The University Record, October 25, 1999


The University Record welcomes letters from members of the University community. Those on topics of broad University interest will be given preference for publication. Letters should be no more than 500 words in length and must be signed. The editorial staff reserves the right to reject any letter and to edit and/or condense letters for publication. The editorial staff also may limit the numbers of weeks letters may be published on an issue, and the number of times any one person’s viewpoint on a single issue will be published. Letters may appear in small type. Organizations submitting material must include the name and address of an appropriate officer. Letters must be received by noon Wednesday to receive consideration for publication in the next issue.

Student applauds Health System decision on medical waste

The article commemorating 150 years of the Medical School’s leadership in medicine and health is a well deserved tribute to an excellent institution. Just in time for the anniversary, the School’s teaching hospitals again demonstrated their leadership when they announced that they would upgrade their medical waste incinerator, the best choice when Old Main was replaced, to a state-of-the-art autoclave system. This will allow safe treatment and disposal of medical waste on par with the nation’s cutting-edge hospitals.

After consulting with student representatives, community advocacy groups and faculty experts, the Hospitals further pledged to minimize their use of mercury, increase recycling and ensure that purchasing is economically and also environmentally sound.

Dr. Omenn announced these plans with similar sentiments as those from the convocation: to help us achieve the goal of better health for all of our community.

Jeffrey L. Firestone, co-leader, Students for a Healthy Hospital

Reader asks if HMOs work outside coverage area?

I read in the Oct. 11 edition of the Record that only 8 percent of active faculty and staff are currently enrolled in the BC/BS-United of Omaha Major Medical health insurance option. One of the main reservations that I and others in those groups expressed when HMOs were first introduced was concern about access to prompt, insured medical care in case of accident or illness when traveling, i.e. away from the home base of the HMO. I have stayed with BC/BS-Major Medical because I have heard nothing to indicate my concerns were unfounded. The very low percentage to have stayed with that option might indicate that others’ experiences with HMOs and travel have not been problematic.

I think it would be valuable for others in the University community to hear of actual experiences with this—positive or negative. I would appreciate it if people would write in and share their experiences, both in the U.S. and abroad. Alternatively, I urge the Record to research and report on this issue in a non-partisan manner.

Lynn Drickamer, library assistant, Law Library

Advertising an unappealing aspect of the Record

I noticed with alarm this morning the employment advertisements on page 12 and 13 of the Oct. 18, 1999, Record. While the U-M job postings facilitate career development and internal communication, I don’t believe that the role of the U-M’s internal publication is to facilitate employees’ searching for a position outside the University. It is clear that the Record is under pressure to increase advertising revenue, but the line needs to be drawn when it comes to advertisements that are counterproductive to the University’s overall purpose.

My opinion is that the Record becomes less appealing to its readers, University staff, as the number and size of advertisements increases. I feel that my professional and personal space is being invaded as I attempt to learn what I need to perform my job, having to pass over advertisements for real estate brokers, homeowners insurance and now, employment advertisements. Has the University administration made the determination that we will only have communication with employees if they are willing to suffer through advertising when reading work related material? To this long-time University employee, it seems like a short-sighted budget and human resources decision.

Jim Thomson, assistant director, U-M Transportation Research Institute