As a resident of Orange County and a staff member at UCI Medical Center, I appreciated the June 23 editorial headlined "Shortchanging Medical Care," as it reflected an understanding of the medical center's role in the community as well as the primary sources of its financial woes.
It is a fact that for better or worse, whatever happens to the medical center in the future will have a direct impact on the quality and quantity of medical services to county residents and health care providers. The demise of medical center programs and services will not only impact county residents' access to medical services but will also increase pressures on other health care providers to fill the gap.
Given a chance to succeed, programs such as the neonatal intensive-care unit have had the effect of enhancing the quality of neonatal medicine being provided to patients at the medical center, as well as at other hospitals.
If any doubt remains about the quality of health care services being provided at Orange County's university hospital, ask any of the many UCI Medical Center staff, including myself, why we prefer to use medical center physicians and services rather than those of other facilities. Aside from the impact of underreimbursement by public payers, such as the county and state, the crux of the projected $11-million deficit is that the medical center refuses to compromise or sacrifice the quality of services for any of its patients--fully funded or not!
TIMOTHY J. OGATA