Group homes for the elderly make senseMaryland officials...

LETTERS

July 04, 1996

Group homes for the elderly make sense

Maryland officials will soon decide whether they can find funds for a small pilot program of subsidies for residents of group homes. Let's hope they do.

There are a significant number of elderly individuals in Maryland who need 24-hour supervision because of physical and mental ailments but who do not need skilled nursing care. Both skilled and unskilled care can cost a good deal, and these individuals can quickly exhaust their resources. Under the current system, many of these individuals are placed in nursing homes, with Medicaid -- read: taxpayers -- paying $70 day for their care.

Group homes, which are less restrictive and do not require skilled personnel, can provide adequate care for these individuals at a fraction of the cost. The current program, which is under a moritorium because of lack of funds, provides up to $550 a month or just over $18 a day. Combined with Social Security and, in some cases, county supplements, this allows these individuals to live in a home-like setting and save the taxpayers a good deal of money in the bargain.

If Maryland is truly looking to cut Medicaid costs, this subsidy program is clearly one way to do that. It helps a growing number of individuals in need 24-hour supervision avoid institutionalized

care that is both inappropriate and expensive.

Keith Peterson

Bethesda

British video sorry spectacle

The 25-minute video by British journalist Christopher Hitchens attacking Mother Teresa and presented under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins University, the Baltimore Museum of Art with publicity on FM radio station WJHU, was a sorry spectacle and didn't do any good to the image of these organizations.

This type of thing is an affront to all faiths and goes along with the same climate of hate that produces the ugly church burnings are currently witnessing.

I do hope that an increasing number of people will voice their displeasure and disgust.

Louise Pohlhaus

Towson

Jean Houston isn't some crazy 'mystic'

I found Mike Littwin's June 25 denigration of Hillary Clinton and Jean Houston ("Hillary's harmonic convergence") a little hard to take. Sure, the "Eleanor Roosevelt story" makes her juicy parody. But to publicly scorn a brilliant woman such as Ms. Houston -- a PH.D., the author of more than a dozen books and a respected philosopher and teacher who has worked with Mother Teresa and political leaders around the world -- does a huge disservice to both her and the people open and smart enough to ask for a piece of her mind.

Anne Hege Hughes

Baltimore

Report on grants called incomplete

David Folkenflik's June 5 article reporting the withdrawal of the research grant application of Dr. Michael W. Washabaugh by the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health was both incomplete and one-sided. The judgmental comments based on such incomplete information were entirely inappropriate.

Upon learning that he had placed erroneous graphs in his grant application, Dr. Washabaugh, an outstanding and usually meticulous research biochemist and teacher, himself requested that the application be withdrawn before any award was made.

Also, in his subsequent agreement with the National Institutes of Health, none of Dr. Washabaugh's excellent scientific publications required any correction since the erroneous graphs were never published in the scientific literature. Since no money was awarded and no errors were published, no external scientific harm was done. However, Dr. Washabaugh has paid a heavy price for errors in preparing a grant application.

His excellent scientific reputation among biochemists, and the reputations of his students, will long survive this unfortunate incident.

Albert S. Mildvan

Lawrence Grossman

Baltimore

The writers are professors at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

The first nation founded on right

The Fourth of July! What does it mean?

It means our flag, the Statue of Liberty, mountains and the fruited plain. It means that individuals have the ability to look up, to know there is a meaning to life and we can find it.

It means that life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness are the unalienable rights of man -- and that this country is the first ever to build on those rights. It means we are special.

The founding fathers had only an implicit philosophy, but that has been made explicit in our generation by the undergirding philosophy of Objectivism, which completes the whole.

We have a lot to live up to and a lot of which to be proud. Glory! Long may she wave.

Margaret Resh Tinkler

Reisterstown

''We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.''

These magnificent words taken from the Declaration of Independence are a real and tangible reminder of the importance of the date.The Fourth of July should not simply be a day of fun and drinking, but much more.

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