White Crane's Trained Seal | Letters | Chicago Reader

White Crane's Trained Seal 

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To the editors:

Ben Joravsky should be congratulated on his article "White Crane Senior Center: a health-care concept that didn't fly," which appeared in the Reader on January 12, 1990. It was as well-researched and balanced a presentation of the facts in the matter as I have read in all these months of so-called "negotiations" between Illinois Masonic Medical Center and the Senior Caucus of Jane Addams Center.

As of this date, those negotiations still continue; i.e., nothing has been decided which might bring the affiliation between the two to an amicable end.

I was particularly interested in the almost impassioned defense raised by Suzanne Sullivan, Director of Ambulatory Care, the department under which White Crane Senior Health Center was subsumed. The points she raised were certainly incontestable; and she is correct in stating that it is not the fault of the hospital that Medicare does not pay for wellness programs. However, if the hospital gained even one out of seven actual patients from the 2000 members of White Crane Center, that would be almost 300 new patients it would not have without White Crane; and those patients still continue to use the services of IMMC. I myself belong to Masonicare which now costs $252 a year. I joined this health plan only because of my commitment to, and belief in, the White Crane Senior Health Center concept. Moreover, I believe the medical staff at IMMC to be as competent and as dedicated as found at any hospital in the city.

I have only one small objection to raise to all of Suzanne Sullivan's gallant defense of IMMC's role throughout. When I read: "We employed a 72-year-old t'ai chi instructor, for gosh sakes. We have nothing to apologize for," I suddenly saw myself as an aged and somewhat exotic trained seal.

Shizu Sue Lofton

(the now 75-year-old t'ai chi instructor, for gosh sakes)

W. Agatite

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