Monday, May 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Tuesday's letters: Insurance practice hurts patients

Step therapy

Insurance practice hurts patients

This legislative session, patients in Florida saw to their great dismay that measures to roll back "step therapy" practices failed to become law. Under step therapy, a patient must try and fail on one or more drugs selected by his or her health plan — primarily based on financial considerations — before coverage is granted for the drug prescribed by the patient's health care provider.

Step therapy is used to treat a wide range of diseases and chronic conditions. In Florida, the National Psoriasis Foundation sees psoriasis patients struggle with the impact of step therapy on a regular basis, often suffering painful and debilitating side effects from less effective treatments.

SB 784 by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and HB 863 by Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, both attempted to reduce the influence of step therapy and improve physicians' ability to prescribe the best treatments available, regardless of the cost to insurance companies.

The National Psoriasis Foundation asserts that insurance company-mandated step therapy protocols are not in the best interest of patients. Subjecting patients to arbitrary, drawn-out and often costly step therapies compromises their well-being.

On behalf of our patients, we appreciate the efforts of Gaetz and Harrison, and we hope to see this issue at the forefront of our state's health care discussion in the future.

Krista Kellogg, chair, National Psoriasis Foundation board of directors, Palmetto Bay; Ron Grau, National Psoriasis Foundation board of directors, Boca Raton

Challenges for Tampa's new police chief May 9, editorial

Castor the crime-fighter

Your editorial points out that one of the most important challenges for Eric Ward, Tampa's new police chief, should be "declaring a halt to the city's practice of harassing black bicyclists in largely black east Tampa." I disagree.

Your use of the word "harassment" is inappropriate. The verdict is not yet in from a Justice Department review. If the conclusion is that this practice does not equate with racial profiling, I would agree with the assessment by Jane Castor, Tampa's departing police chief, that, at the end of the day, "the most important number is the number of people who have not been a victim of crime."

At the end of Castor's tenure, crime in the Tampa area was down by 30 percent since 2009.

Jorge E. Ponce, Trinity

Castor leaves a legacy that's shining, flawed May 9, Sue Carlton column

Chief will be missed

Tampa police Chief Jane Castor has given the citizens of Tampa over 30 years of her life and at least a dozen years of professional, ethical and progressive policing. I cannot help but believe the people of Tampa will find themselves down the road longing for the days of Castor.

It has not always been roses. But then all law enforcement agencies have internal issues from time to time. Castor has dealt with those issues as she did with everything. She has been the consummate professional.

I have watched her response to allegations that the Tampa Police Department has engaged in racist tactics while attempting to make high-crime neighborhoods safer for their residents. The Times' story on bicycle tickets seemed like a disingenuous attempt to capitalize on the subject of the day. Focusing resources where they are needed most is what a chief does.

For me, what Castor has been trying to say to the people of Tampa is that it's not who is getting tickets or arrested. It is why it is happening. If citizens in high-crime neighborhoods want a safe place to live, they must accept the consequence that people will go to jail.

Jane Castor is a person of great character with the confidence in herself and her policies that it takes to ask for a Justice Department investigation. She will be sorely missed.

Michael Jones, New Port Richey

What black moms know | May 10, Perspective

Painting with broad brush

Talk about painting with a broad brush. Black mothers are strong, authoritarian and work. White mothers are weak, seek advice and knowledge from books, and until recently were stay-at-home moms.

I'm white and grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood where most moms worked and were strong women who knew how to raise their children.

When we should be knocking down stereotypes, this article reinforces some of the worst. What an insulting article to all mothers, especially on Mother's Day.

Charles Bacchi, Palm Harbor

The pier's point, considered May 10, Perspective

Generational change

I want to thank Lennie Bennett for her heartfelt and informative essay about the past and future of St. Petersburg's pier.

I have fond childhood memories of the Million Dollar Pier. My snowbird grandparents made a trip to the pier a Sunday ritual after church and lunch at the Garden Cafeteria. In those days, my grandfather could drive around the building, ask a fisherman "are they biting?" and park his Studebaker for an hour while he and my grandmother strolled inside to observe the card players grouped at tables on the first floor.

It is a generational thing. My children's memories involve the inverted pyramid and visits to the Bounty. And if plans work out, I may actually live to see the Pier Park design come to life.

Christine R. Vaughn, Harbor Bluffs

Promise keeper, breaker or both? May 10, Perspective

Keep track of the dollars

Thank you for such a thorough investigation of the funding activities for Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. I look forward to many pages in the future devoted to equally thorough investigations of the sources of money for each of the Republican candidates and prospective candidates.

Esther Kirk, Riverview

Comments

Monday’s letters: Focusing on the mental state of shooters misses the point

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Friday’s letters: Putnam and Publix, two P’s lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17A pleasure to shop elsewhereMy family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye.Firs...
Published: 05/18/18

Saturday’s letters: For Florida to move forward, focus on a healthy and sustainable environment

Tampa’s future is bright | May 12Protect Florida, boost economyThis past year, Florida set another record-breaking year for tourism, welcoming more than 116 million visitors. While Florida boasts a unique quality of life and more than 1,300 miles...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Sunday’s letters: What conservatives stand for

How can conservatism survive after Trump | May 13, Nickens columnhed#6324 I think it obvious that traditional conservatism was squeezed out of the 2016 campaign narrative and has become a niche thesis owned by a small group of intellectuals. A gr...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Friday's letters: Putnam and Publix, two P's lose my nod

Publix pours cash to Putnam | May 17 A pleasure to shop elsewhere My family and I moved to Tampa in 1974, and have made Publix our favorite grocery store ever since. Forty-four years! That is why it makes me a little sad to have to say goodbye. F...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for May 18

Re: Pasco panel okays Tampa Electric solar farm after five-hour meeting | April 9 storySolar farm offers many positivesThere has been much publicity regarding the proposed TECO Mountain View solar project slated for 350 acres in East Pasco that was r...
Published: 05/14/18

Thursday’s letters: Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America

Autonomous vehicles in FloridaThe state for self-driving carsAlmost overnight, Florida has arguably become the autonomous vehicle capital of North America. In the last three months, Voyage, a self-driving taxi service, has begun service in the Villag...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/17/18

Wednesday’s letters: Florida’s Community Health Centers save $1.78 for every dollar spent

Florida’s Community Health CentersHealth centers are a great dealIf you gave someone a dollar and they gave you back $1.78, wouldn’t you consider that a fantastic deal? That’s the deal Florida’s Community Health Centers provide for the state’s citize...
Published: 05/12/18
Updated: 05/16/18

Monday’s letters: Good ideas to fix schools still require enough money

Another plan for faltering schools | May 9The right ideas, cash still neededThe administration of the Hillsborough County School District should be applauded for persistent efforts to find the right formula to improve educational results of stude...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/14/18

Saturday’s letters: Short-sighted prison cuts hurt society

Call to rethink prison cuts | May 10Short-sighted prison cuts hurt societyThe Florida Department of Corrections is dismantling successful substance abuse and re-entry treatment programs to fix a $28 million shortfall. The short-sighted action wi...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/11/18