I am writing about "All Quiet on the Senior Front" (May 17, p. 2), which says seniors are skeptical about providers' campaign to increase their federal payments.
In regard to the government aide who said, "We're not hearing from real people. We're hearing from people who are having trouble paying for a second Mercedes," I would say the following:
As the director at a home healthcare agency for five years, I have frequently voiced my opposition to the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and its repercussions for the delivery of care. I have never driven a Mercedes, nor will my salary ever allow me to consider driving one.
As for the comment that "beneficiaries have not seen reduced access to home health services as a result of the reform of Medicare payments for home health services," I would say this:
The reason beneficiaries have not "seen a reduction in services" is because agencies that were in the business for the money have closed and the remaining agencies, like ours, have taken significant internal cuts in salaries, benefits and office equipment to ensure that we deliver care that meets our patients' needs.
To say access has not decreased for beneficiaries is a compliment to professionals who are dedicated to patients and not to the almighty dollar.
Director of home healthcare
Seiling Municipal Hospital