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John McCamant does your readers a disservice by scoffing at the idea of using mutual funds to invest in the biotech sector ["Investment Insider: John McCamant on the future of biotech," Jan. 11].
Researching stocks takes an ongoing investment of timesomething most physicians don't have. Moreover, there is far more to choosing successful stocks than having a medical background: you must know how to assess the management of biotech companies in their early stages, understand their competition, and evaluate products still moving along the FDA approval process. How can a practicing physician make his way through this minefield, when it is difficult for professional stock pickers?
For an example of the danger, you only need to look at McCamant's recommendation of ImClone, which blew up after your article went to press.
Joel Greenwald, MD
Physicians should definitely consider the importance of board certification when searching for a first-rate office manager [Practice Management," Jan. 11].
The designation of Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE) or Fellow in the American College of Medical Practice Executives (FACMPE) indicates that an administrator has the specialized knowledge that today's health care industry demands along with proven skills in problem solving and decision making.
Practice management professionals earn these certifications through the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE), the certification arm of the Medical Group Management Association.
MGMA survey data show that practices managed by ACMPE-certified administrators are significantly more profitable than the average.
Thomas H. Stearns, FACMPE
American College of Medical Practice Executives
I'm mystified how few people are aware of a wonderfully simple solution for funding health caremedical savings accounts.
Under such a system, each citizen would receive a baseline allowance of, say, $3,000, to cover his medical expenses for the year. This account would replace all third-party payersMedicare and Medicaid, HMOs, and health and accident insurance carriers.
At year's end, anyone who did not use up his allotted $3,000 could choose either a refund or a credit for the upcoming year. Nontaxpayers would be required to roll over what's left to discourage any inclination to neglect health care for a cash return. Major medical coverage would pay for expenses over $3,000.
Compared to our present systemwhere each Medicare beneficiary costs the government $6,000 per year, and private insurance premiums can run to $4,000medical savings accounts would be more cost-effective. Liberated from CPT and ICD-9 codes, HMO contracts, and Medicare allowances, physicians' charges again would correlate with reality. Office expenses would drop since we'd no longer need coders and staff to decipher insurance regulations. No more time would be wasted getting authorizations for necessary studies and consultations.
The only disadvantage of this program is that the government would run it.
W. E. Manry, Jr., MD
Lake Wales, FL
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Liz O'Brien. Letters to the Editors. Medical Economics 2002;6:11.