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LaMar Lemmons, III, Michigan House of Representatives
Testimony to the Committee on Human Services on DC General Hospital
April 27, 2001




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Press release Resolution in Michigan House of Representatives
Michigan Legislative Black Caucus letter to Cong. Joe Knollenberg Detroit City Council President letter to Cong. Joe Knollenberg
Letter from Michigan 15th Congressional District Democrats to Cong. Joe Knollenberg
PHONE: (617) 373-1983 

FAX; (617) 373-5997



April 4, 2001
Contact: Rep. LaMar Lemmons, III
Phone: (517) 373-1983
(313) 372-8571

Press Release


"The closing of this hospital is tantamount to imposing a death sentence on poor people," says Rep. Lemmons.

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, Representative LaMar Lemmons, III (D-Detroit) flew to Washington, D.C. to join the Supporters of D.C. General Hospital, which is being sold to the Doctors Community Healthcare Corporation (DCHC) and its services privatized. It is estimated that D.C. General provides important medical care to 135,000 indigent residents of the District of Columbia, who cannot afford medical care anywhere else. "Closing this hospital denies these people health dare, which is ,tantamount to imposing a death sentence on them," stated Rep. LaMar Lemmons, III.

The people who are affected by this closing are mainly the poor who have no medical insurance. D. C. General Hospital offers the indigent of Southeast Washington Level 3 neonatal intensive care-service (for high-risk pregnancies and babies born weighing less than 2.5 pounds). The Hospital also provides the only feasible medical services for 60% of au uninsured poor in the city (comprising about 50,000-100,000 needy people). D.C. General has 53,000 emergency-room visits a years, at a time when the District's total hospital bad capacity has diminished by 2,700 beds since 1995.

"Every American citizen has as inherent right to quality health care;" Rep. Lemmons said. "Good health care should not be offered to only the rich sad the privileged. Good government and a diverse democratic society demand that an institution like D.C. General Hospital, which provides such a crucial, life-sustaining service to the District of Columbia's indigent and vulnerable, be kept open to continue its good works. At a time when there is such a demand for D.C. General's services, it is unconscionable to sell the hospital and replace it with for-profit clinics. This represents a pervasive war on the poor and vulnerable of our society being fought throughout this country. That's why I am flying to Washington to join my voice to other right-minded people who want to stop this travesty."

In Washington, Rep. Lemmons will be presenting a letter written in support of the Hospital by the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. He will be joining with Congressman John Conyers, the. Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, sad other like-minded people in presenting a unified voice to urge a more humane, caring stance toward the poor and vulnerable of our country.

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House of Representatives
91st Legislature


Reps. Hardman, Hale, Quarles, Rison, Clark, Stallworth, Kilpatrick, Thomas, Murphy, Williams, Lipsey, McConico, Waters, Daniels, Phillips, Garza, Reeves, Lemmons, Bernero, Jacobs, Sheltrown, Gieleghem, Adamini, Rich Brown, Rivet, Kolb, Neumann, Dennis, Jamnick, Schauer, Lockwood, Minore, Hansen, Bogardus and Clarke offered the following concurrent resolution:

House Concurrent Resolution No. 27.

A concurrent resolution to memorialize the Congress of the United States to keep D.C. General Hospital open as a public institution.

Whereas, Without swift action, D.C. General Hospital in our nation's capital will close as a public entity very soon. This move has generated opposition from many observers in Washington and elsewhere, including prominent medical organizations; and

Whereas, D.C. General Hospital is noted for providing life-saving services to the city's poor. The hospital stands as a symbol of the struggles and commitment of America's urban hospitals; and

Whereas, Concerns over the possible closing of D.C. General Hospital have been expressed across the country. Many city health officials and policymakers see this venerable institution, which was opened in 1806, as representing the nation's commitment to providing appropriate health care services to population groups that include many patients who are minorities and many who are poor and uninsured. The thought of this hospital--which serves as a safety net for thousands with nowhere else to turn--shutting its doors is most disturbing to those dedicated to America's inner cities; and

Whereas, How a country treats its disadvantaged people is a significant reflection on the country's character and priorities. This is why so many people in other parts of the nation, including Detroit and other cities in Michigan, feel Congress should take actions to halt the closing of D.C. General Hospital as a public entity;

now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That we memorialize the Congress of the United States to keep D.C. General Hospital open as a public institution;

and be it further Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the members of the Michigan congressional delegation.

The concurrent resolution was referred to the Committee on Health Policy.

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Michigan Legislative Black Caucus

March 28, 2001

Honorable Joe Knollenberg
2349 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

We the members of The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus am writing you regarding a matter of urgency, the planned closing of D.C. General. To close the District of Columbia's only public hospital and thus deny medical care to the 135,000 indigent residents who live there is clearly an egregious act with direr medical consequences.

As is generally the case, fiscal management or mismanagement has been cited as the reason for closing this venerable medical facility, which has served the residents of the District of Columbia since 1806.

However, the fact still remains that only D.C. General Hospital offers these medical amenities to Southeast Washington:

  • Level 3 neonatal intensive care capability. (This meant that the hospital can take care of high-risk pregnancies, sad babies born weighing less than 2.5 pounds.)

  • D.C. General services 60% of all uninsured people is the entire city (about 100,000).

  • D.C. General has 53,000 emergency room visits a year and the District's total hospital bed capacity has diminished (2,700 beds) since 1995.

We fervently believe that everyone has inherent right to quality health care in this country. Moreover, the access to health cart should not be a privilege of the rich and well to do. Hence, D.C. General Hospital must be kept open and restored to its full operational capability to serve the population of Washington, D.C.

As Subcommittee Chairman on Washington, D.C., we respectfully request that you vote in favor of keeping the doors of D.C. General Hospital open to the public.

Thank you for your time and attention is this matter.

Sincerely yours,
Artina Tinsley Hardman
Chair, Michigan Legislative Black Caucus

Cc: Hon. John Conyers
Hon. Eddie Bernice-Johnson
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton

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City of Detroit

1340 City-County Building, Detroit, Michigan 48228
(313) 774-1251 FAX: (313) 224-4095

April 9, 2001

Honorable Joe Knollenberg
2349 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Knollenberg:

Ac President of the Detroit City Council, l would like to express my concern over the matter of the closing of D.C. General Hospital in Washington, DC:. With this being the only public hospital in this area, it would hamper residents who are dependent upon medical and emergency care.

Even though management concerns were the reason for the closing, this hospital has served many citizens since its inception many years ago. However, there is definitely a need for a medical facility that needs to be present in the care for indigent individuals.

I truly believe that everyone is entitled to have access to quality health cars, particularly children who arc at risk. Many individuals arc less fortunate and are not able to obtain insurance, or are working and can't afford to keep their health insurance active.

There has to be a way to supplement this hospital financially, so that it can continue to help patients that would suffer if it closed. Once again, l respectfully request that you vote in favor of keeping D.C. General Hospital open.

Gil Hill 

cc: Congressman John Conyers 

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15th Congressional District Democratic Organization
P.O. Box 315 - Wayne, Michigan 48184

April 5, 200!

The Honorable Joe Knollenberg
2349 Rayburn Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Knollenberg:

The members of the 130' Congressional District Democratic Organization are writing you concerning the planned closing of D.C. General. At our general membership meeting on April 4, 2001, they unanimously adopted a resolution in support of keeping D.C. General Hospital open and continuing the public funding of the facility.

As chairman of the D.C. Subcommittee on Appropriations, we respectfully request that you vote in favor of keeping the D.C. General Hospital open to the public.

Thank you for considering this matter.

Sincerely yours,
Carol Larkin, Chair 
13th Congressional District Democratic Org.

pc: Hon. John Conyers
Hon. Lynn Rivers


WHEREAS in an informal meeting held with constituents on Thursday, March 22, D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton revealed that Oklahoma Republican Rep. Ernest Istook, Jr., of the House Committee on Appropriations, had threatened to jail Mayor Anthony Williams, and members of the Washington, D.C. City Council, for keeping D.C. General Hospital, the District's only public hospital open through a set of operating loans. Istook allegedly made the threat !n the summer of 2000, while he was chair of the D.C. subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, which has power over the D.C. budget and;

WHEREAS the 11th Congressional Representative Joe Knollenberg now chairs the D.C. House Subcommittee on Appropriations, we are calling on Congressmen Knollenberg to reject the policies of his predecessor regarding D.C. General Hospital. If Congressman Knollenberg does not reject the actions that Congressman Istook made, then he must condone this action and is also guilty of such action, and;

WHEREAS IF Congressman Knollenberg does not provide the funds necessary to maintain the full service hospital to the public, then he is guilty of murder by his pen like those whom they convicted at the Nuremberg trials after World War II for crimes against humanity and;

WHEREAS every medical official in the D.C. area has testified that any plan by the House Appropriations Subcommittee and the D.C. Financial Control Board is not sufficient in providing necessary health care to the district's needy;

MAY IT HEREBY BE RESOLVED that the only solution to maintain sufficient health care to all residents of the District of Columbia is to continue to publicly fund D.C. General Hospital and keep it open to the public.

Carol S. Larkin, Chair 13th Congressional District Democratic Organization
April 4, 2001

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