Billed while in the middle of a miscarriage? That’s what US health care has become

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Billed while in the middle of a miscarriage? That’s what US health care has become


OPINION AND COMMENTARY

Editorials and other Opinion content offer perspectives on issues important to our community and are independent from the work of our newsroom reporters.

Billed

Over 50 years, this physician has seen the system’s focus change from the patient to the shareholders.

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Patients are the last consideration

Monday’s front-page story “Woman billed while miscarrying at local hospital,” about a woman being asked to pay for treatment while she was having a miscarriage is spot on. I started medical school in 1970 and have witnessed 50 years of declining empathy, caring and reasonableness in the practice of medicine and health care delivery. Shareholder return, cost of equipment, reduced reimbursement to providers, patients’ high expectations and insurance takeover of decision-making are among the reasons.

The burdens placed on front-line nurses and the pressures of billing departments on doctors, nurses and administrative staffers are ruining what we need most: caring about how health care is delivered. What has happened to the patient, who is in the middle of all this?

– Lee S. Anderson, Fort Worth

Chaplains provide needed care

Monday’s story about a woman having a miscarriage at a local hospital really touched me. When I was part of the pastoral care department at the Harris Methodist Hospital, we had almost a dozen chaplains on staff — not counting volunteers, mostly clergy. One chaplain focused his or her daily efforts on the emergency room, working with the medical team to support and care for people.

Unfortunately, too many hospital boards and managers see pastoral care as a soft target, easy to eliminate, thus improving their bottom line.

The mental health department has full schedules, leaving support and sympathy to a volunteer cohort of preachers, priests and pastors. Your article didn’t touch on that valuable asset hospitals have.

– James Cooke, Willow Park

This crew isn’t the right one

I keep hearing a lot of the same people who criticized the previous administration for killing an Iranian general responsible for killing American servicemen calling for the U.S. to get involved in Ukraine. That’s all well and good, until the first video of an American plane being shot down hits YouTube.

Do you want the same bunch who planned the Afghanistan withdrawal to plan for Ukraine? Besides the fact that Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are incompetent, they probably have more diversity training to roll out.

Keep in mind, we had only to keep a commitment not to admit Ukraine into NATO. We forget that we almost had a nuclear war when Russia tried to put missiles 90 miles off our coast.

– Chuck Fiedler, Haslet

Ukraine puts us all to a big test

A geopolitical nightmare is an irrational head of state. Russian military commanders anticipated they would easily brush off the Ukrainian military, but they were wrong.

The courage and fortitude of the Ukrainians is inspiring. Humanity is watching the slaughter of innocent noncombatants. The free world and NATO are facing a moment of truth.

This aggressive invasion and slaughter of innocent people must be cut off.

– John P. King, Fort Worth

The US must use its military

President Joe Biden and the United States are not doing enough to support Ukraine as it opposes Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion, which is bringing unimaginable death, destruction and misery to the Ukrainian people.

In one of the greatest humanitarian emergencies of our lifetimes, the United States, a global superpower with unparalleled military resources, must do exceedingly more to aid Ukraine, including providing as many fighter jets as it needs, irrespective of the perceived and associated risks such an action could bring.

Without this aid, Ukraine, a sovereign country of more than 43 million people, will most certainly fall to Russia.

– Lee Enochs, Fort Worth

Priced out of the house market

In the March 9 edition, two headlines tout starter homes for under $300,000 and entry-level homes starting in the $360,000s. (11A) How many young couples recently out of high school or even college, just starting their careers and with hopes of starting a family, can afford home prices like that? Or even middle-aged professionals?

No wonder so many megasized apartment complexes are being built in Tarrant County and the rest of the country. The ultrarich own the apartments and live in big houses. Everybody else will end up living in their apartment buildings.

The government should focus on economic policies to save the middle class, lest America turn into an oligarchy.

– Pat Wertheim, Arlington





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