Letters to the Editors

December 20, 1999

Letters to the Editors

Letters To the Editors

Ran D. Anbar, MD (above)

How to nullify the data bank

I read with great compassion the article by pediatric pulmonologist RanAnbar about how a set tlement made without his consent landed him in theNational Practitioner Data Bank ["My name shouldn't be in the malpracticedata bank—but it is," Oct. 11]. He was absolutely correct in his medicaland legal efforts, but being much his senior, I can assure him that failurewas guaranteed. The law is faulty; doctors always get the shaft.

Our only defense is to get every doctor listed in the National PractitionerData Bank and render it valueless. It would become just another Who's Whoin Medicine.

Floyd Brown, DO
Estill Springs, TN

Litigation fix: Independent experts

Cardiologist Charles Bertrand suggests that the present system of selectingjudges and juries for medical malpractice trials should be changed ["Wantto fix the malpractice mess? Start with judges," Sept. 6].

Surprisingly, he ignores the most inefficient, costly, and embarrassingfeature of the present system: the pitting of opposing experts in frontof a befuddled judge and jury. Creating panels of experts who would educatethe judge and jury—independently of the attorneys who pay their fees—isa better idea than changing the time-honored jury system.

Isaac Azar, MD
New York Cityiazar@bethisraelny.org

ER doctors shouldn't complain about "giving away" care

As an internist in private practice, I must respond to Francis Toscano,the emergency physician who whines about treating uninsured patients [Lettersto the Editors, Sept. 20].

He implies that private practice physicians receive subsidies, that is,benefits such as tax funding, hospital stipends, charitable donations, andsupport from the local medical society. I receive none of these, yet I seemy share of uninsured patients.

Toscano may not be aware of it, but he receives a substantial subsidy—fromhis hospital. He's provided a rent-free place to work, assistance from nurseswhose salaries are paid by the hospital, and transcription services fromhospital employees. I pay my employees' health, life, and disability insurance,plus their holidays, sick days, and office and medical supplies. This hasdriven my overhead to 60 percent, yet I perform complete physicals for lessthan what most ER physicians charge to treat a sore throat.

Christine E. Henry, MD
Wilmington, OH

This cost-conscious doctor is costing his group plenty

In a sidebar accompanying your earnings survey, you feature Martin Serota,an internist who manages a 19-physician practice part time and "stillfinds time for 5,000 patient visits a year" ["Doctors' earningsmake a stride," Sept. 20]. That means he's missing potentially 1,000patient visits a year, and losing about $65,000 in practice income.

The group could hire a full-time professional manager for $65,000—someonewho would make decisions based on cost benefits, not just on costs.The scary thing is that Serota thinks he's saving money, when actually bothhe and the practice are losing thousands of dollars a year.

J. Warren Berry
Practice Manager
Cornerstone Medical Center
Burlington,NC

 

Edited by Suzanne Duke, Senior Associate Editor

Address correspondence to Letters Editor, Medical Economics magazine,5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ 07645-1742. Or e-mail your comments to meletters@medec.com, or fax them to 201-722-2688.Include your address and daytime phone number. Letters may be edited forlength and style. Unless you specify otherwise, we'll assume your letteris for publication. Also, let us know if you don't want your e-mail addressprinted with your letter.


Suzanne Duke. Letters to the Editors. Medical Economics 1999;24:15.