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    Letters: Readers comment on Medical Economics stories

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    Keep the food coming

    In your article "Feed your brain, not your face" [October 17, 2008], it is easy to say "Don't bring food, bring books." But when you are a physician who barely gets time for a lunch break, you appreciate having the lunches that pharmaceutical reps provide. Our physicians greatly appreciate not having to worry about lunch while at the same time listening to the latest information about drug studies and new indications, etc. They find this time well spent, as they get a bite to eat during their hectic day and also learn something new. They find that "feeding their face" gives them the nourishment needed to get through the rest of the day using their brain.

    I find it very offensive that PHRMA has eliminated the items that pharmaceutical companies give away because of perceived bias.

    To think that a physician would be influenced by an ink pen is an insult to their judgment and professionalism.

    VICKI SANDERS, CMPE
    Newport News, Virginia

    A recession by-product

    The fact they keep on certifying EHRs when nobody is buying these costly systems is a waste of health-care dollars ["Key HIT group certifies 10 EHRs," InfoTech Bulletin, October 10, 2008]. The best thing about the coming recession is that it'll get rid of such wasteful spending (i.e., the CCHIT tax of $30,000 a year) once the certified EHRs begin to have financial difficulties.

    The new Stark bill, which would enable all docs to have open-source EHRs without CCHIT certification, is the beginning of the end for the CCHIT lobbying group of vendors, HIMSS/EHRA, and CCHIT itself.

    AL BORGES, MD
    Arlington, Virginia

    Where did the fun go?

    As 2009 arrives, physicians have reached the end of service items: pens, sticky pads, flashlights, clipboards, and an occasional paperclip. We often re-gift "stuff" to patients, the local Catholic school, the gym, and yes, sometimes to family and friends ["Want to fix our health-care system?" October 17, 2008].

    How does it compute that former President Bill Clinton's foundation receives millions of dollars from businesses and foreign governments, while physicians are held to a different ethical standard? Why does the government need to negotiate with him to stop these activities while his wife is nominated to a cabinet position? Whatever happened to doing the right thing every time, all the time?

    It will take tremendous courage and grassroots cooperation for President-elect Obama to "fix health care" in America. Until we have universal coverage, it will always be a tier system: The rich and connected at the top and Medicaid recipients on the bottom, enjoying all the benefits, while the underinsured working poor toil to pay for it.

    Medicine is still my vocation and my passion. It is just not as much fun as it used to be.

    GRACE LEE WALKER, MD
    Terre Haute, Indiana

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