Letters to the Editor

Hospital billing, unkempt KC, slaughtering horses, mourning Ella

Hospital billing

The Aug. 4 story, “Hospitals are sued over billing practices,” involving auto accidents unfairly assigned a motive to hospitals. Like patients, hospitals are caught in the middle.

Insurance companies determine fault, medical liability and payment distribution. Sadly, the story implied hospitals’ actions contained a more sinister motive. Whenever a patient has multiple policies that cover medical treatment, the insurance companies assess who is primarily responsible for payment. This is known as coordination of benefits, and it ensures that insurance companies do not pay twice for a single injury.

It is an insurance industry process; it isn’t determined by the hospital. Commercial health insurance and government plans, such as Medicare and Medicaid, make health insurance coverage secondary to auto coverage in an accident.

The auto insurance is the primary payer. The extended time necessary to settle auto claims — especially if there is litigation — may lead hospitals to file a lien against a future settlement.

Also, hospitals may file a secondary claim with a health insurance plan to meet that plan’s timely filing requirements. Hospitals work to identify the payer and seek reimbursement after care is delivered.

Hospitals are caught in the middle, too.

Tom Bell President Kansas Hospital
Association Topeka Herb B. Kuhn President and CEO Missouri Hospital
Association Jefferson City Unkempt KC

Last winter, my neighbor’s tree fell down. I loaned him my chainsaw to cut it up.

He put the remains in his front yard for pick-up, but the city never did. It’s still there, killing his lawn.

He is a hard-working young man with a new baby, and I’m certain he can’t afford to pay the vultures who overcharge to haul it away.

Is Kansas City so cheap that it cannot afford to keep our neighborhoods clean?

I guess we are supposed to cut all this stuff into tiny little anal-retentive bundles and tie them in neat little packages. Who has the time to do that?

One week, the trash service did not even bother to pick up my garbage. If our city continues to foul its own nest with apathy and incompetence, we will eventually just become a big slum. The City of Fountains will be known as the city of trash.

Thomas E. Dodson Kansas City Petulant lawmaker

Maybe to his constituents Rep. Tim Huelskamp looks like a hero (8-7, A1, “Kansas’ Huelskamp stands up to party”). To the rest of us, he looks like a petulant child stamping his feet because he can’t get his own way. That’s not governance.

That’s nonproductive grandstanding.

Stephanie Laster Fairway Senators’ overreach

U.S. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham went to Egypt last week to urge the nation’s military-backed leaders to release Islamist figures as a gesture to the Muslim Brotherhood or risk making a huge mistake (8-7, A8, “Advice spurned”).

Their message was denounced as unacceptable interference in internal politics.

Is this not the job of the secretary of state? These guys need to stay home and quit blowing our tax dollars.

Jim Marsicek Lee’s Summit Lezak lightens news

I have to differ with the people who say they can’t stand watching Gary Lezak with his dog doing tricks during the TV weather reporting. I think it is a pleasurable break to watching all of the bad news such as earthquakes, horrific storms, humid temperatures, murders, shootings, kidnappings, protests and car/bus/truck crashes.

The dog is very smart, and obviously he and Gary and the rest of the KSHB-TV, Channel 41 newsroom have a very friendly relationship.

Carolyn S. Gibson Kansas City Slaughtering horses

I’m an avid equestrian with five horses, wishing to set the record straight.

First, a shotgun slug or bolt through the head of a conscious horse isn’t humane euthanasia.

Those who differ are lying or don’t understand equine anatomy or behavior. Sedation is needed to humanely euthanize a horse, and slaughterers don’t sedate horses because humans couldn’t consume them then.

Second, slaughterhouses create minimal low-paying, dangerous jobs despite grandiose statements about job growth. When pro-slaughterers are pressed, valid estimates aren’t provided.

Remaining unsaid is that there are a few ranchers who stand to gain financially from the socially unacceptable practice of breeding and raising horses specifically for slaughter.

But this contradicts the whole slaughter-is-more-ethical-than-neglecting-horses myth propagated by pro-slaughterers. Slaughterers don’t want emaciated, neglected horses. They want healthy, young ones.

A third myth: the alleged increase in abandoned horses since the ban on slaughter.

Unfortunately, there have been and always will be neglected horses because of a few ignorant and cruel people. The same circumstances apply for dogs and cats, but no one is advocating slaughtering and eating them.

Let privately funded equine-rescue and welfare groups that genuinely care for equines help fight cruelty, not slaughterers.

Susan Hakes Kaufmann Fairway Tricky word use

Whatever happened to the perfectly good word “affected”? It has been replaced of late by the less than grammatically correct “impacted.”

As far as I'm concerned, if you've been “impacted,” you should probably think about taking a laxative.

Lynne Weidmaier Overland Park Coincidence, conflict?

The General Services Administration currently employs thousands of federal workers. It develops wide cost-saving policies for the government as well as the people.

One of its many jobs is to manage permanent government properties and dispose of them as needed.

A recent decision awarded Richard Blum a sole real estate company executive, exclusive rights to sell 56 U.S. post office buildings on prime lands in towns and cities across this country.

The sale of these properties could fetch billions of dollars, plus a commissionthat could be worth millions of dollars to Mr. Blum.

It might be noted that Mr. Blum is the husband of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

It might also be noted that President Barack Obama is the chief representative for the GSA, along with being its executive and presiding officer in charge.

It is very questionable how a powerful U.S. senator and her husband have managed such a sweet deal, possibly making them millions of dollars from a U.S. taxpayer-funded enterprise.

Coincidence or conflict of interest? You be the judge.

DeWayne Steele Kansas City Curtailing violence

What’s next for the brave person who shot and killed Ella the deer and to the people who wonder what’s the big deal? It was only an animal (8-6, A1, “City mourns loss of Elmwood Cemetery deer”).

Consider this. The person who did this may just decide to harm an innocent child playing in a front yard or to kill your dog or cat or any passer-by.

I believe Ella was an angel in disguise sent by heaven above to provide solace to people who came to the cemetery. Sadly, that has been taken away by a cruel, heartless monster.

Remember, evil begets more evil.

Anyone who could kill an innocent, tame creature like Ella would have no problem hurting others.

Think about it.

Virginia Hill Independence Mourning Ella

The last time I saw Ella the deer at Elmwood Cemetery, she walked behind me to a grave and stood quietly.

I hounded the Kansas City Zoo (rich from its windfall financing) to take Ella and give her shelter and companionship. I hounded Lakeside Nature Center, and no one ever answered my calls.

I will never support either again.

Elmwood Cemetery has its charm, but Ella’s death at that location was inevitable.

She is a saint, and there should be a memorial fund to commission an Ella sculpture to stand in front of Armour Chapel in her memory and to tell her story.

Bill Doty Overland Park