How will hospitals be able to provide life-saving care...

LETTERS

January 30, 2000

How will hospitals be able to provide life-saving care?

I am writing in support of the concerns expressed in The Sun's January 2 editorial "Are state regulators starving Maryland hospitals?"

While regulators have quietly adjusted downward hospital revenues over the past few years, hospital trustees, managers, physicians and nurses have attempted to call attention to the obvious impact of these actions: namely, a potential decrease in the quality of care, delays in implementation of new life saving technology and reduced access to care through preventative and primary-care outreach programs for the community.

Hospitals have already been forced to close or limit community outreach programs due to mounting financial losses.

Maryland has an enviable record and well-deserved stature in hospital health care, medical education and clinical innovation, all of which will be seriously harmed by a continued "starvation diet" that regulators have imposed

How will hospitals deal with ongoing inflation of drug costs, supplies and technology when they are given no annual inflation adjustment?

No one regulates the prices paid by hospitals for new life saving drugs and technology, yet patients and their doctors appropriately expect our hospitals to provide those innovations in care.

Quality of care to Maryland citizens has to be our priority. The hospital revenue-setting methodology has to support quality not, threaten it.

Let's step back and put the patient first.

If we do so, we are likely to conclude that Maryland hospitals have been needlessly harmed. Maryland's citizens deserve better.

William L. Thomas, M.D.

Columbia

The writer is senior vice president, medicalaffairs at MedStar Health.

Japan still denies role as aggressor in WWII

The article "Soldiers deny massacre in Nanking" (Jan 24) caught my eye.

This coupled with recent articles about the Japanese refusal to consider claims from former American brutally treated POWs, are examples that Japan has not recognized its culpability for W.W. II.

The massacre in Nanking, as terrible as it actually was, is only one example of major Japanese atrocities in China, other East Asian countries and the Pacific. Militarist Japan killed as many civilians through savagery as did Germany in the Holocaust.

They forced as many into slave labor and took as many of their lives. Allied POWs were treated so badly that nearly a third died in captivity, compared to 4 percent in German camps.

Germany has made every effort to make amends; Japan has done little. Japan has used Hiroshima to avoid the fact that it was a cruel aggressor.

The A-bomb spared millions by shortening the war and on terms that assured a peaceful post war Japan.

Werner Gruhl

Columbia

Limit terms to protect democracy in Maryland

I am always disappointed when democratic representatives think their power is more important than the democratic process they serve.

A January 16 article "Handful of lawmakers pulls General Assembly' s strings" exposed how a select group of powerful legislators use their political powers to mangle the democratic process.

Why should a few select legislators control what legislation is seriously examined or buried in legislative committees, as the article exposed?

Why do legislative leaders assume their interests exceed the interests of our other elected officials?

This is a democracy isn't it?

Why does the State of Maryland limit the elected terms of governors for fear of political dominance (corruption) and not limit the terms of the Speaker of the House or the President of the Senate when they wield comparable legislative political powers? And why are committee chairmen allowed to bury legislation they disapprove of without the democratic approval of their committee, as the article exposed?

Committee chairmen should lead the democratic proceedings of their committees and not dominate them as fascist dictators. Unfortunately, fascist procedures are often used -- out of the view of the public eye -- by powerful politicians who crave power more than they value democracy, to influence American politics.

What Maryland needs to do (as a start) to improve its legislature's democratic procedures is to limit the terms of Speaker of the House and President of the Senate positions to comparable term limits as the governor, and eliminate the power of committee chairmen to bury legislation.

Let us tell our Maryland elected representatives that we want legislative democracy, not legislative fascism.

Jim Fitzgerald

Columbia

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