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Government and People
Government of the District of Columbia
|Office of Communications
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 7, 2003
|CONTACT: Tony Bullock
(Washington, DC) Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced today that broad agreement had been reached with the six hospitals and neighborhood health clinic operators who comprise the District’s Healthcare Alliance network. The Alliance provides primary and specialty care, hospital care, and pharmaceutical coverage to uninsured and low-income residents in the District at no cost. The program is aimed at providing preventive care to a population of District residents who have been traditionally denied access to healthcare. The Alliance began its operations in the spring of 2001.
The principal partners include Greater Southeast Community Hospital, Children’s National Medical Center, Howard University Hospital, Providence Hospital, Washington Hospital Center, George Washington University Hospital, Unity Health Care, Inc., DC Chartered Health Plan, inc. and the DC Hospital Association. The Alliance is currently administered by the DC Department of Health and provides access to over 800 participating practitioners and 50 clinics in addition to the hospitals.
“This is a tremendous achievement. Under the leadership of City Administrator Robert Bobb, we now have agreement on all the major issues that have been holding up the renewal of the Alliance contract,” said Williams. “In addition to resolving the thorny budget and payment issues, we have found specific ways to improve the delivery of services to Alliance clients.”
The agreement calls for an annual commitment of $93 million dollars in both Fiscal Year 2004 and Fiscal Year 2005. Some of the clinics will expand evening and weekend hours and the District will seek to establish 24 hour operations at some pharmacy locations in the eastern parts of the city. The District will also commit to make renovations to a number of clinics that are in need of repair and refurbishment. “We will address this need immediately,” said Bobb. “We have an obligation to provide clean, safe and modern facilities to those who access our clinics. We will live up to our obligation.”
District officials and Healthcare Alliance partners have negotiated a system to assure timely processing of claims and to resolve issues related to “presumptive eligibility” in the Alliance program. All parties recognize the need to place a strong focus on preventive care and instill good healthcare habits among participating residents. “If the program is working the way we want it to work, we will begin to see less hospital care and more clinical care. Treating disease early and avoiding the need for hospital care is our common goal,” said Williams. “The Healthcare Alliance is a bold initiative and we are beginning to see the results. This contract agreement embodies a successful integration of private and public sector organizations working together and doing so within the budget constraints facing our city. I applaud all those who have worked so hard to bring this agreement together,” Williams added.
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