Health
Thursday, September 14, 2006
 
Many, but not all, people are good at paying bills
By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Everyone has bills. Some people are better than others at paying their bills. Some people do not pay their bills. This is a problem in medicine. There are not many businesses that will provide services free of charge. That is true for commercial businesses. That is true for repairmen. However in medicine, charity care is common. There are people who cannot pay their bills. Physicians and hospitals treat those patients for free. There are other people who can pay their bills. However, they refuse to do so. Physicians and hospitals treat those patients for free as well. Physicians and hospitals have the same expenses whether a patient pays for the services or does not pay for the services. When proper charges for care are not collected, those expenses still have to be paid. There are only two ways for that to happen. One of those ways is to be forced to charge paying patients a higher rate to make up for those who cannot or will not pay. The other is to not provide additional services because of the additional expense. In either case the ones who suffer are the patients who have insurance or pay their own bills. For example in community hospitals, unpaid care amounts to millions of dollars per year. Those millions of dollars represent funds that could be used to provide additional services to everyone in the community. Therefore, the hospital is forced to make a choice as to what it can afford to provide. The result is that everyone in the community will do without those services. Thus, it is important for all of us that patients pay their bills. They are not just depriving themselves of services. They are depriving those around them of the same services. There are many ways that we are interconnected with each other. This is a medical example of that connection.

Dr. Anthony Policastro is medical director at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.

Bike-a-thon Riders needed for St. Jude's Bike-a-thon
Ron Breeding is calling on Seaford residents to join the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital Wheels For Life Bike-a thon slated for Sunday, Oct. 8, at 2 p.m. at West Seaford Elementary School. Volunteer workers and riders are needed for this Bike-a-thon to raise funds for the world famous research center in its battle against childhood cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. "We're looking for riders and helpers who will contribute their time and talent to help children live. We really need lots of riders, since they are the ones who can make this bike-a-thon successful," Breeding said. In the Wheels For Life Bike-a-thon, riders ask sponsors to make donations based on each mile completed. All riders turning in money will receive a certificate. Those who raise $35 will receive a certificate and a special St. Jude T-shirt. When $75 is raised, the rider receives a backpack as well as the certificate and the T-shirt. Also plans are being made to give a $100 savings bond to the top fund-raiser plus great gifts will be given to the boy or girl in each of the following age groups who collect the most money. The age groups are: high school and above, fourth grade through eighth and third and below. The Seaford Kiwanis Club hosts the event by providing refreshments. This is a great family project that provides everyone with a "feel good feeling." Entry forms are available at all school offices, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and City Hall. Anyone wishing to provide a prize, sponsor a rider, or participate in the ride should call Ron Breeding at 629-3964.

Memory Walk
The Alzhemier's Association, Delaware Valley Chapter, will be hosting the 2006 Memory Walk on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Rehoboth Beach. The walk will begin at 10 a.m. from Grove Park, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. To support the Memory Walk 2006 register online at www.alz-delawarevalley.org, or for more information contact the local office in Georgetown at (302) 854-9788.

Free DNA paternity testing
During the week of Sept. 18-22, the Division of Child Support Enforcement will offer Free DNA/Paternity testing in our New Castle, Kent and Sussex County offices. LabCorp will be on-site to perform the free testing using a swab to collect DNA from the inner cheek of each person being tested. Before coming to the office, the mother and father must talk and agree to show up along with the child for testing. If everyone cannot come at the same time for testing, arrangements can be made during the week by contacting one of our offices. In Sussex County, visit the Georgetown office at 9 Academy Street, 856-5386. Free Testing Dates: Monday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m.-noon;
Tuesday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-noon;
Wednesday, Sept. 20, 4:30-7 p.m.;
Thursday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m.-noon;
Friday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m.-noon.
Additionally, for parents who do not want paternity testing, DCSE offers a Voluntary Acknowledgment Program. Find out if this program is right for you.