The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 15, 2001 · Page 2
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 2

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, April 15, 2001
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Page 2
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A2 SUNDAY. APRIL 15, 2001 THE SALINA JOURNAL Crew / Bush stays out of picture FROM PAGE A2 , "He thought it was really silly,", Sandy Cecka said. "But it was really important to me that if there was ever a situation, we'd have that in place." When Cecka's parents emailed their son while he was being held last week on Hainan island, they asked if he was near any pomegranates. Cecka, 28, said the island only had mangoes and papayas. "That told me he was OK and he still had his good sense of humor," Cecka said. The Ceckas were among more than 7,000 people who gathered at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Saturday to welcome home the Americans forced to land on Hainan Island after their collision with a Chinese jet fighter. When Cecka returned, he hugged his wife then held his 4- month-old son to coo at him. Red, white and blue balloons and a 40-by-60-foot American flag decorated the hangar. Throughout the neighboring city of Oak Harbor, flags and "Welcome Home" signs were posted among yellow ribbons. The crowd waved small American flags outside the hangar. Jeremy Helmstadter said he was one of the first in line to get into the base Saturday "just to show my support and to show everybody we miss them and we needed them back." President Bush decided against attending the homecoming, White House press sec- "What's important is that everyone come home without a lot of hoop-de-la" Arl Fleischer White House press secretary retary Ari Fleischer said Friday The president "does not believe that politicians need to always insert themselves into tender moments," he said. "What's important is that everyone come home without a lot of hoop-de-la," Fleischer told reporters in Crawford, Texas. After the official welcome, the crew members will have up to a month of time off, said Capt. Bill Marriott, commander of Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10 at Whidbey Navy officials want to make sure the crew is mentally ready to handle a return to duty, he said. The crew's ordeal began April 1 when their EP-3E Navy surveillance plane was crippled in a collision with a Chinese fighter jet and made an emergency landing on China's Hainan island. The Chinese fighter and its pilot were lost. The crew was held for 11 days until the diplomatic stalemate ended with the words "very sorry" from U.S. officials. U.S. officials say it was an expression of regret, not an apology as Chinese officials have characterized it. Health / Five insurance networks FROM PAGE A1 "The losers are all the Saline County residents, because as long as there's competition, there's going to be competitive rates in Saline County," Van Milligen said. "When WPPA becomes a nonoption. Blue Cross Blue Shield (Salina's largest health insurance provider) will notice there's a void." Salina Regional Health Center, gets payments from five -health insurance networks. •WPFA and Preferred Health •Care are the second- and third- leading health insurance :pfoviders. Last year, Preferred Health and WPPA each spent about $6.2 million with the hos- ipital while Blue Cross Blue •Shield spent more than $26 mil- Uon. '• -Health insurance coverage ; varies dramatically for patients covered under WPPA, so the effect of higher costs will vary However, it will mean higher deductibles (costs patients are responsible for before insurance begins to pay). Also, the patient will be responsible for a Higher percentage of the total bill for care at Salina Regional Health Center. . Salina doctors who have a contract with WPPA will not be affected by the lack of a contract with the hospital. Van Milligen said the problem wasn't because the hospital's medical costs were high. Rather, the rate of increase soared compared to other hospitals. He said WPPA first approached Salina Regional Health Center about the sharp increases in September 2000. : Eight percent is an ideal growth "We certainly want to do whatever we can to make sure patients who have coverage with WPPA don't get harmed by this." Rick Hertzenberg vice president of business development, Salina Regional Health Center rate over two years, he said. Salina Regional quintupled that. Hertzenberg said the hospital's board of directors had approved a 9 percent increase over that two-year period, but the unexpected number of high-cost cases and complicated cases as well as an increase in the total cases sent the rate up 40 percent. "WPPA in 2000 had a bad year. They had a lot of sick patients that they had to reimburse us for, and as a result they paid us a lot more money than they had before," Hertzenberg said. "Next year, they could have patients who are well. They wouldn't be complaining then. If you looked at other networks, their rate of growth would be less than that." Van Milligen accused Salina Regional of taking advantage of health insurance networks to boost profits for building projects and new services. "Salina wants to build a new facility for a cancer center^" Van Milligen said. "The way to get money for things like that is to raise prices. That's just business. I don't care if they do it; I just care how much my groups are paying and how fast that is growing." Hertzenberg said WPPA's de­ mands have been unrealistic. "When you have someone unreasonable about discount levels and you give in to them, all the other (networks) are going to want it, too," Hertzenberg said. "If you cave in, you could lose your profit margin overnight." Blue Cross Blue Shield pays lower rates than WPPA. Hertzenberg said WPPA, because it has fewer patients, shouldn't expect nearly the same rates. Both Hertzenberg and Van Milligen said their concern now is patients who may be caught without a net. While he wouldn't release Salina numbers. Van Milligen said Salina is the company's second-largest service area. Wichita is its largest. The WPPA network provides coverage for 28 insurance companies with more than 1,000 employers and about 250 self- insured employers. There also are 16,000 individuals who buy coverage. ' "We certainly want to do whatever we can to make sure patients who have coverage with WPPA don't get harmed by this," Hertzenberg said. Van Milligen said the nonre- newed contract has employers searching for options which in- Water /1,200 streams affected FROM PAGE A1 "With these recommendations to guide us, I believe we may achieve balance among interested stakeholders — including agriculture, communities, business and our environment," Graves said. At issue were about 1,200 streams the state said weren't meant for swimming and didn't have to meet standards to make them safe for it. Some are dry for at least part of the year The EPA said last year the state couldn't justify how it designated those streams and, absent detailed state reports, they should be clean enough for boating and swimming. The new law will impose different standards for different streams — and exempt low- flowing streams and dry stream beds from regulation. Agricultural groups said without those changes, landowners would have to fence off streams that carry little or no water. Tyson and Benjamin noted the EPA will review the new state law and make its own decision on whether it follows the Clean Water Act. Supporters of the legislation believed its enactment would BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ADULT NOVELTIES VIDEOS • LOTIONS • MAGAZINES U am - 9 pm Mon. • Sal • 1 pm • 5 pen Sun. 1901 W. Gnuid • SJin. • (785) 823-1339 not conflict with the federal law, and Graves said in his message it exercises power granted the state under the Clean Water Act. Portions conflict with law But Benjamin disagreed, saying portions of the bill, such as the provision exempting low- flowing streams, conflict with the federal law. "This would be environmental policy in Kansas, of the polluters, by the polluters and for the polluters — and the rest of the people of Kansas be damned," Benjamin said. He added: "The major polluters of the state's waters — that is agriculture — will continue to get away with it." But Tyson, a rancher, said Benjamin and other environmentalists don't understand what farmers and ranchers do to "keep this environment together." "We have kids and grandkids too, and we'd like them to be able to go wade in the creek," Tyson said. m * 1 30 is ONLY Half way to middle age* Happy Birthday Mom & Casey Stay curious. PUBLIC TELEVISION Vjfi' Public television for central and western Kansas WWW.ShptV.OIg YEN CUING Chinese Restsauxant DELIVERY 823-1685 Open 7 diy> a wttk Dine In & Carryout 540 S. Broadway « 823-2089 ^823-7512 Custom Design & Jewelry Repair Est. 1884 W € L C RS Fine Credit Jewelers It's the little things that matter. 123 N. Santa Fe / 825-0531 elude leaving the network and joining another; creating an individual contract with the hospital; or joining a wraparound network that allows employers to seek care at nonnetwork hospitals, such as Salina Regional Health Center. There is a fourth option, Hertzenberg said. He proposed it Friday in an e-mail to Van Milligen. The proposal would allow WPPA groups to pay the hospital at the same rate, and the hospital would cover the difference between out-of-network costs and in-network benefits. It would be a short-term solution and would continue only through the end of the contract for each individual group. If a group decides to renew with WPPA, the hospital would not continue to pay the difference of out-of-network costs vs. in-network benefits. Van Milligen said without a different contract, his groups may have decided to find new providers anyway "Our decision is based on the fact that if the cost kept going up, tliere would be no life there anyway," he said. Cher Richards, human resources director at busmaker EIDorado National, 304 E. Avenue B, which has 300 employees, said her company is exploring options but plans on staying with WPPA. "It's creating some work for us," she said, declining to comment further. • Reporter Kara Rhodes can be reached at 823-6464, Ext. 167. or by e-mail at sjkrhodes@sal journal.com. PEN1M 23201'Iiina Galwy Coitoi 827-2497 ' Whcce The }iin N wet Sets" WHstband 7 p.m. -11 p.m. $10.00 FamTlyFun Unlimited Play* *Doei not Include arcade GOLF buy one get one FREE ThrougiT Memorial Day Gift Certificates Available .Ilk- • VK'^-SJlV-iMli)!) Perms • Colors • Shaxnpoo Sets • Cuts • Sculptured Nails Comecllng communl^es mtih tnfarmatloh • (USPS4f , Published seven days aweek, 385 daysla year at333 S. F^Hh,' RGJ B<»<i74d ,'Sallna,.KS 67402, by'Salina Jdurrfal'lnc. ..'k Peri^ioal postage paid at SdltrtiKS , . ?; ••• ;;:l=H3slrnaster, send ehanges'of address to:-; ^'Wl'-v The Salina Journal, P.O. Box 740, Salina KS 67402-07id':iM J T(A»Bmx, e(fltor&publisher, tbBlieialJDumtcom'^h^ -,<, . DEPABTMEWrS •• • ADVERTISING: KiM NonwooD • NEWS:S COTT S EIRER ; S; :: dlreclor, knomoodesallournBl.com execuevB editor, eseli^r&aUll^malmm • BUSINESS; J AOKI R VBA, manager, • PRjODUdTION: D AVI B ArKiNsoN ryba@saljournal.com ' mnagar, aatklnsoeimjoumaleom •CIRCULATION: D AVID G RAHAM " director, graliam&saljournal.com 823-6863 Salina 1-800-827^6868 Kansas-- SUBSCBIPTIOiyS E-mall: ajcirc@aaljournal.coin •• NO PAPER?: If your paper doesn't anlve by 6:30 a.m. weekdays or 7 a.m. weekends and holidays, call the number above. In Salina, If you call by 11 a.m., yourpaper will be delivered thai day Out-of-town subscribers will receive missed papers the following day • CIRCUUTION DEPARTMENT HOURS: Open at 5:30 a.m. dally Closes at 5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. on weekends, 11 a.m. on holidays. • CARRIER RATES: $15.00 plus tax : for one month, $42.19 plus tax for three months. ,j.: : • RATES BY l«OTOR ROUTE: • $15.94 plus tax for one month, $47.82 plus tax for three months. ; • RATES BV WiL (ihree months): In Kansas, $45.58 plus tax fordally paper, $37.12 plus tax for liflonday through Saturday, $36,06 plus tax for Monday through Friday and $20,21 plus tax for' Sunday,: Outside Kansas, $54.75 for dally paper, $44.25 for Monday through Saturday, $49.50 for Monday through Friday • and $25.95 for Sunday . v FAX l\IUMBEBS AU. DEPARTMEhirS 823^7 NEWS DEBWrnVIENT 827-6363 SPORTS 827-6060 E. Crawford Street Bistro & Cafe Easter Buffet 10:30-2:00 Reservations Accepted! Customized Catering! 1200 E. 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