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Want better health care? Support doctors

Johns Hopkins Hospital

A historic week! First Johns Hopkins Hospital suffers a huge judgment ("Waverly family awarded $55 million in lawsuit," June 27) and then the Supreme Court upholds the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Reform moves ahead," June 29).

I serve as secretary of the Baltimore County Medical Association, but I speak for myself. I am sorry there ever a bad obstetric outcome for a family. It is clear mothers can expect to earn millions of dollars by trying to have their baby at home, waiting two hours into an obstetric emergency, having an injured child, and suing the receiving hospital in an easy legal venue. I suggest that no medical care be provided in either Baltimore City orPrince George's County. These two venues are responsible for half the jury awards in the state, and physicians are twice as liable in them as anywhere else. Failure of tort reform must have an impact on access to care. Real reform must be passed by our legislature.

While the ACA was upheld, the battle for affordable primary care is not over. The Baltimore urban area remains the worst reimbursed in the nation. Community associations should consider providing office space and loan abatement to prospective and existing primary care physicians to assure access to care that preempts the need for expensive specialist or emergency care later. Even as slightly more primary care doctors are trained, they must follow the money to hope to pay off crushing debt.

If Marylanders want care access, they must demand fair rates of reimbursement for their physician or risk losing her to another state.

Theodore Houk, Lutherville

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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