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Monday's Letters to the Editor

Preventive medicine

EDITOR: I was gratified to read Staff Writer Martin Espinosa’s article about the Petaluma Health Center and it’s good marks from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (“Clinic earns high marks,” Tuesday).

Other clinics in the county did well, too. One sentence, however, struck me: “Petaluma Health Center, which has undergone a major expansion of both facilities and medical programs, ranked among the highest in the state in a number of categories related to preventative medicine, which some in health care view as a key toward reducing rising health care costs.”

My question: Who are the some who don’t believe in preventing illness. Might it be for-profit hospitals, fee-for-service physicians, big pharma, medical device makers, etc.? All those sectors get rich off treating illness rather than preventing illness.

To control costs and generate better outcomes, we need more clinics like the Petaluma Health Center and more primary-care physicians and nurse practitioners.

RON HAYES

Santa Rosa

Autism support

EDITOR: Thank you for Amy Mackin’s piece highlighting the stress and grief of those struggling with “extreme autism” (“The autism stories no one hears,” Tuesday). As a working parent of a 20-year-old at that end of the autism spectrum, I know the anguish and exhaustion Mackin describes.

As director of the Collaborative Autism Training & Support Program (a partnership between Sonoma State University, the California Parenting Institute and 30 other schools and agencies), I have met hundreds of the most remarkable people in our community: children facing all levels of autism and their struggling, supportive families.

Our children are among the one in 50 now diagnosed on the autism spectrum, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control study.

We share stories of “intense” behaviors, frustration at lack of services, fear for our children’s future, sleepless nights, family disruption and painful judgments from unaware others. We are a secret society with insider values, increased compassion for humanity, our own dark humor, strength and a desire not to be so secret, but to be seen, heard, respected, supported.

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