Greiner the right person for job

I have known Gary Greiner since our days at Woodrow Wilson Jr. High. Knowing someone for almost a lifetime, presents me with a vantage point not available to all. Since returning to live in Terre Haute three years ago, I have seen firsthand that my friend from years earlier has built and operates a successful local business and he cares deeply for this community.

In addition to owning a successful business, Gary’s involvement on numerous local boards is testimony to his commitment to improving our hometown. Gary is very generous in his support of many of our local charities. He wants the best for Vigo County and does not hesitate to step up in providing his time, resources and financial support for the benefit of so many others.

I have experienced Gary’s professionalism firsthand when my aunt passed away. I was extremely impressed with his professionalism, compassion for my family, their circumstances and their needs.

Professionalism, leadership, responsibility and compassion are the traits of success and characteristics we need in our coroner. Without question, Gary has proven he possesses these qualities. I am certain Gary will surpass the level of excellence that is expected of the Vigo County Coroner’s Office. He is the right person for this position. Gary Greiner has my vote. He deserves yours.

— Paul Shike, Terre Haute

Hoosiers still need physical therapy

At a time when older Americans are facing the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is pushing through policies that will make it harder for the more than 1.2 million Hoosiers on Medicare to access the physical therapy they need to recover from serious illness or injury.

Since the start of this public health emergency, COVID-19 has caused millions of patients to delay or cancel clinically necessary health care procedures — including knee and hip replacements, pacemaker implantations, ACL reconstruction, and even cancer treatments. In the absence of these procedures, seniors’ health may deteriorate, leading to more pain and worse outcomes. 

In west-central Indiana, which has a larger population of people over the age of 65 than the national average, the results can be devastating. I have heard from providers that there has been a rise in the number of calls seniors have made requesting powerful painkillers, while elderly patients could find themselves at a higher risk of falling, which causes 2.8 million injuries and more than 800,000 hospitalizations every single year in the U.S.

After the COVID-19 crisis reaches its peak, physical therapy should be well-placed to deal with the downstream health effects of treatment delays and postponed medical procedures. Unfortunately, the federal government has chosen to impose a new round of severe payment cuts on physical and occupational therapists. Under Medicare’s latest payment rules for 2021, which were finalized late last year despite loud opposition from patients and providers, a wide array of health care specialists will be subject to steep reimbursement reductions for care provided to every senior they serve.

For therapy providers like me, being forced to absorb a massive 8% cut at a time when more Hoosiers need help recovering from serious illness or injury is disheartening, to say the least. This latest salvo comes after a decade of harmful cuts including a 2011 multiple procedure payment reduction policy cut, which was deepened further in 2013, as well as a pay cut for two common procedural codes in 2018. Taken together, these arbitrary cuts impose a significant burden on physical therapists and make our practices less sustainable. 

Worse yet, they disincentivize practices from treating more patients under Medicare, which in turn, harms patient access to these valuable services. At a time when America’s senior population is beleaguered by the impact of COVID-19, Medicare’s reimbursement cuts represent a misguided leap in the wrong direction.

Every day, we work to heal and strengthen our patients and dream of delivering care to all those who may not be able to access it now due to fears of contracting COVID-19 and necessary stay-at-home policies. But how can we consider expanding care to even more patients throughout the state if Medicare policies are essentially forcing us to consider closing our doors?

Physical and occupational therapists want to do more to help older Americans, but we need help. I urge Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana) and all our federal lawmakers to support the inclusion of specialty provider relief in the next COVID-19 relief legislative package. Doing so would protect therapists from devastating cuts on Jan. 1, 2021.

After we emerge from the other side of this deadly pandemic, specialty providers will play a critical role in addressing countless downstream medical needs. It will be incumbent on our leaders in Washington to ensure these providers are able to keep their doors open, remain financially secure and continue providing care to vulnerable patients who need it.

— Ashim Bakshi, MHS, OTR, CHT, Partner & Clinic Director

The Hand and Orthopedic Rehab Clinic

Sheehan brings great experience

I would like to write in favor of Matthew Sheehan for Superior Court Judge. As a practicing attorney for 47 years, I have had the opportunity to practice in front of many, many judges, hundreds of times. When Terre Haute City Court experienced a vacancy two years ago, Indiana Gov. Holcomb reached across the aisle to appoint Matthew Sheehan to fill the vacancy of the departing judge. 

Gov. Holcomb made the appointment of an attorney from an opposing political party based on opinions he received from other judges and political leaders. Think about the significance of that. It speaks highly of Matthew Sheehan, his credentials, and the respect in which those in the legal community hold him.

Matt comes from a large Sheehan family who have resided in Terre Haute for many decades. While practicing law before he became judge, he gained much needed experience in all facets of the law: deputy prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, civil attorney, and family law attorney. These are the very types of cases he will be handling. As the former elected Vigo County prosecutor, I know firsthand how imperative this type of experience is to the presiding judge on the bench, and Matthew Sheehan meets all of these standards with his vast and diverse experience.

He has earned the endorsement of the Terre Haute Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 85, and was named the 2020 Public Official of the Year by the Wabash Valley Recovery Alliance. These accolades were earned, not given, because he is extremely worthy of them and is a fair and knowledgeable judge in City Court which will translate to how he conducts and runs Superior Court Division 5.

I highly recommend Matt Sheehan for Vigo County Superior Judge.

— Eric M. Abel, Abel, Sheehan, Reed

Terre Haute

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