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Newsday letters to the editor for Thursday, July 6, 2017

Dr. Robin Dacosta, left, and Dr. Mohammed Azaz

Dr. Robin Dacosta, left, and Dr. Mohammed Azaz at the primary care practice they run in Ronkonkoma on June 19, 2017. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Flag tribute was inappropriate

In 2008, my son, Marine Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, was killed in Iraq at the age of 19. He was credited with saving the lives of 50 people and was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions. When he died, the American flag flew at half-staff in front of his high school.

In the article “Deaths on a dirt bike” [News, June 23], I read that the superintendent ordered that flags be flown at half-staff in the William Floyd school district in memory of two students who were killed while riding a stolen dirt bike.

My question is, why did this superintendent choose to cheapen the true intent of a lowered flag in such a way? This insults veterans and gold star families.

Christian Haerter, Sag Harbor

Require insurance to cover mental health

I concur with Newsday’s editorial about the speed of health reform [“If plan is good, no need to rush,” June 28]. Republicans have been waiting seven years to decimate Obamacare. Why did they rush through the Senate plan and get very little input from colleagues on either side of the aisle? More time to have a bipartisan study of the plan might go a long way.

One potential tragedy the editorial neglected to mention was the possibility of giving states the option to remove mental health care from insurance plans.

Without adequate medical care, hospitalizations, therapies and appropriate medicines, Americans with mental health issues could be left to fend for themselves. Most assuredly, the results will be nothing less than tragic.

David J. Sills, Oceanside

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the board of directors at the Queens-Nassau chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Many sides to loss of independent docs

The article “Weighing their options” [Business, June 25] was an excellent overview of the reasons why independent physicians join larger groups. But it should also be pointed out that such affiliations are beneficial to patients as well.

Because of my affiliation with Northwell Health, I have access to an immense network of specialty care services should my patients need them. I am able to refer seamlessly, and with total confidence, to members of our group who share the same goals and commitment to patient care.

Patients often express trepidation when they learn that their health care provider — including physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants — is joining a group. They should instead ask how they can take advantage of the health care opportunities that such an affiliation offers.

Dr. Eric C. Last, Wantagh

Editor’s note: The writer is an attending physician at Northwell Health Physician Partners General Internal Medicine.


I’m one of five partners in a large pediatric practice, RBK Pediatrics, with 11 physicians, three pediatric nurse practitioners, three offices and an urgent care clinic. We are one of the ever-shrinking number of practices remaining independent.

As your article states, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to remain that way. Because of our size and extended hours, we’ve been able to get better reimbursement from the insurance companies than a solo practice — but certainly not at the level that the hospitals can command.

However, expenses are increasing exponentially. We have higher costs for technology, which is essential to meet quality measures of various government agencies. This is in addition to the usual cost-of-living increases for rent and office and medical supplies.

Another issue that will continue to increase the number of doctors in hospital practices is the lure of regular hours and decreased administrative duties.

Patients want to be taken care of in a “mom and pop” environment, but also want extended hours and services. Clearly, it is hard to accomplish both. My fear is that in the future there will be no more private practices.

Dr. Neil Bellovin, Port Jefferson

End the recreational eating contests

Please end wasteful, useless recreational eating contests [“Still chomp-ions,” News, July 5]. There is far too much hunger and disordered eating in this world.

Susan McBride Setauket