Nurses who would do more | Feb. 4
It's all about the Benjamins
The nurse practitioner story shed further light on Florida's antiquated health care laws, which are driven in part by highly funded medical organizations as well as physician lawmakers who have inherent conflicts of interest. Floridians deserve access to high-quality, evidence-based health care devoid of unnecessary rules and regulations.
Anyone in this state can receive care from a speech therapist, occupational therapist, massage therapist or personal trainer without physician oversight. Yet state-licensed doctors of physical therapy must refer their patients to a physician after 21 days. This provision exists under the veil of public safety despite overwhelming evidence of physical therapist competence and savings to the patient. The Florida Medical Association is adamantly opposed to any legislation that would remove this provision. Should we be surprised? Physicians are now competitors for the patient's valuable health care dollars. At some point, however, we must ask the FMA and lawmakers, is it about the patient or is it about the dollar?
Ryan Grella, Palm Harbor
Nurses who would do more | Feb. 4
Fully empower them
I was upset but not surprised to learn that Florida is one of only two states with severe restrictions on what can be done by nurse practitioners. We have a shortage of doctors and a budget deficit. Using NPs more fully would help with both problems, especially as the Medicaid expansion is implemented despite the foolishness coming from the governor's office about the cost of the program that was totally wrong. I'm sure that a substantial percentage of visits to "the doctor" result from common complaints that any NP could as quickly, accurately and compassionately deal with.
As for abuse of controlled substances being the reason to keep the authority to write a script for a pain medication away from the NP: Now only MDs can write the scripts, and there is already a serious problem. Who can we blame except them? Florida needs to get serious about addressing this problem and fully empower competent nurse practitioners.
Dennis M. Kovach, Palmetto
Transport the crowds | Feb. 4 letter to editor
It isn't just baseball that's being held up by the lack of a regional transportation system. The fact is, economic development of all kinds is being hampered by the lack of public transportation. I lived through the pain of development of the D.C. Metro system and watched it transform the region economically, particularly the suburbs. Note that they also have a baseball team downtown, accessible by public transportation.
Pinellas County is showing some signs of 21st century thinking; Hillsborough County continues to demonstrate the mid 20th century, economically and socially.
Clyde Walker, Sun City Center
Criminals will ignore law
In a perfect world, tragedies like Newtown, Colorado and Columbine would never have happened. But we live in a society with people who seek to harm children and shake our faith in mankind.
The problem with President Barack Obama's solution is that individuals who wish to do harm have no regard for the law. Criminals are going to obtain the weapons they seek. The only thing the proposed legislation will accomplish is impeding good citizens from obtaining firearms in a timely manner. Stricter gun laws are only beneficial if criminals follow the law.
I exercise my right to bear arms and I am proud that I will be able to defend my family if need be. These shootings are tragic and my heart breaks for the families and communities that have been affected. Taking away my right and ability to protect myself and my children will do nothing to ease their pain.
Tara Moulder, Lake Panasoffkee
NRA has become militant
Having grown up in a deer-hunting family in the Pacific Northwest and having been a police officer in Southern California, I find it important to speak up about America's gun policy. Managing mental illness, requiring background checks, and prohibiting sales and use of assault weapons must be mandatory! First, we can't allow weapons sales to felons or the mentally ill. Yes, there's an underground or they can get them by burgling homes of legal gun owners, but don't make it easy or legal. Second, assault weapons and long clips are solely for warfare in the hands of the military. Their power and devastation is colossal. I object to the absurd words of Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association. Any hunter "needing" these is neither a sportsman nor a marksman.
I have handled guns since age 12, when Dad enrolled me in the NRA safety course, after which we competed on marksmanship teams and went on hunting trips every deer season. The club has drastically changed from those days. The NRA philosophy of the past 15-plus years has become hostile and militant; I won't be member. LaPierre is only protecting his monetary interests: his large salary, his and his friends' investment portfolios, and the club's large donations to certain politicians. Money is too often behind these sort of movements, isn't it?
Susan Schubert, Tampa
From tea party hero to hero for teachers Feb. 2
Scott a hero? Hardly
This was a concise article about Gov. Rick Scott's "investing" in education after his previous raping and pillaging of the system. Then some headline writer went well beyond hyperbole to refer to Scott as the "hero of teachers."
I have not met a single teacher who believes that Scott is a "hero" after slashing education $1.3 billion, touting his decision the next year to restore only $1 billion of that, then taking away 3 percent of salaries, followed by offering a $2,500 raise to teachers. Teachers have got 99 names for the governor, but "hero" ain't one of them.
Scott Hopkins, Brandon
FCC rattles industry with idea of free Wi-Fi Feb. 4
Airwaves belong to public
The federal government should create a super Wi-Fi network. This would be a boon for industry and the working class. Compared to the rest of the world, the United States is behind. South Korea speeds are about four times faster than ours, and it costs less. The working class could also save money using VOIP connections to make calls. The airwaves belong the public. The cable and cellphone companies have made enough profit off of us already.
Scott McKown, Palm Harbor