I was encouraged to see the matter of health care for the homeless addressed in the June 11 editorial "Doctors for the Homeless." I would like to mention that in Montgomery County, we have maintained a regular program of medical care at the Chase Partnership Men's Shelter in Gaithersburg.
The care is delivered by four volunteer physicians (one of whom is president of the Medical Society) who serve in a weekly rotation. We have maintained uninterrupted medical care in this four-year-old program. This care has been rendered at no cost to the taxpayers since the medications needed and other supplies such as examining tables and diagnostic equipment have been donated by physicians in the Medical Society. Never has any physician in our group voiced even a slight concern about the threat of a malpractice suit.
While it is comforting to know that the American Tort Law Reform Association has been actively working on the liability problems, I feel safe in saying that most physicians, when confronted with a need as great as health care for the homeless, would proceed to deliver that care without concern for any potential litigation.
It is hoped that our pilot program in Gaithersburg ultimately will serve as a prototype for similar programs in other counties.
Admittedly, obstetrics is a high-risk specialty, and the concern of the obstetricians is clearly warranted in the present litigious atmosphere. I am hopeful, however, that the combined efforts of the medical and legal communities will ultimately resolve the problems in delivering care to the disenfranchised. HOWARD I. LEVINE, M.D. Rockville