Originally created 11/14/97

Calls MAG editorial 'misleading'



On behalf of the members and board of trustees of the Richmond County Medical Society, I am responding to some comments in the Nov. 3 editorial "Massey vs. MAG" which I believe are wrong or misleading.

The issues relate to an audit of the Composite Board of Medical Examiners by KPMG Peat Marwick. The editorial suggests that "much of the criticism fell on examiners' Executive Director Andrew Watry, who resigned after 17 years in the post."

But the Peat Marwick report stated that "the executive director has a substantial amount of knowledge about the working of medical boards and the state of the art in his profession." In a letter to Watry, the auditors stated "... The Board is fortunate to have you as its Executive Director."

The real problem identified by the auditors is inadequate staff and technological support for the Board, as James Salzer pointed out in his Oct. 31 article. Appointing new board members is not the way to address the staff and technological support needs of the board.

I also take issue with the editorial statement "MAG, on the other hand, is also suspect." Suspect for what? For repeatedly encouraging and supporting allocation of much needed resources to the Composite Board so that the Board can adequately do its job of protecting Georgia's citizens from bad medicine?

In describing the Medical Association of Georgia, the editorial says "It primarily protects doctors." This too carries an unjustified negative connotation. Yes, MAG is very supportive of its physician members. No organization worth its salt would deny that it must support its members' best interests. However, MAG's laudable goal is, and has always been, to protect the physician-patient relationship and to ensure the highest quality of medical care for the people of Georgia. ...

Jack L. Lesher, Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is president of the Richmond County Medical Society.)