Testimony/letter on Providence Hospital closure

Testimony/letter on Providence Hospital closure

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Elizabeth Suh started this petition to D.C. Council

Every day as we look around our hospital floors, we are confronted with the reality that this is the cost of being poor in our nation’s capital. As resident physicians at the Georgetown University/Providence Hospital Family Medicine program, we have spent most of our working hours at the hospital or clinics of Providence Hospital in Northeast Washington, D.C., a crucial provider of safety net health care in our area. Our hospital and clinics have always accepted and cared for people who can’t get medical care elsewhere because they’re not insured, not documented, or don’t have the “right” kind of health insurance.

The vast majority of patients at our sites at Providence Hospital and Fort Lincoln Family Medicine Center in Prince George’s County, MD, are native Washingtonians who are African American, or immigrants from Central America. Our people have some of the greatest health needs and least access to services in the region. Frankly, they’re people some other health care systems don’t want to see – because it’s not profitable or easy.

Which leaves us in the predicament we’re currently in. Many of the Washington, D.C. area’s health care systems simply do not accept the types of Medicaid our patients have. Serious accidents, illnesses and death at a young age are a fact of life for many of our patients. They are the ones who need health care the most, yet what we’re telling them now is that they can’t get it, or it’s going to be really hard, or they’re going to have to travel really far – and good luck with that. This is the cost of being poor in our nation’s capital.

While the closing of Providence Hospital may have been inevitable or necessary for financial and quality reasons, the health care systems and governments of the Washington, D.C. area must now work together diligently to close the gap in health care this creates.

More health care systems need to accept Medicaid insurance plans and expand access to care. Health is a human right. Let’s put our money where our mouth is.

The views we express in this letter are those of the undersigned resident physicians and not those of the Georgetown University/Providence Hospital Family Medicine program or Ascension Health.

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At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!