Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday’s letters: House bill not in patients’ best interests

Florida House Bill 81

Bill not in patients’ best interests

Florida legislators are considering a bill prohibiting hospitals and health plans from requiring board certified physicians to periodically demonstrate they are current with the latest advances in their medical specialty.

Florida House Bill 81 makes it illegal for hospitals and health insurers to consider Maintenance of Certification, or MOC, a program board certified physicians participate in to maintain their certification, when deciding whether to give privileges.

This legislation represents a new mandate for private organizations regarding what they can and cannot consider when making credentialing decisions. More importantly, it puts patients at risk by lowering the standard for specialty care.

Physicians supporting HB 81 believe that once certified, physicians should always have the privilege of holding themselves out as medical experts and should not have to demonstrate they are staying up to date through periodic review.

Research indicates that expert knowledge and skills decline over time. This, coupled with today’s rapid pace of advances in medical science and knowledge, makes it difficult for physicians to know what they don’t know. MOC helps physicians focus their learning over the course of their careers so they are current with developments in their specialty.

Treating patients is an honor and responsibility. We applaud physicians demonstrating their commitment to medical excellence. We support patients’ rights to choose a board certified doctor, and the right of hospitals and health care organizations to require certification to meet their communities’ needs. The Legislature should put patients’ interests first and support high standards for specialty care by not supporting HB 81.

Rebecca L. Johnson, M.D., Tampa

The writer is CEO of the American Board of Pathology.

Tax impact light in Fla. | Nov. 4

Bill needs a closer look

Your lead story Saturday claims the federal tax bill being proposed has little impact on Floridians. As a tax professional, I disagree.

To the extent we have more senior citizens than other states, losing the deduction for medical expenses hurts us more.

And since our wages are lower than the national average, losing the earned income tax credit hurts Florida disproportionately.

Anyone trying to get ahead by going back to school or moving for a better job would lose the deductions for student loan interest and moving expenses.

This bill deserves a closer look.

Dena Lebowitz, South Pasadena

26 slain in latest horror | Nov. 6

It’s not too soon

Why is it that when an immigrant kills eight people with a truck in New York, there is an immediate call for closing borders to Muslims; but in the aftermath of an American-born Air Force veteran killing 26 people in a church with a rifle, it is too soon to talk about gun control?

Larry Bush, Tampa

Unresponsive senator

Recently, I called the toll-free telephone number provided on Sen. Marco Rubio’s website for constituents in the Tampa Bay area since he does not have an office here. The phone rang and rang — no voicemail came on, let alone a real person. I wanted to ask the senator to take action to prevent the sale of military-style weapons in light of the mass murder at the Baptist church in Texas. I wonder why I am even wasting my time. Our senator is not interested in my opinion. I am not a member of the wealthy donor class that he and far too many of politicians bow down to.

Susie Hoeller, Land O’Lakes

Congress must act

Congress must address our crisis of gun violence. It is not enough to explain away this latest Texas tragedy of mass shooting by shifting the explanation simply to mental illness as President Donald Trump suggested.

Our country has too many guns in circulation. We have laws that are not systematically enforced. We have gun sale loopholes. And we have a culture of denial based on a rigid understanding of the Second Amendment.

We need Congress to address the gun proliferation problem in our country. I am appalled that many members of Congress deny the problem or defer to the NRA’s explanations.

Yes, the problem of gun proliferation is complex and also a consequence of the glorification of violence offered by the entertainment industry. However, can we honestly deny that tragic gun deaths of innocent people are not connected to weak enforcement of laws and the reluctance of our legislators to offend the NRA?

President Trump is wrong. The Texas massacre is a gun problem.

Antonia Lewandowski, Largo

Sensible steps to take

We cannot pass a law against mental illness. We can pass a law against the sale of assault rifles, and we can increase, not decrease, funding for the social services safety net that reduces psychological and social breakdowns, including universal health care.

Edward Renner, Largo

Close the loopholes

Americans compose roughly 4 percent of the world’s population but own 42 percent of all civilian firearms. Even with that large amount of guns, we still don’t have the necessary background checks to go with them. I am calling on Congress to draft legislation that closes loopholes that permit people to purchase guns without undergoing background checks from private entities, gun shows and websites. This idea currently has the support of over 80 percent of gun owners.

Chloe Wells, Gulfport


Wednesday’s letters: How we plan to improve foster care in Hillsborough

Improving foster care inHillsborough | April 19, editorialOur plans for helping kidsThis editorial poses many good questions. The Department of Children and Families’ peer review report is expected to be released soon. And while we welcome the an...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Pasco Letters to the Editor for April 27

Stop Ridge Road extension, reader saysWhen I spoke at the Dade City meeting of the Pasco County Commissioners on my opposition to the Ridge Road Extension, three of them responded, but only when my three minutes of free speech expired, and I could sa...
Published: 04/23/18

Monday’s letters: Term limits don’t work

U.S. Senate campaignTerm limitsdon’t workGov. Rick Scott has begun his run for the U.S. Senate with TV ads promoting term limits for representatives and senators. Aside from the probability that this would require a constitutional amendment, I think ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18

Sunday’s letters: Problems with high-speed rail

Thanks, Gov. Scott, for ghastly I-4 drives | April 18, Sue Carlton columnProblems with high-speed railIn her Wednesday column, the writer bemoaned the traffic on I-4 and blasted Gov. Rick Scott for turning down free government money for a high-sp...
Published: 04/21/18

Tuesday’s letters: Student journalists push to save their newsrooms and independence

Save student newsroomsAs professional newsrooms shrink, student newsrooms have become an increasingly important source of local coverage, holding not only our universities accountable but also local government. We write these articles, attending meet...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18