Reader letters Jan. 15

Jan 14, 2014

Haywood has special people

To the editor:

This Christmas Season brought a unique blessing to the staff of The Open Door.  One of our family of friends, the family we are so blessed to serve, gave us a thank you note.  It read in part, “I just wanted to give you a personal thank you for all you do for so many of us.  To most people we are just ‘those people,’ to you we are ‘special people’ and I know how lucky I am to be a ‘special person.’”

As we approach the occasion of the celebration of the person and work of Dr. Martin Luther King and his passionate efforts to achieve a world of racial equality, I also have a dream.  I dream of a world where we eradicate the attitude “those people” and recognize that we have a world filled with “special” people, people like you and me.  I dream of a world where the superficial things that often divide us are obliterated in the light of the all-embracing love of God.

Perry Hines

Open Door director


Rates spiral upward

To the editor:

Statements by a local agent regarding the proposed insurance increase appear to be misleading based on the data available.  Insurance rates have been increasing in Haywood County prior to the proposed or requested rate increase of 28.3 percent.  The premiums for my own home for the recent respective years are: 3/2010 to 3/2011 annual premium was $437; 3/2011 to 3/2012 annual premium was $629; 3/2012 to 3/2014 annual premium was $637; 3/2014 to 3/2015 annual premium is $851 (Invoice received).

There were no changes in coverage or deductible.  It is evident that I have or am experiencing just about a 100 percent increase in premium between 2010 and 2014. I doubt if I am a unique case.

Various insurance agents have told me that they have experienced a significant number of cancellations or dropping of insurance in the same recent time period due to rate increases.  People who have owned homes and insured them for 20 or 30 or more years without ever having an insurance claim may now be reconsidering how much their insurance payment is worth and are seeking insurance with lower premiums or are just dropping their insurance entirely.

Yes, there have been significant natural events that have placed a high burden on insurance companies; Sandy in the northeast, Andrew in Florida, tornadoes across the midwest, etc., but, the burden is being compounded when customers without claims drop their coverage and quit paying their premiums because of increasing premiums.

The loss of customers does not cause insurance companies to leave the state.  Insurance companies cannot charge more than the “market will bear.”  Insurance is a matter of “supply and demand.”  If insurnace companies price themselves out of the market, another company will step in and supply the coverage at a rate that is acceptable to the customers.

Jim Bothwell



State agency is failing

To the editor:

As a physician we are forced to be in a very high degree of compliance with the federal privacy laws as it relates to patients and patient care.

Reading today that NC Tracks, which has been so bad in so many ways since inception: not paying doctors, delayed payments, “lost” claims, not paying for physician assistant services and many other problems which has nearly brought care for Medicaid recipients to a complete halt, it now comes as no surprise that they have violated a major federal law which is supposed to protect patient privacy.

Here is a quote from American Health Information Management Association: “The omnibus rule provides a more objective standard to the Breach Notification Rule’s “harm” threshold by stating that any improper use or disclosure of health information is considered a breach. This strengthens the requirement that covered entities do a risk assessment and based on the assessment report the breach to patients and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The rule also makes business associates of HIPAA-covered entities directly liable for compliance with HIPAA requirements.”

Recapping: “Improper ... disclosure of health information (which most certainly includes name and address) is considered a breach.”

Civil penalties (where the patient can sue the individual or organization responsible for the breach) are up to $50,000 per violation up to $1.5 million dollars.

So not only has our state squandered, I understand, $250 million converting from what we had (which was working) to NC Tracks, which has repeatedly been cited for improper with holding of payments to health care providers, improperly refusing to assist health care providers attempting to get paid for the services already provided, now they have breached the privacy of nearly 50,000 individuals, many of them children and potentially cost the state another $1.5 million.

When will someone say, enough, fire these idiots and get back to health care the way it is supposed to be?

Allan Zacher

Lake Junaluska

Enforce noise ordinances

To the editor,

It’s hard to believe that Haywood County police departments and the Sheriff’s office refuse to enforce the laws on the books regarding excessive animal noise. The ordinance, as published in the Jan. 10 edition of The Mountaineer, is very clear, stating that the owners of dogs and birds that cause such a racket are breaking the law. Animal Control has no law enforcement capability, but the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department simply tells callers that they should file a complaint with the magistrate.

We have a neighbor with a rooster that crows incessantly, night and day. There is no reason for it. It’s a quality of life issue. We’re not living in Stumblecluck, Arkansas! These animal owners are disrupting entire neighborhoods with their callous indifference to the rights of others.

The only recourse we have is to compel the County Commissioners to amend the current noise ordinance to specify penalties for violators and to require the Sheriff and police departments to enforce the law. Otherwise property values will continue to go down and there will be no peace for anyone as animal owners continue to live above the law.

Donald G. Ely