Four articles paint a sorry picture of what physicians are confronting

LETTER — Posted June 27, 2005

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The April 25 edition of American Medical News contained four articles that attest to the precarious state of the American physician.

The front page article, "AMA warns Medicare payment cuts would harm patient care and access" (Article, April 25), describes the impending cuts in Medicare reimbursement for physicians. In essence, we are dependent on the whims of the federal government and this is quite an uneasy position in which we find ourselves. I can only hope that organized medicine will successfully lobby to enforce changes to the sustainable growth rate formula.

Two other articles, "Cultural competency now law in New Jersey" (Article, April 25) and "Michigan physicians fighting 1% Medicaid tax plan" (Article, April 25), focus on what is happening in New Jersey and Michigan.

Another unfounded mandate is cast upon those who are practicing in the Garden State. In order to maintain their licenses, they now must be educated in cultural competency. Even more disturbing is Michigan's attempt at taxing physicians' gross revenues to help fund Medicaid's shortfall.

The fourth article, "Physician suicide: Searching for answers" (Article, April 25), deals with a well-established and disturbing problem of physician suicide.

I can only ask when will we all say we have had enough. I can only hope the news gets better.

Marc A. Melser, MD, Port Charlotte, Fla.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/06/27/edlt0627.htm.

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