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Letters: Roe's working for Alzheimer's patients

Johnson City Press • Nov 23, 2018 at 6:00 AM

Want to have your voice heard? Send a Letter to the Forum. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or [email protected].

Roe’s working for Alzheimer’s patients

This past year, my family lost both our mother and stepmother to Alzheimer’s disease. It was incredibly difficult to watch these loved ones slowly disappear. I cannot even describe the heartbreak of experiencing your mother looking at you and saying, “you look just like my daughter.” My baby sister gave up her life to care for our mother. Our stepmother did not live near us, so I went to see her every three to four months for the last four years. Physically, emotionally and financially this disease was brutal for my family.

As the only leading cause of death without a cure or effective treatment, Alzheimer’s robs individuals and families of all hope. I personally however, have found glimmers of hope in advocating to our nation’s elected officials, asking them to treat Alzheimer’s like the public health crisis that it is.

Today, there is a bill in Congress that would do just that. The Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure Act. The “BOLD Act” would create an Alzheimer's public health infrastructure across the country to implement effective interventions focused on public health issues such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk and preventing avoidable hospitalizations. The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act would also increase implementation of the Healthy Brain Initiative's Public Health Road Map by establishing Alzheimer's centers of excellence, providing cooperative agreements to public health departments and increasing data collection, analysis and timely reporting.

Today I am grateful and hopeful because not only did Representative Roe take the time to hear my story, but he then took action by signing on to co-sponsor the BOLD Act. Representative Roe, on behalf of your constituents who are currently battling this disease, I want to thank you for listening and thank you for stepping forward to take a stand for those suffering.

BARBARA SAPP
Kingsport

Ballad protests are too late

I was amused to read that almost 20,000 people had signed an online petition protesting Ballad Health’s decision to close several Level 1 trauma centers and NICUs. Their protests are too late and we now have a monopoly running our healthcare system. Any monopoly is going to act only in its own best interests and Ballad is no exception. This move will benefit its bottom line and the bottom line of its CEO Alan Levine. Only the citizens of this area will suffer.

It would have been much more effective if these people had joined me 18 months ago on July 18, 2017, when I was the only member of the public who spoke against the merger at the final COPA public hearing. It was clear, even then, that allowing a monopoly to run our healthcare system was a bad idea and would only benefit Ballad and Mr. Levine. Nothing has changed in the intervening months to alter my opinion and healthcare in this region is only going to get worse, with more closings, consolidations and price increases.

URS GSTEIGER
Johnson City

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