A failure to confront racism

On July 16, Rep. Ben Cline voted against a resolution to censure President Trump for racist tweets. In other words, he voted to defend racism. That is not what Cline would tell you, of course. His website gives his official explanation: “I voted against [the resolution] because these types of political attacks distract from the serious policy issues that are facing our country.”

To Cline’s credit, he does mention several other important issues. But his statement makes two reprehensible points. First, he equates censuring a government official for racism with a political attack. Congress has a duty to exercise oversight, and neither the president’s party affiliation nor his office should serve as shields. Second, Cline’s statement indicates that he considers racism and racial inequality to be mere distractions.

In fact, they are among the oldest and most intractable problems facing American society today. It has been 400 years since the first Africans were brought to Jamestown. Cline’s vote suggests that he is unconcerned about whether racism will continue to be a problem in the year 2419. We can only pray that he has a change of heart.

KEVIN McCOY

Lynchburg

Centra billing a nightmare

Here in the greater Lynchburg area, we are blessed to have access to top-notch health care professionals. However, when it comes to the billing portion of some of providers, there is a serious, ongoing problem.

Centra has taken over a number of the specialty practices and does the billing for them. Patients are treated as “out patients” at Lynchburg General Hospital, and consequently two invoices are generated by two separate accounting systems that do not communicate with each other.

Most of the time, their divided system works fine, but when a problem does occur, it is almost impossible to get it resolved expeditiously.

I am in the middle of my second such experience with Centra. I had paid my deductable when I went for my appointment. A couple of weeks later, I received a bill from the hospital for their part of the bill.

First, I called the number provided only to be left on hold for about 12 minutes then dumped into voicemail. After numerous calls, I finally got to talk to a live person, who couldn’t help me, even after I gave her all the reference numbers on the paperwork I had. She said she would pass it on.

I waited about 10 days and hearing nothing, I personally went to the Centra billing facility. The person I spoke to had to go to another part of the building to access the “other” accounting system. What she decided to do was refund the amount I had paid and I would pay the invoiced amount directly, which I did.

Upon returning home, I found a correspondence from Centra in the mail which I thought would be the other half of the bill, but it wasn’t. It was a check from Centra for the balance of the difference between the payment I had made at the appointment, and the amount billed by the other billing system.

It is obvious that in Centra’s billing systems, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

I am not going to deposit the check nor am I going to contact Centra (numerous calls and one personal visit is enough over a $25 issue). Let them figure it out and contact me.

Health care consumers in the Lynchburg area deserve better than what Centra is providing when it comes billing and customer service.

BILL WHEATON

Concord

A win for the Hill City

A Freedom School in Lynchburg! I feel proud.

PAT SHAHROKHI

Lynchburg

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