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NME Misses Point of Health-Care System

May 26, 1991

Your story on National Medical Enterprises and Chief Executive Richard K. Eamer illustrates the farce that is America's health-care delivery system.

Here is a company that has quadrupled its profits in the past decade, fattening the wallets of Eamer and NME shareholders all at the expense of the people who need health care the most.

According to the article, NME's mental health facilities are being squeezed by low margins. Consequently, we are seeing more sick people back on our streets, long before they should be. Yet Eamer calls health care one of America's "great bargains," and says more attention needs to be paid to "inner-city blight, drugs and unwed mothers."

These are exactly the people who need counseling and medical help. Is Eamer so engrossed with his bottom line that he forgets what a hospital is for? Be it a for-profit or a nonprofit hospital, it should be a resource for the community, not a cash cow.

Will the new NME hospital, which is opening in the center of an inner-city neighborhood, continue to practice its "apartheid medicine," as one analyst described it? Will it ignore the people who need health care the most--those right in its own back yard--in favor of the lucrative, fully insured Beverly Hills set? If NME's track record is an indication, the answer is obvious.

CALVIN SCOTT, Long Beach

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