Governor was right to veto bill expanding the role of...


May 30, 2001

Governor was right to veto bill expanding the role of nurses

We commend Gov. Parris N. Glendening for his veto of a bill that would have substituted nurse practitioners for physicians as HMO primary care "gatekeepers" ("Glendening vetoes bill on nursing," May 18). Anyone who is a patient in an HMO should applaud the governor also. Here are some key reasons why.

First and foremost, nurse practitioners' training does not prepare them for the range of tasks and judgment patients should expect of their gatekeeper. Physicians receive so many years of clinical training precisely because it takes a great store of learning to differentiate the obvious from the ominous.

Second, this legislation would have enabled nurse practitioners to set up shop independent of physicians, as HMO primary care providers, with only perfunctory physician involvement.

Third, the legislation would have allowed HMOs to fill up to half of their primary care gatekeeper positions with lower-cost nurse practitioners.

Proponents of the bill asserted that it would have allowed patients to choose whether they want a physician or nurse practitioner. But once the physicians' offices are full (as many already are), what choice would patients have?

Unfortunately, many advocates of this legislation falsely portrayed the debate as one grounded in gender bias -- old-boy physicians against mostly female nurses.

At a time when nearly half of medical school graduates are women, and women physicians have earned positions of leadership, it has been discouraging to see our nursing colleagues use such rhetoric.

Dr. Willarda V. Edwards

Dr. Catherine Smoot-Haselnus


The writers are members of the board of Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, the Maryland state medical society.

Veto of bill on nursing will hurt nurses, patients

Gov. Parris N. Glendening claims protection of health care consumers as the reason for his decision to veto a bill that would have allowed HMO enrollees to choose a nurse practitioner as primary care provider ("Governor vetoes bill on nursing," May 18).

What he has protected, instead, is the ego and pocketbook of the Maryland state medical societies.

That the governor would maintain a barrier to access to primary care at a time when medical students are rejecting primary care residencies defies logic. His decision has delivered a slap in the face to the shrinking pool of Maryland nurses and is harmful to patients.

The good ol' boys won again.

Janet Selway


The writer is an instructor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.

Lieutenant governor isn't ready for a promotion

Before Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend begins planning her inaugural ball, it would be wise to note the possibility of a formidable challenge by Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.

Since his election, Mr. O'Malley has done an admirable job reducing crime and uniting Baltimore. His service as mayor, combined with his experience as a City Councilman and defense attorney, have provided Mr. O'Malley the insight necessary to serve as the state's chief executive.

Conversely, as lieutenant governor, Ms. Townsend has been involved in nearly every misstep on the state level, from the debacle at the Department of Juvenile Justice to Maryland's failure to retain and attract new businesses. Her only other experience is a failed run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ms. Townsend is clearly not qualified to serve as Maryland's next governor. As the poll released several weeks ago indicates, it is only a matter of time before Maryland's voters realize this.

Sean M. McGraw

Owings Mills

It's the murder rate that should trouble City Council

If the members of the City Council were concerned about the citizens of Baltimore, they would have summoned Police Commissioner Edward T. Norris to a hearing to determine why the city had recently seen 40 killings in 42 days and what he was doing to correct the situation.

Instead, the council wasted Mr. Norris' time, and its own, with unfounded, demagogic charges of racism ("Norris adamant on removal of 2 black officers," May 16). For shame.

Evan Alevizatos Chriss


Photo of migrating fish adds a touch of grace

Photographer Jerry Jackson distinguished himself with the photo of migrating fish on the front page of The Sun's May 9 Maryland section.

Not only does this photo add to the content of the study reported, it adds a welcome grace note to your (our) paper.

Carl E. Wagner Jr.


Johns Hopkins demonstrates no dedication to public radio

It is embarrassing that a great university is willing to sell its public radio station, WJHU-FM, and it makes no sense that Johns Hopkins rejected Maryland Public Television's bid at this early stage.

The Sun's revelation about National Public Radio's involvement with the MPT bid causes me to wonder if Johns Hopkins is afraid that someone might buy the station, make the obvious changes and become very successful ("JHU knocks off joint effort," May 18).

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