A2 THURSDAY. OCTOBER 31, 1996 NEWS & EVENTS THE SALINA JOURNAL A Look Ahead 81 Thursday • BINGO: Salina Charter Chapter AB- WA Bingo. 4 p.m. doors open, 7 p.m. bingo. Jack Pat Bingo, 411 E. Walnut. 8252210. • BINGO: AMBUC Emporium Bingo, sponsored by SCARC. 5 p.m. doors open, 7 p.m. bingo. 155 N. Seventh. 823-2229. • CONVOCATION: Student Political Debate with Presidential Scholars. 11 a.m., Sams Chapel, Kansas Wesleyan University. 827-5541. • HAUNTED HOUSE: "Fright Night In Terror Town" sponsored by Redeemer Lutheran Church Youth Group. 7-11 p.m., 743 E. Magnolia. $2, 5 and under free. 826-9286. • MUSIC: Open mike, with Tom Cannon. 7:30 p.m., The Coffee .Gallery, 104 S. Fifth, 823-5093. • PARTY: Trick-or-Treat Alternative Party. 5-8 p.m., Salvation Army, 1137 N. Santa Fe. One bag of candy admittance. 823-2251. • ABILENE: Theater, "My Sister in This House," Great Plains Theatre Festival. 8 p.m., Tietjens Center for the Performing Arts, 300 N. Mulberry. $13. 263-4574. • LINDSBORG: Theater, "The Primary English Class" and "Black Comedy," two one-acts. 7:30 p.m., Burnett Center, Bethany College. $5, $3. 227-3311. T MEDICARE HMO rulings can be appealed Judge rules Medicare users entitled to hearing on denial of services By ROBERT PEAR The New York Times 1 Friday • DANCE: Square dance, Salina Twirters Square Dance Club. 7:30 p.m., American Legion, 142 S. Seventh. 8255811. • THEATER: The Boys Next Door." 8 p.m., Salina Community Theatre, 303 E. Iron. $10, $5. 827-3033. • THEATER: "Medea." 8 p.m., Fitzpatrick Auditorium, Kansas Wesleyan University. $4. 827-5541. • ABILENE: Theater, "My Sister in This House," Great Plains Theatre Festival. 8 p.m., Tietjens Center for the Performing Arts, 300 N. Mulberry. $13. 263-4574. • LINDSBORG: Theater, The Primary English Class" and "Black Comedy," two one-acts. 7:30 p.m., Burnett Center, Bethany College. $5, $3.227-3311. Listing Events Items for the Calendar of Events should be sent at least two weeks in advance to: Calendar of Events, The Salina Journal, P.O. Box 740, Salina 67402. Be sure to Include name, address and telephone number. Information Call COMMUNITY line I WASHINGTON — In a major victory for consumers, a federal judge has expanded the rights of Medicare patients in health maintenance organizations, saying they are entitled to immediate hearings whenever they are denied medical services. The judge, Alfredo Marquez of the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Ariz., rejected the government's argument that it was not legally responsible for the actions of HMOs that have federal contracts to care for Medicare patients. Four million of the 38 million Medicare beneficiaries are in HMOs, and the number is rapidly growing. Republicans and Democrats alike look to such health plans as a way to control Medicare costs. The decision may contribute to this trend, assuring elderly people that they can join HMOs without losing the rights available to patients in the traditional Medicare program. Marquez said that when HMOs denied services to Medicare patients, they were acting for the government, so their decisions amounted to government action. Therefore, beneficiaries were entitled to "due process of law," including full notice of adverse decisions and a meaningful opportunity to challenge the denial of care. The Clinton administration and the HMO industry had argued that HMOs serving Medicare patients were private entities and the federal government should not be held responsible for their decisions. "The decisions of the HMOs are not government action," the secretary of health and human services, Donna Shalala, asserted in court papers. "Such medical decisions are not made by government officials, and the government has neither a role nor an interest in the decisions made by any HMO." The Justice Department said Medicare patients in HMOs had far more rights and. protections than non-Medicare patients in the same HMOs. In addition, it said, no court has the power to second- guess the secretary's decisions about whether to take enforce- ment action against an HMO. Darrel Grinstead, chief counsel of the Federal Health Care Financing Administration, which runs Medicare, declined to comment on Wednesday's decision. Other federal officials refused to say whether the government would appeal.' Marquez ruled that "HMO denials of Medicare services are state action" because "the government pays for covered services" and regulates the activities of HMOs serving Medicare patients. So, he said, beneficiaries are entitled to due process of law. Medicaid officials in New York and many other states are prodding low-income people to join HMOs. While Medicaid was not mentioned <>* Salina Jourftal Published seven days a week, 365 days a year at 333 S. Fourth, P.O. Box 740, Salina, Kan. 67402, by Salina Journal Inc. HARRIS RAYL, publisher"' DEPARTMENTS • ADVERTISING: JEANNY SHARP, director • BUSINESS: DAVID MARTIN, manager • CIRCULATION: BRYAN SANDMEIER, manager • NEWS: SCOTT SEIRER, executive editor • PRODUCTION: DAVID ATKINSON, manager 823-6363 Salina 1-800-827-6363 Kansas SUBSCRIPTIONS EXTENSION 350 • NO PAPER?: If your paper doesn't arrive by 6:30 a.m. weekdays or 7 a.m. weekends and holidays, call your carrier or the number above. In Salina, If you call by 10 a.m., your paper will be delivered that day. Out-of-town subscribers will receive missed papers the following day. In Stock Custom Frames Save 25% I2t S. ZS7-9SOO For these items, use the following category codes: • Salina and regional arts / 2787 • Public schools / 8050 • .Local churches / 7729 • Kansas Wesleyan Info Line / 5984 Smoky Valley I! 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