Prescriptions for Health-Care Reform

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

David Ignatius ["A Medical Revolution Via the Cleveland Clinic," op-ed, Sept. 6] referred largely to matters of group practice, payment arrangements and preventive medicine when he wrote that the president "saw what works when he visited the Cleveland Clinic." But just as important for "reforming the health-care system" is the doctor-patient relationship.

Last month, I e-mailed the Cleveland Clinic to inquire about testing and treatment because an in-state doctor to whom I was referred for a troubling issue could not see me for two months. The next morning, a clinic representative phoned to offer me an appointment within 10 days. I flew to Cleveland, where doctors in two specialties each met me at the precise hour of my appointment; took thorough histories and answered my many questions; offered diagnoses and treatment options that I got nowhere else; and coordinated my care with each other and with my local doctor. Each Cleveland doctor has followed up with me since I returned home.

I'm still amazed at how moving -- and unusual -- it felt to be treated with this kind of respect and skill when seeking health care. President Obama should listen to the Cleveland Clinic's patients as well as to its administrators.

BARBARA J. KING

Wicomico, Va.

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