Readers share their thoughts


I don't know if any of you know this, but you and your colleagues stay in touch with me pretty regularly. I'm always grateful to have such a responsive audience as yourselves--not to mention a passionate, well-informed, experienced one. (My apologies if I'm not always prompt in getting back to you--believe me, I read every word of everything you send.)

I try to make sure that most viewpoints get an airing (though it's pretty tough given that there are 40,000 of you!) To that point, here's one letter I received this week, from a recruiting firm exec, on Congressional priorities:

While many nurse recruitment and educational efforts are underway, Congress could help America's nurse shortage by changing visa quotas on the number of internationally experienced nurses allowed entry to America. This House of Representatives has before it H.R.5924, the "Emergency Nursing Supply Relief Act" which will enable qualified nurses to move to America as well as provide a fund to help "grow our own."  The Act is important because nurses save patient lives and, today, patient safety is at risk because of the shortage. 
 
It was with excitement that I tuned in to Wednesday's proceedings of The House Committee on the Judiciary which, in these last few days of this Congress, had 5924 on the agenda. Did the Committee take action to help sick Americans?  No.  Instead, the Committee spent its time discussing a bill that prevents horses from being slaughtered for food.  I love horses (and not as a food source) but it is outrageous "Horse Slaughter" is a national priority worthy of our Congress' time when a matter such as the nurse shortage goes unresolved once more. --
Ted Merhoff, Beaufort, SC

Here's another letter, on limiting pharmaceutical company gifts to physicians:

I may be incredibly naive (which, at my age, would be pretty remarkable), but I hate to see our entire profession tarred with the brush that paints "we can be bought."  This has become so ridiculous that the drug reps are telling us their companies are unwilling even to provide us with pens, notepads (the paper kind), and other trivial office supplies.  I wonder how Grassley and his colleagues on the Hill would fare if their outside funding were examined as closely - and as publicly - as they are scrutinizing doctors' compensation.  I admit that being provided a large sum to conduct a study for the funding company's product may cause some to yield to temptation, but there are some honest souls out there (aren't there??)  Perhaps it is as my husband once told me, after I had (for the first -- and last -- time) bought a lottery ticket, "You can be bought, but you're not cheap!"  I deplore the expectation that seems to be rampant, that everyone is dishonest and unethical.  I don't believe that it is so. -- Tennessee MD

Readers, I'm always grateful for your insights and interested in your opinions, so keep the letters coming. We value your input! - Anne

Other Editor's Corners from Anne:
FierceHealthFinance (9/17): Riskier investments mean new role for healthcare investment leaders
FierceHealthIT (9/15): Patient permission for health data sharing still a big stumbling block
FierceHealthcare (9/12): Health plan mergers deserve tough scrutiny

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