Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011: Medical records, small-business regulation and corporate America

Posted Oct. 10, 2011, at 5:46 p.m.

Impotent board

In a complaint to the Maine State Board of Licensure in Medicine regarding questionable physician behavior I stated that I could not get my records from a local physician. The board never helped me obtain them until it occurred to me to call the Attorney General’s office a year later, and the Attorney General told the board to provide my record in its entirety if requested.

From personal experience, I can attest that the board is apparently not here to serve and protect the public, but instead serve to protect physician licensure and the institutions that generate revenue and have influence. Concern for the public’s rights is a secondary issue. If the physicians of this board adequately policed unethical behavior there would likely be fewer lawsuits and errors that cause people harm, not only in the physical sense, but in their attempts to correct inaccurate diagnoses and flawed medical records and the multiple effects these have on one’s life.

Until physicians actually cause serious harm, they will never be confronted with substantial disciplinary action from the board, and then it will likely be in the form of patient harm or of a lawsuit.

Linda Bennett

Charleston

Misrepresented solutions

Recently, the BDN paper published an OpEd by Nate Libby, “Collins’ ‘time-out’ not the right call,” on Sen. Susan Collins’ regulatory time-out bill. Unfortunately, Mr. Libby’s OpEd distracts from the true problems facing job creators in Maine and misrepresents the solutions.

The OpEd categorized Sen. Collins’ bill as a “blanket roadblock” to implementing regulations. But regulations themselves are often roadblocks to business growth. One study by the Small Business Administration and Lafayette University shows that small businesses are faced with compliance costs of $10,585 per employee each year.

Sen. Collins’ bill would simply take a balanced approach by placing a temporary moratorium on rules that cost more than $100 million dollars per year. The moratorium would not apply to health, safety, criminal justice, military or foreign affairs rules and it would not prevent the enforcement of regulations currently on the books.

Small businesses need a breather from the regulations pouring out of federal agencies. Last year, the Federal Register grew by 82,600 pages and, with 4,200 more regulations in the pipeline, our job creators need all the help they can get.

At the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, we represent over 5,000 businesses, 89 percent of which are small businesses. Contrary to Mr. Libby’s claims, there is business support for Sen. Collins’ regulatory time-out proposal.

We do agree with Mr. Libby that businesses “depend on sensible standards and reasonable rules to create the foundation for business success.” That is what Sen. Collins is trying to do.

Dana Connors

President

Maine State Chamber of Commerce

Pay attention now

Wall Street protests and growing media reports show a groundswell of public outrage that will shape the next election. America is in trouble on all fronts.

In their insightful new book, “That Used to Be Us,” Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum detail what’s wrong with America and how to fix it. Five pillars that made this country great are all in decline: public education, infrastructure, immigration, research and development and regulation.

As a nation, we have become dumber, fatter, lazier, older, poorer and unemployed. We also have allowed a corporate-run government, paid off by the rich, to redirect most of the wealth against the common good. If we don’t reverse this downward spiral, we will be left behind a developing world to face a bleak, painful future.

We are still a great people. We have used our creative diversity and collective will before to defeat insurmountable odds, and we must do so again now. We have a year to find and elect extraordinary, bold leaders who will face reality, tell the truth and show the way.

Corrupted, partisan obstructionists must be swept aside. We have to bite the bullet and make the investments and fair sacrifices that will restore our leadership in the world.

It will take all of us to do that. Many groups, like the Wall Street demonstrators and the American Dream Movement, are fighting back. Let’s pay attention and support them any way we can, while we still have a chance to save our country.

David Estey

Belfast

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