JUNE 30, 1961
NEW YORK—Presently before the Congress are bills concerning community health services—one introduced in the House by Rep. Oren Harris (D., Ark.), on which hearings already have been held, and one sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Lister Hill (D., Ala.), on which it is not yet known if there will be hearings—and this proposed legislation is deserving of everyone's interest.
The House bill deals with the organization and provision of health services for the aged and chronically ill—particularly outside the hospital, in the community—including homemaker services, home nursing, information and referral services, improved nursing home services, and outpatient department service.
The bill would amend the Public Health Service Act to remove the ceiling on federal health grants to states and to provide Federal funds for research and demonstrations in these fields in order to spur localities to do research and test out improved methods of dealing with chronic illnesses.
All of us who have an interest in improved health service should write to our representatives urging them to consider these bills and, if they approve of them, to back them. Certainly something along these lines needs to be done in many communities, and nothing will be done unless the people tell their representatives that they are really interested in making health services available for the aged in their homes. Such federal legislation would save money for communities and surely make the aged happier if they did not have to be taken away from their homes and still obtain vital medical care.
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I have just received word about a man who operates a language service bureau in Cleveland, Ohio, who may have been dealt an injustice and perhaps his case should be looked into by the Judiciary Committee of the Senate.
I have no firsthand knowledge of this gentleman, who has run this translation service for four years, but reports reaching me tell about a story in the local press that has done him considerable harm. Without him having been informed of an investigation or having a chance to answer questions, the story told of his past and present work, apparently in a derogatory manner.
It may be that what has happened to the man was right, but such cases have been multiplying so rapidly of late that, it seems to me, they are deserving of investigation by the proper body in the U.S. Senate.
I have forwarded the information sent to me to the head of the Judiciary Committee, and I hope that this is what any citizen would do under circumstances they themselves can neither verify nor investigate.
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There has been considerable feeling among the artists in and around the Greenwich Village area of New York City because lofts used as residences and studios have been cited as unsafe by the fire department because they violate health codes or fire codes.
Of course, this is the right thing for the fire department to do, for it cannot downgrade its standards of safety for a comparatively few—perhaps 100 or 125 families and individuals—nor can it permit people to continue to live under conditions that could invite tragedies. But I do hope the housing authority will help these people to find suitable quarters or to meet the demands of the health and fire departments.