Monday, May 26, 2014

Have you gotten treatment at United Medical Center (formerly Greater Southeast Hospital) in the past 10 years?

Do you patronize United Medical Center (formerly Greater Southeast Hospital) in Ward 8 or do you go elsewhere for your medical needs? The Advoc8te has been a resident of Ward 8 for over seven years and I have never been a client of the United Medical Center -- nor would I.  I think my neighbor Dionne Brown said it best in recent council testimony, "the only thing that would get me to UMC is death." It's sad but true. I would never consider UMC seriously and I can't think of a situation where it would.
Why do I feel this way? United Medical Center does not seem competitive or on par with what I would expect in a healthcare facility and to be 100% honest I think it serves more Maryland residence than east of the river residents. I also don't think that building a new hospital on the Saint Elizabeths grounds would change my opinion on that either. I think for a DC hospital to be successful it would need to be more central to DC with a more diverse client base and the ability to attract top-rated medical staff.

Until DC is ready and willing to really invest in Ward 8 to bring it up to par with the rest of the city I don't see a new UMC having appeal to residents in other wards. Particularly if those residents have private insurance and the ability to choose another hospital. Which leads to my concern that while UMC benefits west of the river hospitals (by concentrating it's poorest and sickest residents to UMC) I don't think UMC benefits east of the river -- quite the opposite. However,  if a new UMC was located on the grounds of the former DC General and was operated by one of the more reputable hospitals I would probably consider it and I don't think I would be alone in that assessment. This practice of economic segregation has to stop. It is one sided and separate is not always equal.

I do think that Ward 8 could be best served by a network of urgent care and wellness centers at least until we can build the economics and perception of Ward 8 to be able to attract and support a better Ward 8 hospital.

In case you were wondering, for my health care needs I patronize George Washington Hospital in the District and urgent care facilities in Virginia. The commute is just as far but I feel like I am guaranteed better and faster service. 

1 comment:

Dionne Brown said...

I appreciate your raising the visibility of this issue. So many people claim to speak for residents of Ward 8 without ever speaking TO us. Some critical engagement and needs assessment are necessary before moving forward with any proposal.