ISSUE | MEDICAL RECORDS

Quack criticism

If President Obama developed a cure for cancer, Charles Krauthammer would attack him for exceeding his authority as president and hurting the careers of oncologists ("From doctor to provider," June 1).

In Krauthammer's flawed criticism of electronic medical record keeping, he cites one study that showed family physicians spend on average 48 minutes a day doing documentation. But a family doctor can see anywhere from 20 to 30 patients a day and work from eight to 10 hours. That would mean about two minutes per patient doing documentation, or about 10 percent of the doctor's time.

Krauthammer cries wolf so often that only the blindly loyal come running.

|George Magakis Jr., Norristown

Better medicine

I have been involved in the practice of medicine for more than 40 years and have read office notations that were bad to poor in quality: illegible, incomplete, and with no significant data recorded ("From doctor to provider," June 1).

Sorry, Charles Krauthammer, the laissez-faire days of medical practice are gone not because of government intrusion orchestrated by President Obama, but because of the progress in documentation that electronic medical records provide.

|P.M. Procacci, M.D., Moorestown

ISSUE | SHALE TAX

Wolf's false hope

Several critical facts were glaringly absent from the pitch for higher energy taxes by the governor's policy director ("Gas tax needed," June 4).

There was no mention that Gov. Wolf's massive energy tax represents the nation's highest, according to the state's nonpartisan Independent Fiscal Office. Further, both Wolf and the fiscal office have acknowledged that it will increase energy costs. Additionally, Inquirer news coverage clearly outlined how Wolf's tax would fall woefully short of generating $1 billion.

In fact, Wolf's proposal creates a false hope for children by suggesting that systemic education problems will disappear. He should stop leveraging children with nearsighted rhetoric and start leading Pennsylvania.

|Jim Welty, Marcellus Shale Coalition, Harrisburg

ISSUE | KIDNEY DISEASE

A selfless organ donation changed a life

One Sunday during coffee hour at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Cherry Hill, where I am a longtime member, I shared news of my years-long battle with kidney disease. Four members of the church soon volunteered to donate one of their kidneys, and all four were tested. These were brave people, the kind who run to - not away from - a fire. As a result, I now have the best gift.

On April 30, Chris Spirgel of Moorestown donated her kidney to me in an act of generosity and dedication that astounds me. Doctors have confirmed that the kidney Chris gave me and the one she kept are both very good. We are each recovering well.

I wanted to share this story and suggest that anyone curious about kidney donations can learn more from the following resources: the Gift of Life Donor Program, at donors1.org; the United Network for Organ Sharing, at unos.org; the National Kidney Foundation, at kidney.org; and the Penn Medicine transplant program, at pennmedicine.org/transplant. As many as 100,000 people are waiting for a kidney at any given time, typically waiting more than three years.

|Greg Newcomer, Moorestown

ISSUE | URBAN RENEWAL

Promise along Ridge Avenue may be elusive

Regarding the Philadelphia Housing Authority's plans to transform a neighborhood through eminent domain, I have the feeling that we've seen this movie before ("Renewal of Ridge Avenue being envisioned by PHA," June 3). In the name of progress in the 1950s and 1960s, government agencies tore down neighborhoods all over Philadelphia.

What did we get in return? Housing projects like Martin Luther King Plaza, Raymond Rosen, Mill Creek, Schuylkill Falls, Cambridge Plaza, Mantua Hall, Southwark, Paschall - it's a list of failed projects that goes on and on.

As the humorist P.J. O'Rourke once said, "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

We shouldn't fall for that again.

|Jonathan S. Goldstein, Narberth

ISSUE | JEWISH EXPONENT

Change means survival for newspaper

The idea that Philadelphia, whose Jewish population ranks third in the nation and which is home to the National Museum of American Jewish History, would be without its own Jewish newspaper was something we could not accept ("Jewish Exponent lays off editorial staff," June 4). That is why we made the difficult decision to partner with a media company that can help us overcome the financial challenges that threatened the existence of the Exponent.

Had we done nothing, and had the Exponent continued to lose $300,000 annually, the result would have been inevitable. And instead of having to let go only members of our editorial team - several of whom are being hired by our new partner - we would have had to shutter the operation or turn it into a newsletter. In either case, many more jobs would have been lost. That now will not happen.

While a company in Baltimore will handle production, we will maintain oversight of content. A new managing editor will be hired in Philadelphia, along with a team of local writers telling local stories.

|Jay Minkoff, chairman, and Daniel Bacine, past chairman, Jewish Publishing Group; Steven Rosenberg, publisher's representative, general manager, Jewish Exponent, Philadelphia