As a surgeon in the Twin Cities working for a private-practice oncology group for the last 20-plus years, I read with special care the medical articles that the Star Tribune publishes. The Sept. 16 article “Mayo rolls out its new health system” was not worthy of front-page news, and it really would have been more appropriate as a paid advertisement.
The fact that the Mayo Clinic is only now, in 2017, investing in an electronic medical record (EMR) purchased from Epic is newsworthy only in that they are so far behind the clinics and hospitals in the Twin Cities. All the major private-practice groups of independent doctors invested in this costly and painful-to-implement way of recording patient visits years, sometimes decades, ago. All of the hospital systems have done so as well. Most of us don’t have the major fundraising abilities that the Mayo Clinic has. None of us have had our entire towns receive massive state subsidies for roads and infrastructure that have been given to Rochester entirely for the Mayo Clinic.
Also, the statement by the Mayo spokesperson that the Mayo systems will now be able to “exchange records with other health systems” is not entirely true. The shame of EMRs is that none of the many systems, despite being essentially the same product from Epic, can directly communicate for a single patient.
So I welcome Mayo to the modern age of EMRs, and any of us docs in the Twin Cities can offer their providers a few pointers and our sympathy as they go live. I request that the Star Tribune cover the still-cumbersome and inefficient process of medical care documentation for all health care providers more accurately and in depth. It is a major source of stress and burnout these days, and would be a much more interesting read.
Dr. Cheryl Bailey, St. Paul
ANTI-SEMITISM AND TODAY’S ISRAEL
Attempt to turn this around on the Jewish people is a disservice
Mere weeks removed from the rally in Charlottesville, Va., where literal Nazis chanted “Jews will not replace us,” a Sept. 16 letter writer argues that the University of Minnesota’s planned focus on anti-Semitism is a “waste” of resources, which should instead be spent on addressing issues with … Israel. In doing so, the letter writer joins a growing number of groups that seek to diminish, if not dismiss outright, rightful concerns about anti-Semitism by referring to Israel (as most recently seen at the Chicago Dyke March, which kicked out Jewish members for holding a “Zionist” symbol — a Jewish star). His appeal goes so far as to resort to the same tired trope employed by these groups for decades — reference to the boogeyman known as AIPAC. These types of deflections do a disservice to Minnesota Jewry.
The University of Minnesota should be applauded for its commitment to the study of anti-Semitism (“U will examine its racist, anti-Semitic history,” Sept. 15). Leave the politics out of it.
Judah Druck, St. Louis Park
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The Sept. 16 letter writer’s comments about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee getting tax money for its lobbying efforts on behalf of Israel was off the mark. AIPAC does not get any tax money, as it relies on contributions from people like me. The letter writer should be concerned instead with the $400 million a year that is our tax money going to the Palestinian National Authority, some of which is used by Hamas to build tunnels into Israel to kill civilians and is also used by President Mahmoud Abbas to reward his people, who enter into Israel to shoot and stab Israeli civilians going to work in Jerusalem.
The letter writer talks about “criminal treatment” of Palestinians by Israel. The 1.5 million Arabs in Israel proper vote in Israel’s elections, and are represented in both the legislature and Israel’s Supreme Court. In what other Arab country are leaders freely elected? Abbas is serving in his 12th year of his four-year term and cannot give the Palestinians on the West Bank all the jobs that Israel’s startup companies there are giving to his people along with good pay and benefits.
Leland Frankman, Hopkins
RACE AND ST. KATE’S
Incident with security officer was aberration, not reflection
I wholeheartedly understand why asking St. Kate’s for an apology over a security officer’s false accusation that he had shot by a black man (“Actions of St. Kate’s officer decried,” Sept. 15) is a way to bring awareness to the oppression of others. But being the parent of a Katie, I also know the message St. Kate’s impresses upon their students is that same awareness of oppression. The NAACP and St. Catherine University share a common interest and goal for people. The university’s only mistake was hiring the wrong individual.
Virginia Peterson, Inver Grove Heights
President DONALD TRUMP
Racist or not? Or, in a separate context: How’s this analogy?
David P. Bryden provides an in-depth discussion of the vagaries of labeling someone a racist — especially as applies to President Donald Trump (counterpoint, Sept. 15). While the discourse is expansive, the term “racist” — like most labels — is subject to a great deal of interpretation. For me, the determination of whether or not Trump is a racist is not that complicated. In 1973, the courts found him guilty of discrimination against blacks in his rental facilities. A finding of legal standing is sufficient for me. He’s a racist.
Can a person who once was a racist become a nonracist? That’s a whole other debate.
If Donald Trump remains a racist, how significant is that, given the level of incompetence, the dishonesty, the conflicts of interest and all the other deficiencies that haunt him? I believe the issue defies simple, absolute answers.
Richard Masur, Minneapolis
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President Trump is a little like Martin Luther, but instead of putting the indulgence-selling, all-powerful Catholic Church in its place, he is putting the (formerly) all-powerful political party establishments in their places.
Martin Luther stood for scripture, not the pope, being the true spiritual guide; the commoners who cooked, farmed and built could be every bit as good Christians as priests and nuns. He sided with the deplorables over the existing hierarchy.
Trump wants to replace the ideologies of the parties with a love of country, with our common folks taking the lead in reclaiming our verve and prosperity. Yes, he is sort of conservative. But even as he seems petty and undisciplined, he stands for big ideas with patriotic themes. That is why when apologists for the do-nothings of either party whine and criticize, they seem even more petty and untethered. Trump’s message is centrist, and powerful. It almost makes one pity his hapless critics.
Kevin Lewis, Hopkins