Support for Seton, First Satiric, Then Serious

RECEIVED Wed., June 16, 2004

Dear Editor,
   Lactation services have been cut ["No Mother's Milk Here: Hospitals Cut Breast-Feeding Support," News, June 4]. The world will end, and Seton is to blame. For eons children have been breast-fed, but now Seton and Seton alone controls this information; no, this information will now be lost forever. As Mr. Kelly wisely points out ["Postmarks Online," June 10], Seton provides OB/GYN services because it is profitable. The Medicaid reimbursement is so lucrative as to explain why there are so many private-practice OB/GYN doctors that accept it in lieu of private insurance or cash.
   Seton's mission of providing charitable services has been a lie. They and the city are in it for the "bottom line," as Mr. Kelly suggests. However, they, unlike private services, do not maximize profits to their full potential. They don't charge enough for expensive medical services, requiring their patients to be privately insured thus increasing revenues. Seeing how there are so many other hospitals and medical groups stampeding to treat Austin's working poor and uninsured, it is interesting to note that Seton has even bothered to compete in this cash-cow market. They actually spent money on these people, over $100 million in medical and community/social services. The insensitivity is as shameful as the ingratitude for services given by organizations that provide charity when no one else is willing or able to do so.
Alex Aguirre
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