of new laws and regulations will translate into positive change unless government officials closely monitor their enforcement and implementation.
It was good to see Newsday’s editorials on nursing homes, but I was disappointed that he didn’t speak more thoughtfully on funding and quality issues, including the current direct care relationship efforts.
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Richard J. Mollot,
Don’t give discounts to tax retarders
Reader Eugene R. Dunn suggests a 50% discount for taxpayers who owe money to the Internal Revenue Service or for student loans [“An idea better than a stimulus package?”, Letters, March 16]. Say I took out a loan to improve my home or a car loan to buy a luxury car. Do I get the same amnesty? Obviously not and neither do I. If a company owes IRS taxes, why should I subsidize that company or a taxpayer couple who haven’t paid what they owe? I paid mine, now you’re paying yours. And I wouldn’t have a problem if the IRS took the $ 1,400 off their tax bill and kept the check.
We’re just retirees who want a nice home
Reply to Reader Michael C. Lefkowitz: As Country Pointe homeowners, we are not rich and these are not exceptionally expensive homes [“Huge tax bill should be no surprise,” Letters, March 4]. Many people here are retired pension teachers. They sold their houses after 40 years to live in a lovely community of old people. Nassau County decided to re-evaluate all recently unrated homes, including new homes. It had to make up the difference in budget for the homeowners who had five years to catch up on their newly increased taxes. We’re just people who have worked hard all our lives to retire in a beautiful place.
Fast bikers should be made aware of etiquette
The recently opened pedestrian and bicycle sharing corridor, the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway, is a long-awaited addition to our community [“Coastal Greenway’s last leg finished months early,” News, March 5]. On my first excursion on the greenway, I encountered different “styles” of cyclists. Some bikers chose to ride in groups at very high speeds while pedestrians and other riders moved leisurely on the greenway. A group of high-speed drivers approached from behind without warning, went into the opposite lane, and came extremely close. It was terrifying. A few minutes later, two other high-speed drivers approached, but they shouted in advance that they would pass on the left. That advance notice made a huge difference. Shared path rules should be posted before someone is seriously injured.
Mary J. Schneller,