Letters to the business editor

February 11, 2012 12:00 am

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Private equity firms callous

Andrew T. Greenberg is to be commended for acknowledging that it is not the job of private equity firms to generate jobs but to create value for their investors by creating more efficient, stable businesses. (Business Forum "Private Equity Firms Aren't Meant To Save Jobs," Feb. 4.)

This benign indifference to the plight of the employees of the companies acquired by these equity funds and the funds' quest for "efficiency" is reflected not only in a callous willingness to reduce the workforce but also to impose burdensome wage and benefit reductions on the remaining employees.

These "efficiencies" achieved at the expense of employees are by and large then transferred as earnings to the equity fund managers and investors. Could this be part of the explanation for the decline of the middle class and the huge transfer of wealth to the upper class?

Why should the government subsidize equity funds whose only purpose is to create wealth for their investors and managers by providing hedge fund managers with the 15 percent capital gains tax rate for their earned income, and why have such a low capital gains tax at all?

Mt. Lebanon

EMR too vulnerable right now

"Meeting Health IT Goals is Slow Going." Feb. 12, scrutinizes the reluctant pace the health care industry has taken toward adopting electronic medical records (EMR). While the article points to a number of impediments hindering the wide-scale adoption of EMR, it does not acknowledge, perhaps, the largest deterrent to patient-provider cooperation, which is security.

With the advent of EMR, protected health information has never been more vulnerable to theft. Protected health information is largely unregulated and unprotected, as it is often stored in unencrypted laptops and portable devices. The content of personal health records is used for Medicare fraud, and valuable economic data contained in EMR are sold on the black market. Abuses of EMR typically include theft, hacking and inside-access incidents. Therefore, without increased security measures, data breaches like those mentioned above will continue to deter adoption of EMR.

>The writer is a student in the Health Law Certificate Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law

First Published 2012-02-11 02:01:39
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