Fallert’s passing

I recently learned that my friend Ron Fallert passed away. Ron was a dear friend who I admired since my family and I moved to Brookings in the 70s to begin my dental practice.

During our time in Brookings, it was obvious Ron was concerned with and made many major business decisions based on what would be best for the people in our community. He knew and cared about our local residents. Many of these were friends from his school days in Brookings. The most impressive part of these actions was his insistence on remaining anonymous.

One of my first meetings with Ron was about his desire to improve health care delivery to the community. From these meetings, he developed plans and was instrumental in developing young professionals to Brookings. It was clear to me that Ron wanted to improve the lives of those living in our area.

Ron was an astute businessman. He was a pioneer in developing sustainable forest management practices. Because of his management skills, he was a major employer in our community, providing good jobs for many local residents.

Ron did many things during his days as CEO of South Coast Lumber to improve the quality of life in our Brookings community. Ron was a pragmatic forward-thinking businessman. We owe much to this unassuming civic-minded leader.

Marlin (Spike) Montgomery

Sonoma, California

VA’s Fraudulent Billing Practices Affect Everyone.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is not supposed to bill insurance companies (including Medicare) for treatment of veterans injuries that were sustained in the line of duty (aka service-connected conditions).

The VA can and does bill veterans health care insurances for health care costs that are not related to service-connected conditions.

I am too young to be eligible for Medicare but am lucky enough to be able to afford Blue Cross insurance and the VA bills my private insurance for both service-connected and non-service-connected conditions.

Two days ago I received several packets of explanation of benefits that the Roseburg VA had recently billed to my Blue Cross Blue Shield (BC/BS) insurance during 2018 for treatment for service-connected conditions. The cost for treating my service connected conditions should not have been passed on to my insurance and when it was, the VA billed my insurance significantly more than they paid the providers.

Here are some examples:

For treatment on March 27, 2018, the VA billed my Blue Cross on March 30, 2019, for $705.56. The Roseburg VA was billed for these services in the amount of $243.38. The VA only paid $107.56 to the provider and the provider wrote off $135.82. Blue Cross reimbursed the Roseburg VA for $319.48.

December 19, 2018, the VA billed BC/BS $1,001.68. The VA was billed $492 by the provider and paid the provider $168.12. The provider wrote off $322.18. BC/BS reimbursed the VA $621.45 for this claim.

These are just two claims in a stack of 32 explanation of benefits I received from BC/BS where the VA over-billed them and wrongfully billed for service-connected conditions. This is just one provider and this is not all-inclusive. Orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons I’ve seen for service-connected conditions were also billed.

This VA fraud, as I am choosing to call it, drives up the cost of medical care and insurance premiums that affect everyone. BC/BS is looking into this.

What if this dishonest practice goes beyond the Roseburg VA and includes all veterans nationwide? I can’t imagine what those numbers would look like.

Mike Berns


Second Amendment rights

What a pathetic display of anger, insults and scare tactics we responsible and legal gun owners were subjected to at the commissioners workshop concerning preserving our Second Amendment rights. The speaker claimed it was a right-wing conspiracy against socialists and Democrats but doesn’t realize that many Democrats own guns, too.

Before the public comments began he was pacing the hallway, eager to have his turn at the podium so he could attack our president and Republicans with hateful left-wing rhetoric and innuendos. The left calls them common sense gun laws proposed by responsible lawmakers and if they’re not passed there will be gunfights in the streets and lawsuits against an ordinance protecting our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Like I said at the meeting, these proposed laws are not common sense and do nothing at all to make the criminal comply. In fact, they make us vulnerable to attack at home and on the street. They are proposed by the supermajority Democrats and are specially designed to discourage anyone from owning or wanting to own a gun.

It’s a step towards total elimination of firearms even though the Democrats deny this. We would only be allowed to purchase 20 bullets a month with a permit from our county sheriff. Outlawing over five shots in a clip and keeping our guns locked up will make us all vulnerable to home invasions, which are on the rise in this nation.

People in remote areas need easy and fast access to their guns rather than being forced to wait for law enforcement to respond. This advantage has been very successful in saving lives, something the gun haters constantly choose to ignore. A Center for Disease Control report states that there are consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims.

One of the best bumper stickers of all-times still resonates:

When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.

Lou Costa