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Your Voice: Physicians need to get back to caring about patients


 I agree with the opinion of Titus Abraham, MD, in “Primary care must be the “bedrock” of healthcare”(Your Voice, May 25).

However, I would add that for primary care to be the “bedrock” of healthcare, physicians need to be afforded the time and resources to adequately address patient issues. 

It is time to get “real” with patients again-to know them on a truly personal level. I have noticed over and over again how easily it is for patients to get lost in the medical maze. The primary care physician needs to reclaim the role of advocate for his / her patient. This is quite true now more than ever: “The best way to care for the patient is to care about the patient.” 

Billing is not the point. EHR is not the point. Caring for the patient as a person is the point!

Ward Harbin, DO
Evansville, Indiana


Medicaid is not working

In response to “Physicians must fight to save Medicaid expansion” (, May 13, 2017), Dr. Rousche is confusing the issue. 

Her concern for making sure that at least basic medical care is afforded by our society to those who either cannot or will not provide for themselves is shared by the overwhelming majority of our citizens. 

The issue which she does not appreciate is whether the Medicaid system as it presently exists is the best way to do it, and it clearly is not. Medicaid is at the same time grossly wasteful and grossly underfunded; the epitome of bureaucratic ineptitude. 

The idea of extending this program even further to more participants is folly. The prevailing Republican idea is not to stop helping the poor but to allow the individual states to tailor the available funds more appropriately to their own needs, and perhaps at the same time to come up with more effective alternative approaches that others could copy.

Online comment



Think outside MGMA box for cash flow tips

In response to “Tips to control practice cash flow” (May 25), watching expenses monthly, and having a budget and benchmarks certainly are important. 

I find that the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) expense surveys mostly come from larger and multi-specialty practices, so are less appropriate to solo and small group, single specialty practices without extensive ancillary services. MGMA data is the best for productivity and compensation reports.

The annual statistics report from the National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants goes into much more line-item detail on expenses, and is almost all from small single specialty practices, so is preferred for physicians in those situations.

Keith Borglum, CHBC
Santa Rosa, California

[Borglum is an editorial consultant for Medical Economics]

Tom Price gives hope for payer accountability

James P. Clancy, MD, in his “Patients, not payers, need to be held accountable” (Your Voice, April 25) was right to complain about the lack of interest in malpractice reform.

However, there is hope with Tom Price as the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services. As a physician, he is well aware of how doctors are exploited by opportunistic attorneys to use questionable methods to pressure doctors to settle out of court.

Even though doctors win the majority of cases that end up in court, lawyers know that doctors would prefer not to take the risk.  The investment of time and energy and the damage to one’s reputation and livelihood are risks that most doctors shun.

As a physician, Tom Price is well aware of the problems that doctors face with medical liability. He is committed to end lawsuit abuse. This is a good time for doctors and their leadership organizations to push ahead for tort reform.

Clearly, tort reform, be it in caps on pain and suffering or in arbitration panels (also called health courts) is an idea whose time has come. 

Edward Volpintesta, MD
Bethel, Connecticut

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