To the editor:
We have not heard much in our State of Florida about health care reform. I know that Lee Memorial Health System I and the Community Health Center are getting ready. I feel also that most of the educational institutions are prepared to train any additional workforce needed.
This is the first time health care reform has addressed the disparities that exist in our health care system. There is an attempt to give service and voice to the underrepresented in main stream care, i.e. rural America, inner city dwellers, poor, minorities, and the elderly.
Funding directed to increase Primary Care Provider training has been made. Earnings of Primary Care Physicians have been increased. There is still a projected shortage of Primary Care doctors. To relieve this shortage the Medical Home may be led by physicians, physician assistants, or nurse practitioners. The nurse managed health center will be led by nurse practitioners. Using electronic health records and care coordination teams can care for larger numbers of patients than the doctor alone. So far, the research has been positive, work and analysis is ongoing. Funding to strengthen the Community Health Center has been ongoing, also funding to increase staffing and training at long-term care centers has been implemented. This means that individuals living in these areas not only have some better health care, but with some effort can become part of the health care team.
I feel we are missing an opportunity to enhance this growth by not excepting our role as State and local government should. The Medicaid expansion should be excepted. Some funding could be directed to educating and retraining under and unemployed individuals to get better health care for themselves and to move out of poverty and Medicaid levels.
We need to move forward and stop the interest based or ideological opposition. This opposition has created a negative climate to health care and our citizens are being denied the care they deserve.
Lewis Robinson, M.D.