Letters to the Editors
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You showed bias in reporting the charges of overbilling and fraud brought against FP Patsy Vargo by the federal government ["Why are the Feds hounding this FP?" July 23]. I can assure you that any doctor who bills for 75 percent of patient en-counters with codes 99214 and 99215 is gouging.
A hardworking internist sees about 24 patients a day. If 18 of those patients require time-consuming office visits that justify 99214 or 99215 codes, the doctor's workday would be almost twice as long!
As a childless-by-choice doc, I think the sidebar to "Maternity leave policies that really deliver" [July 9] should have been titled "Will the US and Papua New Guinea hold the line on denying unfair freebee, government-paid maternity leave?"
Nowhere in our Constitution do I read that US citizens must foot the bill so working mothers can take time off after giving birth. Why should my tax liability include paying for someone's choice to have children?
I believe parents should be financially responsible for their families, and if this is not possible, they should look for private sources of charity. Although I have chosen not to raise a family because of environmental concerns about overpopulation, I volunteer a substantial amount of time to a children's charity.
We definitely do not want European-style largesse here. It comes with too high a price tag.
Your article "A slip in net worth" [May 21] mentioned the tax implications of having an education loan forgiven. I am a young doctor, and my student loans are crippling me. How do I go about getting a loan forgiven?
J. Simone, MD
Editor's Note: You'll find suggestions in "Say goodbye to your med school debt" [Dec. 6, 1999].
I thoroughly enjoyed the April 9 articles by allergist Richard Green ["Stay young, I told myselfand took up the cello"] and ophthalmologist James Layer ["This doctor works for a song"] on their adventures in music.
Music offers exciting opportunities for self-expression to baby boomer physicians who are now facing empty nests, aging bodies, and the transition to retirement. Those who do not think of themselves as "musical" should consider the blues harmonica, because of its portability, low cost, opportunities to play with other musicians, and ease in developing basic competence.
For learning music, books with compact discs or audiotapes are easier to use than videotapes. After six months of practicing 20 minutes a day, five days a week, most beginners could play well enough to sit in with a band.
To obtain free copies of my annotated bibliography of harmonica instruction, as well as an article titled "Hope and Ovations for the Musically Hopeless: A Primer on Playing the Harmonica," contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phil (Catman) Chan, MD
Edited by Liz O'Brien,
Address correspondence to Letters Editor, Medical Economics magazine, 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ 07645-1742. Or e-mail your comments to email@example.com, or fax them to 201-722-2688. Include your address and daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and style. Unless you specify otherwise, we'll assume your letter is for publication. Also, let us know if you don't want your e-mail address printed with your letter.
Liz O'Brien. Letters to the Editors. Medical Economics 2001;18:13.