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Government and People
Medico-Chirurgical Society of the District of Columbia,
POSITION STATEMENT OF THE MEDICO-CHIRURGICAL SOCIETY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
We, the physician members of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of the District of Columbia are recommending maintaining an improved integrated community oriented primary care system at D.C. General Hospital. Med-Chi feels very strongly that continued services in support of in-patient acute-care, a Level I trauma service, psychiatric care/substance abuse, and graduate medical education programs are critical efforts to improve the health status of D.C. residents. Our physicians have been providing care to this population through the years and will continue to assure that this population has maximum access to quality of care in the District.
Residents of the District of Columbia have some of the worst health care indices in the country. Heart disease, cancer, stroke, alcoholism, infant mortality and AIDS afflict our residents at alarming rates. An improved health care delivery capacity at D.C. General Hospital is one of the critical elements we believe must be prevent to reverse the current trends, especially in wards 6, 7 and 8.
The continued presence of Level I trauma services at this location is critical to preventing additional loss of life due to trauma especially for residents in wards 6, 7, and 8. While we recognize that there may be a surplus of Level I trauma units in the city. no much abundance exists in this area. Eliminating the presence of a Level I trauma service in this area of the city will result in delays in residents being treated for their injuries, which will have an adverse impact on patient care outcomes.
The provision of psychiatric services, including substance abuse treatment at D.C. General Hospital, is another critical element in improving the health care status of District residents. Once again, we are talking about a population which has had diminished access to medical services, including medical health and substance abuse services. It is critical that such services continue to be provided.
One aspect of D.C. General Hospital that has not received the attention it deserves is its graduate medical education program. Over the years, D.C. General has served as the training ground for a significant number of physicians. Many of the members of Med-Chi Medical Society, which is 117 years old, received their training at DCGH. The expertise gained by residents and fellows in DCGH's teaching program has provided the springboard to valuable and significant contributions by minority physicians to the field of health worldwide. Minority medical graduates face diminished access to residence training. Maintaining graduate medical education programs is critical to having a well trained cadre of health care professionals available to provide quality services to underserved citizens.
We the physician members of the Medico-Chirurgical Society should be viewed as a valuable resource to the District government and at this time, we are coming forward to participate in the resolution of this problem; and to provide oversight and monitoring to assure that our patients have access to quality health care in a seamless integrated health care system which includes wellness and preventive health capacity in addition to primary, emergency, and trauma care.
Dr. Henry Williams is the President of Med-Chi and may be reached at (202) 347-4170. Dr. Walter Faggett, Vice President may be reached at (202) 487-0542.
W. Williams, Jr., M.D., M.P.H.
Walter L. Faggett, M.D.
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