The comments of Nancy Dickey, M.D., president of the American Medical Association, are on track ("In duel over anti-fraud plan, docs wearing the black hats," Outliers, March 8, p. 72). Asking Medicare beneficiaries to fight fraud by spotting and reporting suspected incorrect billing creates an adversarial tone and trivializes the doctor-patient relationship. But that's what the federal government and the American Association of Retired Persons have done.
The statement that "when the public relations boat sailed, the physicians were left on the dock" implies that because doctors didn't go along with the fraud-campaign nonsense, they were somehow out of touch.
The physician-patient relationship is being assaulted at many levels, much to healthcare's loss. It is time for those in the business end of healthcare to realize that if they don't start appreciating the real value of the most important component of our healthcare system, they will be party to a great loss to our society. Those on the business end would not have their high-profile, high-salary jobs without the doctors, those on the front lines of care.
R.D. Veitschegger Jr., M.D.
Western Kentucky Diagnostic Imaging
Bowling Green, Ky.