bursement for oxygen equipment, but it
overpaying for oxygen. But that’s the world
“I am very familiar with the value and
, pg. 5
believes that any significant decrease in the
we live in now.’”
improved quality of life that homecare pro-
current 36 month rental period or reimburse-
It is, therefore, not surprising that in
vides to Medicare recipients and believe that
Social Security recipients, generally catego-
ment rate will have a substantial and materi-
when the Bush
no homebound Medicare beneficiary should
rized as “middle class.” They represent about
al negative financial impact to the
Administration decided to gut the oxygen
have to worry about servicing and maintain-
50 percent of oxygen users in Centre County.
Company,” American HomePatient told the
program, House Democrats let Bush’s sup-
ing their own oxygen equipment,” he told
Medicare payment policy for oxygen, which
SEC in 2008. “Additionally, management
porters get away with calling a vote at 5:04
. “There has been the misconception
constitutes less than one percent of the
believes that a drastic reduction in reim-
a.m., just before Christmas. Nor is it surpris-
that providers of DME are all after a quick
Medicare budget, serves as a yardstick for
bursement for oxygen equipment would
ing that last month one influential
buck and look to defraud Medicare routinely.
insurance industry reimbursement rates and
limit access to life-sustaining oxygen
Washington Medicare policymaker whis-
This is completely untrue. While there has
the state’s insurance for the poor, Medicaid.
required by numerous Medicare beneficiar-
pered over the phone to a
been fraud identified by CMS, they have
Cost-cutting efforts in oxygen also extend
can’t talk about that. Oxygen is too hot to
quickly increased oversight to identify these
to other durable medical equipment, such as
That prediction appears to be coming true
cases and make sure that fraud can be pre-
walkers, canes, wheelchairs, and power
for local suppliers. Each is suffering severe
If T&B; goes under because oxygen reim-
vented in the future. It’s a shame that hard
chairs, which Centre County suppliers sell.
financial setbacks, service is slowly declin-
bursements have been cut and subject to
working men and women in many of these
Congress and regulators say their efforts
ing and the threat of massive out-of-town
delays, State College will also lose its only
small businesses have been affected by this
reduce well-documented instances of fraud
medical providers offering critical services
mobility device (scooter) repair facility.
and abuse. These dual efforts, local suppliers
from afar when time matters most is real.
The widow of an American HomePatient
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is also intent to
say, have been misguided and have resulted
clients who died last month spoke to the cru-
address the issue.
in curtailing patients’ legitimate needs.
The fraud and abuse claim
cial support the supplier gave her, saying the
“Sen. Casey is committed to working with
“Our company will suffer half a million
Medicare critics claim costs have “sky-
company “was very considerate” of her hus-
his colleagues and the new administration to
dollar in losses from federal oxygen cuts,”
rocketed” and attribute much of that to well-
create a fair Medicare oxygen payment sys-
said Dick’s Homecare’s Manager Jim Young.
documented fraud and abuse. Oxygen has an
This county needs its oxygen suppliers.
tem that allows companies to receive ade-
“We will have to be very budget conscious.”
especially bad reputation detailed in the
quate reimbursement for both equipment and
Barr at T&B; Medical echoed the concern.
Department of Health and Human Services
What federal policymakers say
services,” Kendra Barkoff, Casey’s press sec-
“We are going to have to screen every new
Inspector General reports. Additionally, the
“Looking at savings on solely a balance
. “Mom-and-pop suppliers
Medicare customer very carefully,” he said.
U.S. Government Accountability Office
sheet is not a smart government solution,”
are the most vulnerable to reimbursement
His wife Barb wondered whether their com-
reports and numerous convictions of bad
Rep. Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-Pa.) told
cuts and increased regulation and we must
pany could continue to supply oxygen to
people who have done bad things have led
“If the number of smaller home
work to ensure they have the resources to pro-
Washington lawmakers to paint all oxygen
providers of Durable Medical Equipment
vide our older citizens and other Medicare
“Maybe, we should only accept cash-pay-
suppliers with the same brush of corruption.
(DME) declines, I am concerned that more
beneficiaries with the care they need.”
ing customers and not have to spend so much
Oxygen and durable medical equipment
homecare patients will need to be hospital-
How long local suppliers can hold out and
time on the Medicare and insurance paper-
have become the focus of negative articles in
ized, due to a lack of access. Congress and
who will come out on top only time will tell.
work,” she said.
“liberal” publications as
CMS should be working to keep homebound
In the end, it’s the dire need for medical oxy-
And even the biggest player in the game
The Washington Post
The New York
Medicare recipients in their homes. The
gen that drives them to keep serving their
quality of life is better for the patient and has
“Three years ago American HomePatient
Three years ago, a staff member to
overall cost savings for Medicare,” said
Dick’s Homecare General Manager Jim
was easily positioned to gobble up Travis’
Pennsylvania’s Rep. John Murtha reportedly
Thompson, who represents Centre County in
Young sounded a lot like Jimmy Stewart in
company and mine,” Young said. In the nine
said, “Supplying oxygen is like having your
Congress. “When there is more competition
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
, when he
months ending Sept. 30, 2008, American
own ATM.” Powerful “liberal” members of
in the DME market, the costs will also
explained why he’s still doing it, often at a
HomePatient had a national net loss nearing
Congress hate oxygen with a special flame.
decline and ultimately the end user will have
(D-Calif.) who runs a critical
more choice - this is a policy direction we
“We have an obligation to serve our cus-
Major industry players have warned the
health Ways and Means subcommittee, told
should be heading in.”
tomers,” he said, “because their lives depend
Securities and Exchange Commission of the
The New York Times
, “‘It doesn’t seem sensi-
Thompson, who worked 26 years as a
impact of on-going Medicare regulations.
ble that a small industry should be able to
health care professional, said he has seen for
Joel Solkoff is the author of
The Politics of
“The Company cannot predict future reim-
manipulate the entire U.S. Congress into
himself the benefits of homecare.
State College Peace Center
The 11th Hour:
Global warming, deforestation,
species extinction, and depletion of the oceans' habitat are explored.
February 19: Don’t miss speaker Andrew Miller!
He will speak about his work as an
The story of James Carroll, a
former Catholic priest on a journey to confront his past and uncover
the roots of religiously inspired violence and war.
all events 7:30 PM, State College Municipal Building, 243 South Allen St., rm 201
Stand for PEACE in State College
at the Allen Street Gates
College Ave. and Allen Streets, Wednesday 5:00-6:00 and Saturday 1:30-2:30
Arlington, and his brother Bobby’s simple
er. I had to crack the ice to ceremoniously
Washington rode the boat across the
gravesite, nearby. They were two men who
dip my foot in. We couldn’t see the capitol
Delaware, but it was those shopkeepers and
, pg. 3
were killed trying to bring their own form
except on the giant JumboTron. Though we
farmers who fired the muskets which
antiwar and pro-war people had come to
of “hope” to our boomer generation. We
were in D.C. like most everyone else in the
brought about independence. Frederick
petition their government for redress of
also visited some family members buried at
world we watched it on television. But, it
Douglass articulated the horrors of slavery
their grievances. On this day 500,000 had
the national cemetery. Later we visited
didn’t matter; we were there. We were
but it was the thousands of slaves who resis-
come not to protest but to celebrate a sea
another shrine to our time, the Vietnam
joined by a few other locals.
ted, escaped on the Underground Railroad,
change in American history.
Memorial. Later that night about a thousand
Then came the moment that some had
and ultimately picked up weapons to bring
The We Are One concert was spectacular,
activists gathered at Dupont Circle to have a
traveled thousands of miles and stood in the
their own freedom. Lincoln orated brilliant-
wonderfully produced by George Stevens
purification ritual. We lit incense, chanted
subfreezing cold to be part of
ly at Gettysburg but it was those who fought
Jr. (who I had worked with on the Emmy
and sang songs to chase the “evil spirits”
Inauguration. Parents held their children up
and died at Gettysburg and Vicksburg and
Award-winning Separate but Equal). It was
out of the White House. A few threw shoes
to see the screen. Fathers told smiling
Shiloh who gave those words meaning.
a combination Woodstock, March on
at a large blow-up caricature of soon-to-be-
babies that they were watching history.
King’s leadership in the Montgomery boy-
Washington, Mardi Gras, and a PBS special
former President Bush.
Black and white folks beamed with pride.
cott inspired us but it was those unnamed
on the history of American leadership.
This was all a prelude to Tuesday, the day
Old people held hands sharing sacred mem-
and uncelebrated blacks in Montgomery
There were poetic and political readings,
of the Inauguration. In the morning, we
ories. It got strangely quiet. After he took
who walked to work for over a year that
opera, rock and roll, country, folk and inspi-
marched a portion of the way to the Mall car-
the oath everyone in the crowd that I could
brought about the end of segregated buses.
rational hymns. Some of my favorite
rying the Obama-Biden poster which had
see was doing several things in various
His words at the ’63 March were transfor-
moments included Tom Hanks reading
adorned the front of our house during the
combinations: laughing, crying, shouting,
mative but without the quarter of million
excerpts from Copland’s Lincoln Portrait,
campaign. We gathered a little contingent of
screaming and hugging somebody. In fact,
people there to witness, they would have
Garth Brooks and a mixed choir doing
State College/PSU supporters. At least 50
everybody seemed to be hugging every-
been as coins thrown into a empty well.
Shout and Bruce Springsteen and Pete
other people wanted to take a picture of
body. There were no strangers here; we
President Obama, also a former commu-
Seeger doing all the verses of This Land is
themselves next to the sign or of just the sign
were all part of a community
nity organizer, understands that change
Your Land. Somehow that song never
itself. There was chanting and singing along
American community. Without a doubt this
must come from the people not from the
seemed truer than at that moment. I think
the way, a pre-inaugural parade.
was the most diverse group of citizens that I
leadership. But, he also understands that
Pete and Rev. Lowery who gave the bene-
We went to our selected spot, on the right
have ever seen gathered anywhere for a sin-
without a leadership willing to listen and
diction, may have been the only ones on the
side of the reflecting pool facing the
gle event. It was also the largest. There
change with the people, the process is
stage who had been there in ’63.
Lincoln Memorial. It was where I had stuck
were 2 million people in the crowd. Police
Monday was taken up with a pilgrimage
my feet in the water during King’s speech
reported that there was not a single arrest.
“…Those of us who manage the public’s
to John F. Kennedy’s eternal flame at
back in 1963. This time it was a little cold-
“This is the meaning of our liberty and
knowledge will be held to account, to spend
our creed, why men and women and chil-
wisely, reform bad habits and do our busi-
dren of every race and every faith can join
ness in the light of day, because only then
in celebration across this magnificent mall.”
can we restore the vital trust between a peo-
As the president spoke it was clear that he
ple and their government.”
meant to continue America’s march toward
We, like the tree by the water, listened,
destiny. “This is the journey we continue
knowing that hope for a better world,
today.” He sought to transform a political
though not assured, was once again possi-
campaign into a social movement. A diffi-
ble. We had a president who promised to
cult process. Those of us old community
work for it, and,
2 million committed
organizers understand that movements
American citizens who had come to witness
come FROM the people not TO the people.
and hopefully, ready to “carry forth that
Leaders may inspire us and articulate the
great gift of freedom and deliver it safely to
need and parameters of change, but it is the
people who create the circumstances and
manifest the mechanisms for transforma-
Charles Dumas is an associate professor
tion through their commitment, struggle
at Penn State and a former community
Teamsters Local 8
is a trusted
come visit us at our new location
source of information.
2225 High Tech Road
It’s the NPR of
State College, Pa 16803
(out by the Penn State Airport)
State College Borough Council Member
going strong! Details on Pg. 11 of this issue.
Visit www.voicesweb.org to debate local issues,
post to the nonprofit/free events calendar and more.
State High class a service to community
by Maggie O’Keefe
was that accessible,” Forester said.
class opened up a whole new world of pos-
Walking through the halls of State
College Area High School there is a class-
Both of the volunteer EMTs wanted to
room door that is bare except for a blue Star
learn more about anatomy and medicine
of Life sticker. During class hours the door
after growing up curious about the subject.
remains closed and the only thing a passer-
“My really good friend worked either part
by can see is that lone sticker on the door.
time or full time for Life Link, and he took
Inside, State High’s David Hamilton is
me to the old Alpha house and showed me
teaching 16 students what that sticker repre-
the ambulances; that’s where it started with
me,” Forester explained. His friend told him
“You must remember to do a DCAP-
about Hamilton’s class and he signed up the
BTLS assessment; this should take no less
60-90 seconds in a good case.”
Phillips’ curiosity was started by Boy
Hamilton tells his class of aspiring
Scout first aid training. His curiosity contin-
Emergency Medical Technicians, or EMTs,
ues even after three years of volunteering at
during a lesson on rapid trauma assessment.
Centre Life Link.
One of State High’s accredited programs
“You gotta keep learning; everyday I’m
is the Career and Technical Program that
on an ambulance I’m learning,” Phillips
allows students to advance their studies of
said. “The potential is there to learn how to
specific academics. One section of the pro-
be an EMT, you just have to want it. Anyone
gram is Public Safety taught by Hamilton, a
could study and pass the tests, but you don’t
class instituted in
1999 after the Health
advance to become an EMT unless you
Photo by Maggie O’Keefe
Professions program was cut from lack of
have an initiative.”
State High’s David Hamilton, who teaches the EMT course, lectures to a full class of students.
Hamilton’s class appears to spark that ini-
priority job,” Hamilton said.
Pennsylvania EMS is more volunteer based
EMT programs usually get special attention
than paid," Forster added.
“I didn’t know it [becoming an EMT] was that accessible.
because we need them, bad, and I don’t
This year, after seeing the heightened
The class opened up a whole new world of possibilities
know if that is the case all across the coun-
interest in Hamilton’s classes, State High
try but it certainly is here in Pennsylvania.”
brought back the Health Professions pro-
Alums say this job is for the young and
gram, taking the anatomy and medical ter-
those with free time to give.
minology classes out of Hamilton’s hands.
“Get ‘em early!” Phillips exclaimed. “I
“I think the Public Safety program did
see most of the volunteers coming into Life
help the awareness
That year, Hamilton answered an ad in
Link are fresh out of high school or retirees
classes]. A lot of that was my teaching the
the paper for a Public Safety teacher and
Every student in his year-long EMT class
who have to the time to volunteer.”
Anatomy and Physiology class,” Hamilton
started work on making curricula for his
this year wants to either become an EMT or
“Yea, here in Centre County
EMT, CSI, Police Operations, Fire Fighting
continue into the medical field.
Investigation, and Introduction to Sports
“It’s a really good class, it’s really inter-
esting and it teaches you the basics in case
Last spring, after almost 10 years of oper-
something comes up, you’ll know what to
ation within the school walls, Hamilton cer-
do,” said Justin O’Brien, a senior at State
Save the Date!
tified his 50th EMT who like many of the
High and a current student of Hamilton’s.
others, went on to volunteer their time and
Fifty EMTs in nine years doesn’t seem
talents around the State College area.
like a lot in view of State High’s student
Voices Annual Fun! Raiser
Hamilton’s class produces an average of
body total, but Hamilton is not concerned.
eight EMTs a year. Centre Life Link EMS,
“I’ve seen an increase [in students who
Monday, March 23, 2009
Seven Mountains EMS, and Penn State
sign up] over the years,” the instructor said.
EMS also hold a yearly EMT training class
“I think it takes time to build up the pro-
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
but Hamilton’s students are all between 16
and 18 years old.
With an average of 10 students per class
India Pavilion—State College
Daniel Forester, 20, and Daniel Phillips,
in preceding years, Hamilton is over-
21, are graduates of Hamilton’s EMT class
whelmed by the recent increase in enroll-
Watch for details in the March issue of Voices
who volunteer at Centre Life Link EMS,
ment, especially since he’s seen volun-
Port Matilda EMS, Moshannon Valley
teerism decreasing in the community the
and at www.voicesweb.org
EMS, and the Port Matilda Fire Company.
last 10 years.
“I didn’t know it [becoming an EMT]
“The state says that the EMT is a high
Crisis social services guide for Centre County
It’s cold outside, and jobs are scarce. As a
Also provides safe and sanitary housing.
A nonprofit, public-interest law firm dedi-
service to readers,
has compiled the
Web site: www.co.centre.pa.us/561.asp
Housing Transitions, Inc.
cated to serving low-income residents and
following list of Centre County groups and
Offers treatment options to persons with
victims of domestic violence.
government agencies devoted to providing
mental illnesses, as well as services to those
Web site: www.housingtransitions.com
assistance to local residents in need.
with drug and alcohol abuse issues.
A nonprofit providing housing services.
Centre County Women’s Resource Center
A complete guide to Centre County non-
Centre County Prescription Discount Card
Phone: 877-234-5050 (toll-free) and 234-
profits is available at www.voicesweb.org
Web site: www.ccwrc.org
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE /FOOD /
A card available to all Centre County resi-
Provides free, confidential counseling and
dents that allows for savings on prescrip-
Provides emergency assistance so that low-
services for victims of domestic abuse or
Community Help Centre
tion drugs not covered by insurance.
income citizens can meet their basic needs.
sexual assault 24 hours a day.
24-Hour Hotline 814-237-5855 or toll free:
Centre County Victim Witness Office
HOUSING AND HEATING ASSIS-
Web site: www.communityhelpcentre.com
Center for Alternatives in Community
Offers referrals to shelters, counseling,
Centre County Basic Needs Task Force
Web site: www.co.centre.pa.us/da/vic-
transportation, food and more.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of
Web site: www.co.centre.pa.us/needs
Web site: http://www.cacj.us/
Offers information and assistance to victims
A help line for food, heating, shelter or
Works with the justice system to rehabilitate
and their family members.
transportation needs and financial assis-
offenders through community service.
Web site: www.ajdiocese.org/min/css.html
tance for heating costs.
Domestic Relations Section
Additional listings at www.voicesweb.org
Offers emergency financial assistance.
The Centre County Housing Authority
The Centre County United Way Web site
Web site: www.co.centre.pa.us/281.asp
(http://www.ccunitedway.org/), The Centre
A child service agency that establishes and
Centre County Office of Mental
Web site: www.co.centre.pa.us/815.asp
(http://www.co.centre.pa.us/) and Centre
Health/Mental Retardation-Drug and
Operates a Section
8 Rental Assistance
MidPenn Legal Services
Program that assists low-income
were invaluable in compiling this list.
families/individuals in paying their rent.
Web site: www.midpenn.org
Compiled by Justin Eisinger.
February - 7 & 8, 14 & 15
Wine & Chocolate Tasting
with delicious chocolates from
The Boalsburg Chocolate Co. and Chocolate Madness
Reservations Required - Wine & Chocolate is $2.14 per person
March Wine Trail Event
Tickets Required -
Wine Trail - $18 per person, Two for $30
7 miles east of State College, PA - 814-466-6373
Hours: Tues-Fri 1:30-5pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12:30-4pm
LGBT community’s reactions to inauguration passionate
by Delia Guzman
decidedly Christian tradition.
As was the case on election night in
religions and even “non-believers.” Further,
Reaction was swift.
November, Obama drew hearty cheers and
he stressed his commitment to breaking
The mood at Chumley’s Bar in downtown
“Overall, I would’ve preferred a secular
applause from the Chumley’s crowd, but
with the precedents established by the pre-
State College Jan.
20, Inauguration Day,
event, rather than this bracketing of events
this time he spoke for the first time as pres-
vious administration, especially with regard
was festive and optimistic as about
with prayers and benedictions,” Little said.
ident of the United States. President Obama
to diplomacy and torture.
patrons celebrated President Barack
“But I thought that it was quite tragic that it
used inclusive language during his
“I was impressed with his openness to
Obama’s swearing-in. The bar caters to a
wasn’t inclusive at all of non-Christians. It
minute inaugural address, citing various
working with other nations,” said David
local lesbian/gay/transgendered community
seemed to me like it was a concession to the
Counselman, a doctoral candidate in
that was eager to hear what the controver-
religious right, rather than a gesture of
Spanish Linguistics at Penn State. “He real-
sial evangelical preacher Rick Warren
President Obama’s promise of inclusive-
ly wants to repair our relationships with
would say during the event.
The bar opened at 11:30 a.m. for the all-
Still, some took a different view of the
After the president’s impassioned and
day event, and it was standing-room-only
president’s choice of Warren to lead the
serious speech, Rev. Joseph Lowery offered
11:45 a.m. The first vocal reaction
a benediction that ended with a humorous
offered by the crowd was a chorus of boos
“I see Barack Obama as a unifier,” said
tone that evoked both the tone of Rev.
for former president George W. Bush,
Matt Callahan, a post-doctoral researcher at
Martin Luther King, Jr., and the slang of the
including many shouts of
“Go home to
Penn State. “He is committed to bringing
1960s: “...in the joy of a new beginning, we
people of all views, ideologies and faiths
ask you to help us work for that day when
When Warren, who recently supported
together. Because of this, I was not offend-
black will not be asked to get back, when
Proposition 8 in California to ban gay mar-
ed by his choice of Rev. Rick Warren.
brown can stick around, when yellow will
riage, began his invocation, the boos
“Warren spoke of compassion, of civility
be mellow, when the red man can get ahead,
increased in both volume and tenor.
and of Americans being united by freedom
man, and when white will embrace what is
Near the end of his five-minute prayer, in
and justice,” Callahan said. “To me, this is
which he at first seemed to make attempts at
how we can begin to find some common
Many in the bar chuckled at Lowery’s
inclusiveness by saying that God
ground. Barack Obama shows true courage,
words, and one patron who preferred not to
Photo by Delia Guzman
all,” Warren invoked Jesus Christ -- albeit in
the courage to sit, converse and find com-
give his name said, “Wow, a religious guy
Stefan Little, originally from Canada, thought the
English, Spanish, Arabic, and Hebrew --
mon ground with people of wildly different
inauguration should have been secular: “The U.S.
with a sense of humor! You don’t see that
and led the audience in the Lord’s Prayer, a
opinions than his own.”
is supposed to be a secular nation, after all.”
Honda thinking in action.
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The presidential election proved what we can
“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They
accomplish when we come together to support an
are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or
in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be
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