Decision Could Impact Regional Hospice Care


Those of us in the hospice care community are concerned with the recent decision to omit voluntary advance care planning consultations as part of a Medicare beneficiaries’ annual wellness exam.

Having this option as part of an annual exam and providing payment to physicians for taking the time to educate patients about advance care planning could have opened the door to conversations on the types of decisions patients might consider in future healthcare situations based on the patient’s values, beliefs and preferences.

Although this is a setback, it provides an opportunity to dispel myths about this issue. Advance care planning is not about discontinuing treatment, saving money, or having someone else make decisions for you; it’s about making sure your wishes are known and then honored, no matter what those wishes are.

Patients and their families are often forced to make major health decisions in times of crisis, but research shows that patients facing serious or life-limiting illnesses who discuss their care options in advance report a higher quality of life, fewer hospitalizations and fewer emergency room visits.

We strongly encourage everyone to consider their wishes for care at the end of life and engage in advance care planning. This includes having discussions with healthcare providers and family members, completing an advance directive and ensuring their loved ones understand their wishes.

With more than 30 years serving Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset and Dorchester Counties, the staff of Coastal Hospice is skilled at helping people understand the issues patients and families face when confronted with serious or life-limiting illnesses. We are available to speak to your church, civic group or other organization about advance care planning or other hospice-related topics.

Please visit our website at and click on Community Education to learn more about advance care planning, or call our office at 410-742-8732 for more information or to schedule a speaker.

Alane Capen

(The writer is the president of Coastal Hospice & Palliative Care.)
Officers Could Have
Different Pot Opinion


I spent many of the happiest summers of my life in Ocean City. As a bystander, I know Ocean City’s police officers well, and have observed their responses to scores of "breach of the peace" incidents.

Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino’s strident opposition to any degree of decriminalization or legalization of marijuana ("Police Chief rails against pot legalization," in your Jan. 14 issue) should certainly be considered when Ocean City decides what to do about proposed local and state changes to medical and recreational marijuana laws.

But Chief DiPino is just one voice. The Police Department employs nearly 100 officers, and each officer has his or her years of experiences and conclusions.

As Ocean City considers future changes in marijuana laws and policies, each Ocean City police officer should be asked this question:

"When I respond to a public or domestic disturbance involving intoxication, which substance typically leads to the safest resolution? Which substance typically leads to the most dangerous and violent resolution? Which substance do I and my fellow officers fear more? On Ocean City’s sidewalks and boardwalk, in Ocean City’s apartments, and in police incidents throughout Maryland and the nation, which substance is involved in more assaults on officers and deaths of officers: legal alcohol or illegal marijuana?"

It may surprise Ocean City’s voters and elected officials that Chief DiPino has one opinion about marijuana, and scores of her officers, who risk their lives during every shift, have a very different opinion.

Robert Merkin
Chesterfield, Mass.

Alcohol A Bigger
Issue Than Dope


My colleague Chief DiPino supports marijuana prohibition but never explained why.  I know our profession is given $13 billion per year to pursue and arrest the Willie Nelsons and Michael Phelps of our country.  This prohibition generates good job security and overtime which are even more important in our recession economy.  The Mexican drug cartels and thousands of teen dealers also support marijuana for the same reason as Chief DiPino; namely the money.

Certainly it was my police experience that marijuana is a much safer drug than alcohol for both the user and those around them. Chief DiPino and others in the prohibition crowd essentially drive many people to drink which everyone knows is much more dangerous than marijuana.  Sad that money trumps common sense.

Howard Wooldridge
Adamstown. Md.

(The writer is a retired detective/officer.)

Research Needed
On Marijuana Stance


Rather than debate the pros and cons of cannabis, I encourage Chief DiPino and Ocean City residents to investigate the origins of this Cannabis Prohibition that they are such cheerleaders for.

There is no science or fact included in the original banning of pot. 

Rather what there is is a trail of racist sensationalism and fabricated 
tales of mayhem caused by the degenerate races under the influence of the demon weed.

For justice to prevail our laws need to be based on reality. Cannabis Prohibition is a policy based exclusively (and provably) on lies and 
yet it serves as official government policy. Fraud is fraud

Allan Erickson
Eugene, Ore.

Campaign A Success


Our 2010 "Holiday Gifts for Our Soldiers Overseas" campaign collected in November was a huge success.

This was the sixth year for collections started by my late husband, Carl, in 2005. The purpose of this letter is to thank and acknowledge everyone who contributed and volunteered.

I want to especially recognize the Worcester County Libraries in Ocean Pines, Ocean City and Berlin along with the Berlin American Legion Post 123, the Ocean City American Legion Post 166, the VFW Post, and the Ocean Pines Community Center for calling me as soon as the black collection containers were filled so we could empty them to allow for more donations. I have always believed the people of the Eastern Shore are a very special group who give from their hearts.

All of the gifts collected were packed and wrapped by Sarge Garlitz, Commander of American Legion Post 166, with his wife Rosie and many more volunteers. A very special thanks to Teresa Travatello, Ocean Pines Marketing and Public Relations Director, and Mike Howell, Director of the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department, for always standing by me and helping in any and every way. It was truly a team effort which made this sixth campaign another big success. Thank You to everyone who donated and volunteered. God Bless our troops everywhere, and especially overseas.

Anna Foultz
Ocean Pines
Leave LCB Alone


Every time I see the next adventure in the Life and Limb of the Worcester 
County LCB I am reminded of the Whackamole on the Boards in Ocean City. Down goes the LCB, up comes the Worcester County Licensed Beverage Association, and both go done for the brand new Alliance for Fair Markets (huh?).

The more it changes the more it stays the same?

Crouching, or is it coaching, in the sidelines are various delegates, senators, county commissioners, and other locals, who I think try to mean well. With tongue in cheek, they, I guess, want to see the demise of the LCB so the golden dubloons can be turned to over known locals and unknown out-of-towners with great big trucks. Their big canard is the LCB has been around too, too long and needs a trip to the local butcher. 

When will this group of Whackamoles ever see the urgency of public safety, the need to protect local LCB jobs, and keep the revenues jingling in our 
very own county and town pockets?  I do have one apology, though, for a former  Mayor of Ocean City, who has since moved on, but has assured us it is a "no-go" no matter, if the numbers don’t work. One of his most treasured 
statements of time-immorial was "be careful what you wish for, you may just get."

It is my hope that the LCB remains hale and hearty, the WCLBA stops crying in its stale beer, the Worcester Alliance for Fair Markets vanishes in the smoke rings from whence it came, and that public safety remain the only one and true issue here. As my Mom used to say, "much always wants more."  Mom sure makes sense to me. 

Raymond M. Sawyer
Ocean City