Disturbing ArticleI recently read a most disturbing...


April 12, 1995

Disturbing Article

I recently read a most disturbing article.

It seems the Bureau of Labor Statistics has decided to lump Baltimore and Washington together for the purposes of computing the Consumer Price Index.

There did not appear to be one advantage for Baltimore in this; everything favored Washington.

Any company with intelligent officers must know the two cities are close together. However, they are very distinct and should retain their individuality. I have lived in both and can attest to this.

The cartographers at Amtrak have decided to leave Baltimore off the map also. This is astounding, given our size, the railroad history of this city and the fact that Penn Station is on the National Historical Preservation list.

This city's history should not be allowed to be pushed into oblivion by federal bureaucrats or marketing consultants.

Where are our elected representatives? We must demand that our senators, representatives, governor and mayor go to Washington to correct this.

I, for one, do not wish to be pushed into oblivion quietly.

Jerome P. Reichmister


Personal Choice

In response to the April 3 commentary, "The doctors strike back," I think it would be interesting to see the results of a poll on this issue.

Tim Baker makes it sound as if most people would choose a health maintenance organization rather than traditional fee-for-service medical care.

I would find this difficult to believe. I think that a majority belong to an HMO because it was chosen by their employer, either as the only option or as the only reasonably priced option. Yes, HMOs are cheaper but is cheaper better, or do you get what you pay for? I suspect the latter is true.

I think, that given the option, most people would prefer to have decisions about their health care made by a physician whom they trust rather than a faceless clerical person over the phone.

HMOs approve or deny benefits based upon stringent guidelines as set forth by cost-conscious business-types. These decisions are often made by a phone call to member services; this leaves no room for individualization. Also, some primary care physicians in HMOs are motivated by bonuses given to them if they save money for the organization. This encourages them to be overly conservative when it comes to ordering diagnostic procedures.

Another difficulty that I have encountered with HMOs is that the majority have a complicated set of rules for the member to follow in order to have their services covered. If a member does not get preauthorization or a referral slip, the HMO can deny payment. This can and does result in the HMO not paying for services that were needed. No wonder they can save money.

I am fortunate enough to have an opt-out clause in the HMO my employer chose for me. This gives me some degree of autonomy; I just have to pay a little more out of pocket.

My health care is my responsibility and choosing my provider should be my right.

Donna L. Disney-Vavra


Unsafe Business

Mark Guidera's story March 20, "Road warriors make deals at the wheel," a narrow-minded description of conducting business from an automobile, overlooks one pertinent fact:

The automobile is a specifically designed mode of transportation and therefore is moving while in use. First and foremost, someone must control this movement.

Clearly, conducting business by talking on the telephone, dialing the telephone, reading or writing notes while driving must subtract from one's abilities to control the movement of this automobile.

Personally, I find that driving requires 110 percent of my attention when I am behind the wheel.

Perhaps Mr. Guidera's article left out other information as well: These road warriors have chauffeurs or they do business only from parked vehicles.

I feel very uncomfortable with the notion that The Sun condones behavior behind the wheel of an automobile which adversely effects my safety on our highways.

Street Thoma


Missing Books

As a researcher and writer, I rely heavily on the Enoch Pratt Free Library for information and materials. It is very frustrating to search for the book I need only to learn that it is missing.

The losses are not limited to steamy romances and popular fiction; they include rare and valuable works.

It's a waste to have to drive elsewhere to use a book that Baltimore city taxpayers have purchased and that should be available for now and generations to come.

Margaret Pagan


Humans -- Not Oysters -- Must Clean the Bay

Recently you published a letter from Nancy L. Centofante, M.D. (The Sun, March 25) who questioned whether land use and other environmental regulations will significantly improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

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