THE PEOPLE SPEAK IN ANOTHER BATCH OF ‘LETTERS TO THE EDITOR’

Endorses Tammy Wagoner For Macon County State’s Attorney

Dear Editor:

     This letter is sent in support of my friend and colleague Tammy Wagoner who is running for State’s Attorney in Macon County. I have known Tammy for several years. I first met Tammy when working together in a multi-county team which focused on addressing issues of domestic violence in Piatt, Moultrie, and Douglas Counties. Soon thereafter, Tammy and I began working together at the Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center (MCLETC) to develop and execute quality training for future police and corrections officers, helping provide them with a greater understanding of the criminal justice system.

     Tammy has assembled and led a team of prosecutors from across central Illinois to serve as staff members at MCLETC, providing support and leadership for those prosecutors serving as instructors. With Tammy’s experience in mind I recently asked for her assistance in the prosecution of a defendant in Moultrie County who was charged with two counts of Attempted Murder with a firearm and Home Invasion. With her exceptional advocacy and trial skills, just one week ago we secured the conviction of Alvin Booths for these crimes. Her assistance was invaluable throughout the process, both of preparation for and the trial itself. Tammy’s qualifications and passion were highlighted at the Coalition of Neighborhood Organization’s State’s Attorney’s Candidate Forum held on February 18, 2020 at the Decatur Public Library.

     Her commitment to developing trust by building relationships in the community as well as to leading by example in the pursuit of justice were apparent as she answered questions from attendees. Her experience and character, particularly the compassion, fairness, and thoughtfulness she exemplifies in making even the toughest decisions, will bring exceptional public service to Macon County.

     It is an honor working with Tammy and she will tirelessly and successfully devote herself to ensuring justice in all cases her office would prosecute and for all victims her office would aid. With all this in mind, it is my utmost privilege to recommend Tammy Wagoner to you as the next State’s Attorney for Macon County.

Tracy Weaver, Moultrie County State’s Attorney

Board Of Education Is Disgrace To The School District, City Of Decatur

Dear Editor:

     I have always been a person who has tried to believe and see the “good” in people. I am of strong faith and have been taught to believe in being positive. There have been many times I have stood up and defended the Board of Education. There have been times I have disagreed. I have always wanted to believe that the school board has had the best interest of our students first.

     I NO LONGER see the good in our school board. I have watched every meeting for the past year and half, have listened to arguments and debates and have heard concerned community members trying to express their frustrations to the board. I believe that all that is said simply falls on deaf ears. Decatur cannot become a destination district under this board’s leadership. Because of the continued actions they take, they will see more and more teacher assistants resign because ultimately they can make more money at a fast food restaurant.

     More teachers will resign from their positions because of the lack of support from the district and board members. Finally, this district will soon begin to suffer financially because of all the poor money making decisions they and the board have made. Replacing teacher assistants will not be easy. They will get low quality, unqualified candidates who only want a job and don’t care about kids. Replacing good teachers is not an easy process.

     Why would new teachers want to come to Decatur with its reputation being as it is? There is already a National Teacher Shortage – they can go elsewhere and have jobs where they feel supported and have less stress. This Board of Education does not care and is a disgrace to the City of Decatur and the district they are representing.

Kenneth Hawley, Concerned Community Member

Time To Fix ‘Prior Authorization’ Approval Requirements For Patients

Dear Editor:

     Charles Darwin wrote that “A man who dares to waste one hour of life has not discovered the value of life.” No one knows the truth of this better than someone struggling with a serious illness, for whom every hour of life is hard-won. But all too often, sick people seeking medical care in Illinois must endure delays and denials.

     The culprit? Prior authorization approval requirements imposed by their health insurance plans. Prior authorization means that health professionals must jump through extra hoops to get permission from payers to provide the care they believe their patients need. This used to be a process that was used to prevent over-utilization of unnecessary testing. It’s now not functioning that way. It’s now become a cost management tool used by the insurance industry to reduce their cost or delay the payments they know they will eventually have to make. We doctors are used to complexity and no strangers to paperwork, but any physician will tell you that prior authorization is one of the most frustrating parts of practicing medicine these days.

     A 2019 survey of more than 1,000 physicians conducted by the Illinois State Medical Society confirms this; nearly every respondent described a cumbersome, confusing, time-consuming, expensive process that lacks transparency. More importantly, 95% of Illinois doctors reported that prior authorization harms their patients. Delaying medical care can allow diseases to progress, resulting in worse outcomes and making patients suffer unnecessarily.

     Our patients should be spending their time fighting their illnesses and living their lives, not waiting to find out whether their health insurance plan will allow them to do so. Illinois physicians understand that your care can’t wait – and it’s time insurance companies understood this too. Common-sense reforms are needed to bring transparency, fairness and simplicity to prior authorization policies. Together, we can fix prior authorization and make it work for our patients, friends, and neighbors. It’s about time.

Paul E. Pedersen, MD President, Illinois State Medical Society Bloomington, IL

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