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OUR HEALTH CARE IS FINE NOW, BUT WATCH OUT

Having read the most recent Irwin Bross letter on the local medical community, I am compelled to respond to the opinions he spews forth in his diatribe.

The state of medical/surgical expertise in Buffalo is not obsolete, as he alleges. In many areas, Buffalo presents and represents services that are on the frontiers of academic and clinical medicine.

It is widely acknowledged that Buffalo possesses one of the finest cancer hospitals, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Our hospitals' clinical-teaching programs rank high in regard throughout the nation. Furthermore, Buffalo is acclaimed for both quality and low-cost medical care and services.

Our cardiothoracic procedures qualify with the best available. Community hospitals are incapable of affording the costs of establishing an infrastructure to support the delivery of such advanced procedures. Such expertise comes only after long years of in-depth, arduous training to develop the necessary skills and aptitude to become an adept, competent surgeon, internist or oncologist.

Sophisticated services not only abound in Buffalo for adult medicine, but our Children's Hospital provides for the development and application of a multitude of life-saving technologies utilized throughout the world.

Critics of the medical community laud the health-insurance industry for their frugality. However, what they practice under the guise of thrifty management is exactly what the real estate and banking industries were condemned for, i.e. "red-lining," carving out and excluding the least profitable segment of the population.

Much funding is spent on competitive advertising rather than what is professed to be their primary obligation: providing health-care coverage. What does the consumer receive for their premium? Glossy brochures promising the "finest available in care and unlimited choices." Not until one actually reads the fine print does it become apparent it is mostly "gloss," and there is much that is excluded. They are the folks who still insist that "drive-through deliveries" should be the standard. It took congressional action to reverse it.

We Buffalonians in 1996 have much to be thankful for, and our existing medical system is among the most precious. Preserve it, support it, before it is no longer. By the time frugal, self-serving profiteering health-insurers get through, what we will have is a system in which most of our care is provided by nurse practitioners and physician extenders. Office hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed weekends. "Stand in line -- take a number, please."

Morton Paul Klein, M. D. Williamsville

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