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Government and People
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2001
|For information, contact:
Robert Matson - 202/289-4926
Joan Lewis - 202/289-4923
The District of Columbia Hospital Association (DC HA) today issued a statement calling for the Mayor and D.C. Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority (Control Board) to address many unresolved concerns regarding the plan to privatize services at the Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). "Private hospitals are concerned that the proposed April 2nd closure of D.C. General Hospital will leave many patients with few options to access care in a timely manner and will overcrowd other emergency rooms and intensive care units," said DCHA President Robert Malson. "Thirty days is not enough time to develop a plan to be responsive to patient and community needs," he said.
The DOHA Board of Directors met last week and developed a joint statement expressing its doubts that the decision to privatize health care services to over a third of the city's uninsured, as well as thousands of Medicaid and Medicare patients, will meet the community's needs. Among the concerns outlined in the DCHA statement are the following;
1) the time-line to close D.C. General Hospital on April 2nd is unrealistic to take cane of all of the patient care concerns;
2) many patients who get care at the PBC live in Wards 5, 6 and 7, and will seek care close to their homes, not necessarily where the proposal expands primary and acute services;
3) once D.C. General closes, no Level I trauma center will be available in Southeast, and no plans have been made to provide appropriate care for these patients, at least in the near term;
4) private hospital emergency rooms are already overcrowded and ambulance rerouting is a common occurrence, all of which could compromise patient care;
5) the Mayor's plan calls for providing reimbursed coverage for those patients now cared for by the PBC, but no plan is in place to maintain this type of financial commitment for the uninsured into the future;
6) the District's track record for paying providers appropriately and on time is abysmal, and there are no assurances that the city will improve this function.
DCHA is a not-for-profit membership organization which represents and advocates for hospitals in the District of Columbia in their missions to serve their communities.
(The DCHA statement is attached to this news release)
Children's National Medical Center, District of Columbia General
Hospital, George Washington University Hospital Georgetown University Hospital, Greater
Southeast Community Hospital, Hadley Memorial Hospital, Howard University Hospital,
National Rehabilitation Hospital, Providence Hospital, Psychiatric Institute of
Washington, D.C., Riverside Hospital, Saint Elizabeth's Hospital-Commission on Mental
Health Services, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Walter Reed
Army Medical Center, Washington Hospital Center.
Affiliate Hospitals: Malcolm Grow Medical Center, Andrews AFB, MD; National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD
DCHA has repeatedly expressed its concern about the fate of the patients now cared for by the D.C. Health and Hospitals Public Benefit Corporation (PBC). DCHA has held the position since summer 2000 that a small community hospital at the D.C. General Hospital site is the preferred model for the PBC, and that while some PBC services could be absorbed by private acute care hospitals, such services as adult medicine, including trauma and emergency care, must be kept at the current location. DCHA believes that for the optimum care of and maximum access for patients, this is the only position that supports the integrity of the hospitals' collective missions to serve the community
However, DCHA is aware that recent events have overtaken this original position. The city's proposal to restructure the PBC has raised a number of concerns, with special attention to the reported April 2nd closure of D.C. General Hospital, only a month away.
Concern far Patients - Clinical care and access to care must come first. Care and access must not be compromised for the 90,000+ outpatients, 50,000+ emergency room visitors, and 10,000+ inpatients now treated by the PBC.
Concern for Payment - Dollars must follow the patients and providers must be fairly reimbursed. An arbitrary reimbursement system, based on who was or is a patient of PBC or its successor, will not create an integrated delivery system that is responsive to the city's most vulnerable. DCHA believes that the city has a fundamental obligation to provide health care services for the poor and uninsured, but the current privatization effort by the city is really a long-range strategy ultimately to shift all of the costs of care for the uninsured to private providers.
DCHA is confident that a restructuring of the PBC offers possibilities for improving access to care, quality of care, appropriateness of care delivery, and reduction of costs. The city's approach must include all 6f these as goals, not just the reduction of costs.
(See the attached Issue Statement for a list of specific concerns needing immediate resolution.)
30-DAYS AND COUNTING
The DCHA Board has identified a number of unresolved issues which are of increasing concern as the April 2nd date approaches.
DCHA believes that the concerns raised above must be addressed before any change in services at the PBC are put into place. The Board also believes that the restructuring of the PBC need not be an "all or nothing" approach, but one which makes the best decisions for patient access and care.
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