Harford County HospitalsWe usually read Peter Jay's column...


October 02, 1994

Harford County Hospitals

We usually read Peter Jay's column with pleasure, but were thoroughly disappointed by his Sept. 15 column, ''An Elegant Form of Red-Lining,'' on the plans of the Upper Chesapeake Health System, Inc., to build a new hospital in Harford County in lieu of Fallston General Hospital, and to downsize Harford Memorial Hospital.

Clearly, Mr. Jay is not an expert on the issue, but since his commentary addresses such a wide readership on such a sensitive subject, he would have done well to write about substantive facts, not just his opinions and hearsay from business people from Havre de Grace.

A more balanced and fair essay would have addressed a few of the following facts:

We'd like to make it clear that we are not apologists for the Upper Chesapeake Health System (UCHS). The proposed changes are being instituted by UCHS with the stated goal of improvement in thequality of care to the people of Harford County. Mr. Jay did not address this issue.

The current Fallston facility is 20 years old and is not well-suited to offer the state-of-the-art medical environment that would enable its well-trained staff and expert physician panel to deliver excellent care.

In addition, Fallston General Hospital does not currently offer pediatric and obstetric services because of state regulations. Furthermore, the current terms of the lease forbid Fallston General from making any substantial changes to the building.

Thus, the construction of a new hospital will enable UCHS and the physician community of Harford County to offer better care in a properly designed modern facility that will incorporate current technology, as well as allow pediatric and obstetric services to be offered at a more convenient location.

Although the reduction of beds at Harford Memorial Hospital is a point of contention for residents of Havre de Grace, the reality of regulatory agency oversight has already determined that there are far too many hospital beds in Maryland. Thus, a reduction on un-utilized beds is mandated by regulatory agencies.

It is far better to reduce empty beds in a planned fashion than to be forced willy-nilly to do it by compulsion. The reduction in beds is ''right-sizing,'' as is happening in a lot of workplaces nationwide to address changes in traditional operating circumstances.

Our regret is that instead of addressing these (admittedly complex) issues, Mr. Jay chose to present a simplistic and one-sided argument.

Surely it is not too much to expect a writer of his caliber to be fair and balanced on such an important subject.

David Brick, M.D.

Vijay Abhyankar, M.D.


Teaching Each

I read with interest the article, ''Mania for magnet schools raises questions,'' on Sept. 18.

The phrase ''teaching to enable each student to achieve his full potential'' is often heard.

If we are referring to a special education class, this phrase represents a goal. When it is achieved, it is called ''individualized instruction.'' We are happy.

If we are referring to a gifted and talented class or a magnet program, this phrase is called ''elitism.'' We are supposed to feel guilty.

Is this fair?

Linda Pearl


Being Poor

Franks A. Sumes (letter, Sept. 22) offers a number of reasons why he feels county residents are up in arms about poor people being moved to the county. He attributes the plight of the poor in Baltimore City directly to the poor.

This simplistic line of reasoning, if one uses his analogy of the characteristics of the poor, must lead to the conclusion that if you are poor you are a dirty ignorant drug user.

Surely, some of the residents currently living in Essex are poor. Do they fit the profile Mr. Sumes so viciously draws of the city's poor?

Or is there some other variable to this equation that explains why so many county folk oppose the MTO Program -- a reason many county residents surreptitiously harbor -- a reason Mr. Sume avoids but one more filthy than the garbage he says the city's poor put out after the truck has passed?

No, the poor are not disadvantaged because they live in slums and ghettos and drug-infested neighborhoods.

Rather, because they are disadvantaged, they live in slums and ghettos and drug-infested neighborhoods. I'll bet some don't even see the difference.

Raymond M. Mays


Why Sauerbrey

Regarding the column, ''For Sauerbrey, Now Comes the Hard Part,'' writer Barry Rascovar may be right about Republican chances in the November election.

However, those of us who support Ellen Sauerbrey are hopeful that enough registered Democrats have by now had quite enough of their party's egregious and profligate tax-and-spend policy.

After about 25 years of having their pockets picked clean, enough Marylanders, regardless of party affiliation, may be willing to give a fiscal conservative an opportunity to eliminate at least some of the shameful waste in Annapolis.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.