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The Baltimore Sun

Tougher oversight for walk-in clinics

Most of the primary care colleagues I speak to about after-hours centers and walk-in clinics are concerned about the implications for medical practice of the practices discussed in Jay Hancock's column "Convenient mall walk-in clinics fill an unmet need" (Sept. 13).

The increasing fragmentation of medical care, the emphasis on quick diagnoses and the private practice model for primary care medicine are all worrisome trends that profoundly affect the quality of care.

Scarcely a day goes by in which I don't have to undo the poor diagnoses and treatment of my patients in such centers.

We need to hold all sites for medical care to the same standard of quality.

This will happen only when consumers demand increased oversight of walk-in clinics from insurance companies and government regulators.

Dr. Dan Levy, Towson

The writer is a former president of the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Nurses may not know what they don't know

As a physician for almost 40 years, I read with interest Jay Hancock's column "Convenient mall walk-in clinics fill an unmet need" (Sept. 13).

The reality in medicine is that common things occur commonly and rare things occur rarely.

Almost all cases of sore throats, swimmer's ear and pinkeye are just sore throats, swimmer's ear and pinkeye, and perhaps these ailments can be safely treated by a nurse practitioner.

However, my concern about nurse practitioners is that the real problem in medicine is not what you don't know, it's what you don't know that you don't know.

Sometimes nurse practitioners think they know more than they do and miss important signs and symptoms of a more serious problem.

Dr. Leon Reinstein, Baltimore

Slots commitments not to be trusted

I enjoyed reading C. Fraser Smith's column about the referendum on bringing slots to Maryland ("Good timing for bad move," Commentary, Sept. 14). I hope that slots will be approved and that our state politicians will honor their commitment to education.

However, I have listened to our state politicians for far too long and know that they are incapable of honoring any commitment to the citizens of Maryland.

What we have in Maryland politics is a "good-old-boy network" in which they look after each other and secure their own future at the expense of the electorate.

The year 2010 is not far ahead, and the voters will be taking back control of our destiny in Maryland. No current elected state official is in a safe seat.

The citizens are fed up and ready to take our state back and lower taxes and reduce spending immediately.

Robert L. Worsham, Millersville

McCain maneuvers on market regulation

Will the real Sen. John McCain please stand up?

For years, he was the faithful Republican party-liner, bashing government regulation.

Now, after eight years of deregulation of our financial markets, the financial temple is crashing down around our ears and the administration is lending billions to firms that overreached ("U.S. giving AIG $85 billion loan," Sept. 17).

And, marvelous to behold, Mr. McCain is calling for more regulation.

If he is elected president, will we get the 2000 McCain or the 2008 McCain? John Culleton, Eldersburg

Paralympians earn equal attention

It is time that our Paralympians receive equal status with the Olympians when it comes to news coverage.

The Beijing Olympics in August was constantly on TV and on the front page and sports section of The Baltimore Sun.

A two- or three-inch column about the Paralympics in The Baltimore Sun hardly does justice to the obstacles that the Paralympians had to overcome to compete in Beijing.

Paralympians deserve coverage from the media that is equal to the attention the nondisabled Olympians received.

Benjamin J. Dubin, Baltimore

The writer is vice chairman of the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities.

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