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Doctors Who Charge Fees Are Not Immoral

November 18, 1990

The Los Angeles County Medical Assn. appreciates the generous support that FHP International Corp. has provided for the Los Angeles Regional Poison Control Center, which the medical association owns, operates and underwrites.

On the other hand, we strongly disagree with the assertion by its founder and chief executive, Dr. Robert Gumbiner, that physicians who charge fees are basically immoral, "HMO Iron Man Leaves Quite a Health Legacy," (Nov. 4). This blanket condemnation of more than 70% of all physicians makes no more sense than the statement that all HMO physicians are immoral because they withhold services from patients to generate more income.

Morality and ethics are neither guaranteed nor excluded by any particular system of health care.

They depend on the character of the physicians, other health-care providers, insurance companies and administrators who are responsible for delivering that care. And fortunately whether fee for service or HMO, that character is, with few exceptions, unimpeachable.

DAVID CHERNOF

President

Los Angeles County Medical Assn.

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