Capital, The (Newspaper) - November 17, 1995, Annapolis, Maryland
Lottery must support the Browns A4 BAY IJGHTS View 36 holiday displays at Sandy Point INSIDE Meade visits Arundel in grid play DCTD ARCHIVES 312 LAUREL AVE LAUREL MD 20707 FRIDAY NOVEMBER MD 350 State set to sue tobacco ASSOCIATED PRESS SILVER SPRING Top state officials say smokmg-related illnesses cost Maryland taxpayers about million a and it's only fair that tobacco companies pick up the tab with the help of some private law firms in mounting a costly court battle for a share of any Maryland wants to sue the tobacco industry as some other states already have. Gov. Parris Glendenmg and Attorney General J Joseph Curran announced the proposed' lawsuit yesterday during a news conference at Holy Cross Hospital will win this case and make them pay for the misery they have Mr. Curran said. The million figure is a conservative estimate of the Medicaid cost of tobacco- related he said. The state likely would try to recover Medicaid costs for the three years before the lawsuit is filed. But more it would ask that tobacco companies be re- quired each year in the future to cover the documented health-care costs attributable to tobacco. Mr. Glendening said Maryland will fol- low the lead of four other states Missis- Florida and West Virgi- nia that have already filed similar will win this case and make them pay f6r the misery they have J. Joseph attorney general lawsuits. A spokesman at the -Tobacco Institute said the industry association doesn't com- ment on legal matters. But tobacco maker Philip Morris re- leased a statement saying the state's case was without merit. state has no legal basis upon which to sue the cigarette manufacturers. We believe the if it does decide to file will lose after spending millions of taxpayer dollars in time and The state's taxpayers should be deeply disap- pointed by this waste of the state's money and employees' as Maryland is now on the target of a politically motivated no matter how little legal grounds the state may Mr. Glendening said it's not right for state taxpayers to pay for treating who are made sick by an industry that refuses to take responsibility for its ac- The governor presented the lawsuit as a David vs. Goliath with the state in the role of and said that's why he and Mr. Curran are seeking outside legal help. Curran said requests willtg sent out to. Maryland asking 'the would have to cover their costs up frbnl and woufiL be paid only if the state were to win the lawsuit. The other four states have followed a similar Mr. Curran said. They had Page Torn between HMOs Practice of primary care physicians is changing By MARY ELLEN LLOYD Staff Writer Dr. Michael J LaPenta increasingly finds himself jiggling the key while he acts as for his patients' medical care. The linchpin of managed health family doctors such as the 47-year-old partner at Annapolis Family Practice are hired by cost- conscious health plans to coordinate tests and trips to specialists. About 30 percent of the practice's patients have medical insurance through a health maintenance roughly the same percentage as statewide HMO enrollments. Dr. LaPenta sees a smaller percentage of HMO because he has a large proportion of Medicare patients. Yet he worries that some of the ways profit-making companies are shaping his work may not be all that great for patients. His days are filled with balancing the needs of his patients and the demands of their health insurers. It's a push-pull dilemma will repeat itself more often as health maintenance organizations gain market share in Anne Arundel County and as Congress and state lawmakers shepherd Medicare or Medicaid clients into HMOs. Patients asking me to do things that company tells me I cannot Dr. LaPenta said. creates a lot of ill some of Dr. LaPenta's patients you can't use the radiology firm down the hall to X-ray a twisted ankle unless you want to pay for it yourself. But your HMO covers X-rays at an office on Defense and we can see you back in a few days. the new radiologists or Dr. LaPenta must take time to familiarize himself with their operations and By Mark M. Odell The Capital Dr. MtehMl-J. LaPenta of Annapollt Family Practice examines Maureen lodtif-of Annapolis during a visit for a flu shot and medication checkup. Health maintenance whtch JMT doctors a flat fee regardless of the amount of care they and other forms of managed care are the practice of Dr. LaPenta and other primary care physicians across the country. standards for his own protection and his he said. other patients Dr. LaPenta is accepting new patients for that but it may take six weeks to get an appointment for a routine physical isn't that I'm not here seeing the St. Margarets resident said on a recent hectic Monday afternoon. The father of three left his home in the Meadows at a.m. that saw two or three patients at Anne Arundel Medical then got to his Melvin Avenue office for appointments starting at He had seen 30 still had phone messages to return and was taking home a stack of patient charts for dictation. Some days he holds evening hours at the Ridgely Avenue office of the five-nurse- practitioner medical group. And last week he was on an active-duty stint for the Medical Corps of the Nayal in which he's a captain. Three HMOs pay the practice a Oat monthly fee for each patient enrolled. That money is intended to cover all physician tests and lab but hospitalization. Some HMOs offer bonuses for keeping hospitalizations and referrals to specialists within their guidelines. Dr. LaPenta said Annapolis Family Practice's year- end bonuses have never been substantial one was split antbng six doctors. have been told oujf referral patterns are not that so the doctors m some castes have lost bonus money than deny patients the orization they need to see a Dr LaPenta said officials say satisfaction legal liability and other and balances ensure lents receive appropriate care. ve indirect incentive for jrs to deny care worries Dr. nonetheless. worried and do worry the ethical implications of more money if I do less Letter grades absent on new report cards By LESLIE GROSS Staff Writer When School parent Ruth Edmonds re- ceives her son's first-quarter report card she expects it to give her more questions than answers. In a break with the new report card eliminates letter grades. Her second-grader and roughly other elementary school stu- dents will receive the new report cards as part of a pilot project approved last year by the Board of Education. Letter grades have been dis- carded for students from prekinder- garten through second grade in an effort to protect their self-esteem. But some parents say the report cards are too vague and may hurt students. need a structured grading incentive to improve your report card This grading system is downgrading the In place of the report card shows students as sistently or cer- tain skills in language social studies and personal growth. Ms. Edmonds and other parents said they prefer the traditional re- port but school officials said most parents surveyed at the four pilot schools last year liked the new ones say the report cards give them a better idea of how their children are said Rage No-interest home loans being offered By DAVE GULLIVER Business Writer A new county program will offer some first-time homebuyers in An- napolis a no-interest loan that never has to be said this morning. The HOMEownership Loan Pro- gram is intended to help low-income families buy hftuses in the Annapo- lis area. It's being run by Arundel Community Development the county's privatized housing agency. With in total there's only enough money for 20 to 30 people to receive loans this officials said. The federally funded program allocates for An- napolis In its first the program will apply only to homes in and around Crownsville and Edgewater. hope to take it Executive Director Kathleen Koch said. She described the program as Its second- mortgage loans are intended to cov- er what the homebuyer's primary mortgage such as down payments and closing costs. These costs can be several thou- sand and can deter people who otherwise would be able to buy a home. Loans will be for up to with no interest payments. For houses outside the the balance will be due only when the buyer sells or transfers the or after 30 years. Page INSIDE ____ 8 IRS cracks down on Cape St. Claire group Clinton sends federal employees back to work in Md. A4 Regional autumn snow a noihow. Bl Navy troubles two-win Tu- lane football coach. 01 Highland Beach zoning conflict going to court. Cl As shutdown Congress debates budget bill. A2 Annapolis.......... Cl Editorials........... A14 Calttdar........... A6 M Classified........... C9 Club Notes.......... A6 Police Beat..........A15 Comics.............. C6 Sports................014 Crossword........... C16 C7 Death Notices..... C5 Tides..................A15 Portions of The Capital are printed each day on recycled paper. The newspaper also a recyclable. ClaMlfled....................298-7000 FMnMtoi By BRADLEY PENISTON Broadneck Staff Writer The Internal Revenue Service is preparing to revoke the Cape St. Claire Association's tax-exempt status and demand pay- ment of more than in back taxes and organization offi- cials said this week Association officials say they in- tend to prove the association de- serves its special and that it has paid all of its taxes. After reviewing the association's financial records for 1992 through IRS. officials said on Nov. 1 the association had not paid I .t. A. .__ _ '________________. M1588 in. income taxes and ttimployment taxes. A 20 percent alty added to the total. President Sam Gal- Jagher said that much of 0if employment taxes allegedly owed had been assessed on money paid to private not Wployees I'm a private and I tfeed a I don't worry about payroll I just pay the he said. He said most of the income taxes allegedly owed stem from legitimate deductions. We're hoping that a hop por- tion of this can be settled at that showing them receipts and proving that we he said. The IRS also imposed a fine for failing to carry notices that special community taxing district funds and other maintenance fees are not association officials said Mr. Gallagher said he believes the JJRS recommended revoking the as- sociation's tax-exempt status be- cause it operates facilities that aren't open to the public. He called that a gray area. many people is the The Cape has he With a fiscal 1996 budget of the association owns a clubhouse and a community pier and is'responsible for enforcing the covenants. The association planned to receive from its special taxing dis- trict in fiscal 1996. The IRS said the amount of taxes and fines could be reduced and has asked for more financial informa- tion by association offi- cials said.' The association has retained a tax attorney and intends to comply with ail IRS Mr. Gallagher said.