Letter: Readers' to-do list for Albany

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As an eye doctor, I know that New York can improve eye care for patients by allowing optometrists to write prescriptions for medications taken by mouth. There is a bill in the State Legislature with bipartisan support that would make this possible.

In 48 other states, optometrists can prescribe oral medicines. In New York, we are allowed to prescribe topical medications, yet we cannot write a prescription for the oral version of the exact same medicine.

As the only optometrist in my office who works on Saturdays, I often must refer patients back to their primary care doctor or the emergency room for oral medications. This is inconvenient and expensive for the patient.

Optometrists are well-qualified to write prescriptions, as pharmacology is required as part of our four-year post graduate degree. Experience in nearly every other state in the nation has proven this change will result in better patient care.

Madeline Cohen, Huntington

A bill in the State Legislature that would encourage in-patient therapy for drug and alcohol abusers is desperately needed ["Don't politicize heroin fight," Editorial, June 11].

I'm retired after working for Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay. A few years ago, I met three separate individuals who were in trouble because of drug or alcohol abuse. Each of these folks needed immediate in-patient, long-term care.

In spite of efforts by elected officials, only one person received in-patient therapy, and that was for just 15 days. Within three months, all three were dead.

This bill would require health insurance companies to have a specialist in behavioral health or substance use disorders to oversee treatment decisions.

I still hear today that insurance companies are denying critically necessary care to drug and alcohol abusers. I pray there will be no more dead victims of this practice.

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John Budnick, Massapequa

I'm writing in support of state legislation that would establish the Long Island Water Quality Control Act ["State water quality bill for LI pushed," News, June 12]. The legislation would create vital safeguards for our groundwater, which is the sole source of drinking water for Long Island.

The Assembly bill includes specific requirements for the reduction of nitrogen and contamination stemming from pesticides, herbicides and household hazardous wastes. My organization is also pleased to see that the legislation codifies the Long Island Commission on Aquifer Protection, a bi-county commission we championed last year to address groundwater protection and to advocate for a coordinated, regional approach to groundwater management.

Keeping contaminants from reaching our precious underground water supply is not only the right thing to do for our environment, but also for our economy; treating contaminated groundwater is extremely expensive. This is the best way to ensure we can keep water rates low in the coming decades.

Jeffrey W. Szabo, Oakdale

Editor's note: The writer is the chief executive of the Suffolk County Water Authority.

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