Readers React

More people have insurance, but can they see a doctor?

To the editor: Thanks for publishing Sandy Banks' moving and passionate piece about her relationship with her retiring physician. ("Goodbye to a trusted doctor, hello to the healthcare wilderness," Jan. 16)

Unfortunately, America has a shortage of 125,000 mostly primary care physicians, and soon we will be short about 1 million nurses. The Affordable Care Act gave insurance to millions yet failed to address our lack of care providers. In California alone, we already have access problems for those 11.5 million with Medi-Cal.

Perhaps Banks can use her stellar skills and articulate to Congress the need to build and expand more medical and nursing schools as well as to create incentives so that doctors like hers are motivated not to totally retire. With Republican-represented rural areas and Democratic-represented inner cities affected the most, perhaps this would be an area for compromise in Washington.

Howard C. Mandel, MD, Los Angeles

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To the editor: My eyes filled with tears as I read Banks' column, for I will be in the same situation in May.

Although really too young and skilled to retire, my doctor and friend of more than 10 years will soon close his doors. He is tired of dealing with the bureaucratic maze that drains his time from his patients, family and friends.

Even his colleagues view him as the last of a breed. He always personally calls you back, and unlike many his field, he admits when he does not know something and agrees to research your concerns.

I feel sorry for my future doctor, for this physician will have a lot to live up to.

Robin Meyers, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: Banks hit a nerve in her Saturday article about her doctor retiring. It was a well-written piece, and I could identify with her predicament of losing her doctor to retirement.

My doctor (in his 60s) and the UCLA Medical Group have recently gone to an online medical record system. This has resulted in more time on the computer and less with the patient. Nurses and doctors spend an inordinate amount of time typing medical information into the computer and only brief moments speaking to the patient.

This can't be called progress.

Mindy Taylor-Ross, Venice

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