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Letter: Yes to tax-return checkoff for Alzheimer's

Reader letters to Newsday for Monday, Sept. 16, 2019

A portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income

A portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form for 2018 is displayed on July 24, 2018, in New York. Photo Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan

We want to thank Newsday’s editorial board for “Sensible effort on Alzheimer’s” [Sept. 3].

More funding and research into a cure for this devastating and increasingly prevalent disease is of great importance. While it may be helpful to check off a box on tax returns, as former State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, the president of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, advocates, may we also suggest that Long Islanders can help their neighbors receive direct, critical support through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation in Westbury and the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center in Bay Shore.

We offer services to help families cope with daily challenges. Support groups, respite programs, educational outreach and referrals are among our resources.

We certainly would welcome another source of financial assistance if Washington enacts a tax-return checkoff for Alzheimer’s. Still, our funding largely depends on government grants and corporate and individual donations. That is what we count on so our family, friends and neighbors can count on us.

Victoria Cohen and Robin Marks

Editor’s note: The writers are executive directors of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation and of the Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center, respectively.

Hospitals focusing on doctor burnout

Clinician burnout is a real and complex phenomenon with multiple drivers, including the inherent stress of caring for ill patients, stigmas associated with providers seeking mental health treatment, and cumulative administrative burdens resulting from myriad regulatory and insurer requirements [“Doctors and depression,” Business, Sept. 8]. While electronic medical records were introduced to alleviate these burdens, in some ways they have only increased them.

The Greater New York Hospital Association is committed to educating member hospitals and health systems about the extent, causes and consequences of burnout. We have highlighted emerging and best practices to increase clinician resiliency and self-care, and approaches to address institutional contributors to burnout.

Groups including the National Academy of Medicine, the Federation of State Medical Boards, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education are working to understand and address this phenomenon. This complicated issue demands a multifaceted solution. We applaud our member hospitals for tackling it head-on.

Kenneth E. Raske,


Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, an industry advocacy group.

Don’t divert military funds for border wall

A reader suggests that no “patriotic citizen would object” to President Donald Trump’s diversion of funds in the Pentagon budget to build the wall at the Southern border. [“Building the wall is national defense,” Letters, Sept. 9]. I am one who does object.

News organizations report that 127 military construction projects on bases here and overseas have been marked to lose funds. Construction will be canceled or at best postponed.

Military schools, including West Point, as well as housing at various bases, will lose needed money.

Trump’s promise that Mexico will pay for the wall hasn’t been fulfilled; the military and taxpayers will pay.

Perhaps most important, Congress is usurped. Its role as appropriator of funding and as a check and balance is being undermined.

Patriotism demands we do not shortchange our service members. Name the wall whatever. Fund it with congressional approval and oversight, and do not snub those who stand in harm’s way to protect us.

Hank Cierski,

  Port Jefferson Station

With all the problems this country faces with health care, infrastructure, gun violence, opioid addiction, etc., President Donald Trump decides to divert funds allocated to the military to build a small part of the border wall. This wall might stop a small number of migrants, but it will do little to stop illegal drugs and the many other migrants who enter the country through regulated points of entry.

I agree that the military budget is too big, but the excess funds could be used for many more meaningful projects.

Carl Borruso,

  Valley Stream

Wise move to ban balloon releases

The Humane Society of the United States applauds Suffolk County Legislators Sarah Anker and Tom Muratore for their efforts to prohibit dangerous and environmentally unsound intentional balloon releases in the county.

Helium balloons, commonly made of latex or mylar, pose a serious threat when released into the air to return as litter. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, “Birds, turtles and other animals commonly mistake balloons for food, which can harm or even kill them.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also warns against the practice.

Suffolk County’s world-renowned beaches deserve the greatest standards of protection. The same is true for New York’s wildlife.

The county legislature has taken a leadership role by passing a bill to ban balloon releases. The signature of the county executive is needed to keep the momentum going, and we hope he will do his part in supporting this important animal protection and conservation bill.

Brian Shapiro,


Editor’s note: The writer is New York State director of the Humane Society of the United States.


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