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Noted and passed - Aug. 4, 2014

Posted: August 1, 2014 11:02 a.m.
Updated: August 4, 2014 5:00 a.m.

• For more than a century, KershawHealth’s underlying mission has been to provide quality healthcare to all citizens of Kershaw County regardless of socioeconomic status. In other words, at least partially, it provides charity care to those who cannot otherwise afford to pay for hospital services. Currently, KershawHealth allows people whose household income reaches 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines (FPG) to receive a 100 percent discount on their hospital bill. Those up to 300 percent FPG get a 75 percent discount; 400 percent FPG, 50 percent. KershawHealth administrators now propose cutting off any financial assistance at 133 percent FPG. Qualifying patients would receive 100 percent assistance. As Trustee Paul Napper pointed out a week ago, that could financially harm those above that 133 mark who are struggling financially. In response, KershawHealth Executive Vice President and COO/CFO Mike Bunch said the Affordable Care Act now allows more people to purchase insurance through exchanges and that those who look into them sometimes find they qualify for Medicaid. There is no doubt that KershawHealth must find a way to combat the millions of dollars in losses it is suffering. Here’s hoping KershawHealth can manage this “balancing act,” as Bunch put it, in order to continue serving all the people of Kershaw County.

• Many people decry what sometimes appears to be a lack of justice in the very courtrooms that are supposed to dispense it. Drug dealers repeatedly get out on bond, sentences in any number of cases are too short, repeat drunk drivers get slaps on the wrist. So, while it took some time to happen, it was nice to see one particular offender get his just deserts after tweaking his nose at the system. In August 2007, Jeffrey Cunningham -- charged with reckless homicide -- struck a car pulling out of a driveway, killing 32-year-old Mary Ann Sellers. The case languished for years until this past December when Cunningham was sentenced to 10 years in prison reduced to 90 days to be served on weekends and three years probation. Cunningham stopped showing up to jail or even checking in with his probation officer after 15 weekends. Wednesday, a circuit judge said enough was enough, sent Cunningham to jail for the original 10 years -- plus one for violating probation. The wheels of justice may turn slowly sometimes, but they do turn and, this time, in the right direction.

• Homelessness is a sad truth around the world, in the U.S. and right here in Kershaw County. According to a recent study conducted by the United Way of the Midlands, 37 people in Kershaw County were either homeless or living in transitional housing on Jan. 23 -- a snapshot of the issue here. United Way of Kershaw County (UWKC) officials believe the count might have actually been higher, closer to 50. Either number is too high, although the good news is that it is far lower that it had been once. Six years ago, the count was about double at 106. Considering the still sluggish economy, we are willing to bet the reduction is thanks to the UWKC’s efforts on several front. Most notable: its partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Kershaw County, New Day on Mill and its men’s shelter on Fair Street. Along with Food for the Soul, the UWKC’s work on this front is obviously paying off. Today’s front page stories are even more proof, as the non-profit celebrates the giving spirit of local industry and plans for another house it recently acquired.

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