Medical Society of the District of Columbia
For Immediate Release
2175 K Street, NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20037-1841
CONTACT: David Love, phone 202-466-1800, ext. 114, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
MSDC Emphasized Importance of Inpatient Services in Statement on
the Future of DC General Hospital
Statement by MSDC President Stuart F. Seldes, MD
February 6, 2001 - Stuart F. Seides, MD, president of the Medical
Society of the District of Columbia gave the following statement today at a press
conference on DC General Hospital that was organized by the Health Care Now Coalition:
"For centuries, physicians have adhered to the oath, Primum
non nocre -- First, do no harm. It is against this standard that we must measure the
Administration's transformation plan for DC General Hospital and the Control Board's
requests for proposal (RFPs). After months of study and dozens of meetings, it is clear to
MSDC that the plan to eliminate the acute care beds and/or substantially reduce hospital
services at DC General will, in fact, cause harm to patients, "It is for that reason
that the Medical Society joins so many others in calling for a plan which guarantees
inpatient services to residents in Wards 6, 7, and 8 who are in need of these services. No
one in this city should sit idly by while healthcare services are denied to some of the
City's most vulnerable populations.
"DC General Hospital has a long and proud tradition -- not
only in serving the residents in its immediate catchment area and across the City -- but
also in training many of the physicians who now treat patients in metropolitan Washington
and throughout the country. However, our purpose today is not to just protect a tradition,
but to protect patients. The Medical Society is here today repreisenting the thousands of
Washington physicians who advocate for patients and who, as members of the DC community,
care deeply about our City.
Six months ago we agreed with the Mayor that the status quo at DC
General was not sustainable -- and we offered to assist him and his staff in revising the
Community Access Hospital model so as not to put patients at risk. As we studied the
Administration's plan in greater detail, it became clear to us and others that there were
fundamental flaws -- relating to quality patient care -- that could not he overcome.
"At the same time, we have seen very significant progress at
the Public Benefit Corporation and have every confidence that the new management team led
by CEO Michael Barch can succeed if given some time and needed resources. We are pleased
with what we have seen so far.
"As physicians, we care deeply about our patients' well-being
-- no proposal eliminating inpatient services at DC General Rospital would be in tbe beat
interest of patients. These proposals appear to he driven by a financial, bottomline
mentality that, however well-intentioned, puts patients at risk.
"We will continue to advocate for our patients. We can do
The Medical Society of the District of Columbia is dedicated to
the well being of physicians and their patients in metropolitan Washington. We advocate on
behalf of our member physicians of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds; we promote
high standards of charactcr and professionalism; and we ensure that phynicians are -- and
are recognized as -- the primary professionals who define and guarantee high quality,
appropriate, and cost-effective medical care. Above all, we aggressively defend the
highest principle of all -- the integrity of the physician-patient relationship.