2 herbicides city uses are common products


POSTED: Thursday, May 06, 2010

Question: Can you look into what kind of chemicals the city is spraying to kill the grass along streams and roadsides? The city trucks are going around and spraying with their high-powered hoses; the chemicals are going airborne. I'm concerned that this may be affecting the public, including children and pets.

Answer: The city uses only two herbicides, both of which are readily available over the counter, said Jeoffrey Cudiamat, director of the Department of Facility Maintenance.

The trade names are Roundup and Rodeo, but because of bidding requirements, the specifications use a more generic description, he said.

Rodeo is used near waterways while Roundup is used away from them.

“;Both are mixed and applied in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations and directions,”; Cudiamat said. When used as directed, both herbicides “;are safe,”; he said.

He acknowledged receiving complaints from “;hypersensitive individuals complaining of use near their home.”;

In those cases, crews “;try to avoid using herbicides in the immediate vicinity of the home, at which point we use increased manual labor to control the vegetation overgrowth in those areas,”; he said.

Question: I received a Medicare Health Outcomes Survey from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services through mail recently. It says they are a federal agency that is conducting the survey, but I am somewhat skeptical. Can you find out if it is a legitimate survey?

Answer: The agency is sponsoring a legitimate nationwide survey, which is used to improve the quality of care to Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a managed care plan.

“;The Medicare Health Outcomes Survey is a valid and important survey,”; said Peter Ashkenaz, deputy director of media affairs for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which sponsors and leads the survey.

The survey, which has been taking place for 13 years, is administered by six certified survey research firms: DSS Research, DataStat, MORPACE International, Synovate, the Myers Group and WB&A Marking Research.

“;These firms are committed to ensuring that the data are handled securely,”; Ashkenaz said. “;They adhere to all federal rules and regulations regarding privacy and confidentiality.”;

He said their performances are routinely monitored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

If you have any questions, Ashkenaz noted that all mailing materials include a toll-free telephone number and e-mail address to contact.

He explained that the survey is randomly sent to beneficiaries from each Medicare Advantage plan to measure the ability of the plan “;to maintain or improve the physical and emotional health”; of beneficiaries over time.

Selected individuals are surveyed twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of a two-year period, he said.

The results of the survey are used to help understand if each beneficiary's health plan is able to provide the care that members need.

That's accomplished by comparing the answers to questions from beneficiaries in one health plan to the answers from those in other plans, Ashkenaz said.

See for more information.

Write to ”;Kokua Line”; at Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).