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County Doctors

October 22, 1995

* I read with interest "County Targets Doctors in Fraud Probe" (Oct 15). Apparently, it takes a fiscal "crisis" for an endemic problem to be noticed.

I resigned as associate medical director of the County-USC outpatient AIDS clinic in August, 1992, out of frustration over poor staffing by the clinic of doctors. Despite $1 million designated by the Board of Supervisors over a two-year period to provide 10 additional physicians to work in the AIDS clinic, we had no increase in staffing, and had to close our doors repeatedly to extremely sick HIV-positive patients. The private USC hospital had opened the year before, and I suspected, although could not prove, that many of the physicians who were paid to staff the AIDS clinic were spending much of their time at the new hospital, to their own and their department's financial benefit. After I and others had complained, the Board of Supervisors promised an "audit," which to my knowledge has never been performed. I watch in dismay as we struggle with yet another county health "crisis" that is leading to layoffs of so many dedicated and caring workers. Longstanding waste and lack of accountability have contributed heavily to the situation.

Shame on the Board of Supervisors for feigning deafness until the screams of those in need are themselves deafening.

JEANNIE BREWER MD

Calabasas

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