Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 30, 2013

Make your voice heard on Medicare coverage
This March, the 146,100 Medicare beneficiaries in the Charlotte area should pay attention to their mailboxes for a chance to make their voice heard on a critical topic — their health care.
If you have Medicare coverage, you may receive the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey in the coming weeks, giving you an opportunity to rate your satisfaction with your Medicare health insurance and doctors. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) conducts this annual survey to hear directly from select beneficiaries about the quality of Medicare health plans and care providers.
Through the CAHPS survey, you can become part of our nation’s efforts to help improve our health care system. Regrettably, many of the selected don’t respond — in 2012, only 45 percent of selected Medicare beneficiaries responded to the Medicare CAHPS survey. If you are chosen to receive the survey this year, please take the time to provide your feedback before the May 29 deadline.
Both CMS and Medicare insurance providers want to make sure you are receiving the highest quality medical care from doctors you trust. The CAHPS survey is one of the tools used to help achieve this goal. Survey responses help the government and insurers identify ways to better serve beneficiaries like you and improve the quality of your health care experience.
As policymakers continue to debate Medicare issues, the CAHPS survey is an important opportunity to make your voice heard. I encourage Charlotte Medicare beneficiaries to watch for the survey in the mail and take the time to share their experiences to help improve health care quality.
— Donna Reynolds


Donna Reynolds is the regional vice president of UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement in Charlotte.

Be kind to animals

It was with much sadness that I read yet another article about an animal (a dog in this case) being abused. It was found in a trash bin with facial injuries. God bless the gentleman who took the dog for medical care to a nearby animal hospital. Named Bryson, for the location where it was found, the dog is improving.
Many stories have appeared in the newspaper about cats, dogs and other animals who have been found abused or neglected. Pets are part of our families and as such should be treated with love and care. Keeping a pet outside in extreme weather (hot or cold), not giving adequate food and water, withholding medical care and ignoring the desire for human companionship are among the most unforgivable treatments of animals/pets.
People who abuse or neglect pets/animals, children and the elderly are the lowest of the low.
— Penny Keller