Dear Readers,

So, what the heck to do about the big hole that used to be the hospital?

The council and the city attorney had a game of catch and toss with a bunch of ideas and suggestions to keep some kind of health care facility in the city

The Washington Adventist Hospital (WAH) is leaving, or so it hopes. It has to get state approval before it does, but other than that, it is all ready to move to an upcounty, suburban location remote from all the uninsured poor people in our area who flood their emergency room, cutting into their profit margin.

WAH has said it would help the city keep a health facility here, but the council wants more than an oral agreement. The question is; what sort of agreement? The city could work with the Maryland Health Care Commission, making them the enforcer of any promises WAH makes, but Susan Silber, the city attorney, felt that might not be reliable. The Commission, she said, has never had to deal with a situation like this one, and seems reluctant to take on the unfamiliar role of enforcer.

The alternative would be to enter into an agreement directly between the city and the hospital. Questions that arose were: How long should the agreement be? How the city would have the expertise to ask for the right thing.

One hundred years was suggested – that being the period of time the hospital was located in Takoma Park. Twenty to thirty years, a generation, was also suggested. Mayor Bruce Williams thought a ten year revue, such as is done for city master plans, would be appropriate, too.

The council does know that the city wants an urgent care facility – this based on a report of the Health Services Impact Committee. That committee also recommended a fitness and preventative-care facility and space for primary care physicians.

As this was just a session to share ideas on the subject, there were no concrete proposals.

The council has been dealing with fairly mundane stuff over the past two weeks, approving speed humps, a new police cruiser, reports on state legislature activity of interest to the city, a small budget amendment. and so forth.
– Gilbert.

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

6 Comments on "Brainstorming"

  1. Anonymous | March 6, 2009 at 5:46 pm |

    What a shame after all that time and the idiots that control Takoma Park drove the hospital out of the city – PHOOLS

  2. Anonymous | March 6, 2009 at 5:49 pm |

    I live in San Francisco and the illegal aliens in Mexifornia have contributed in large part to bankrupting the state healthcare system. Don’t let it happen to you.

  3. Takoma Park did not drive the hospital out of the city. The hospital took a look its future needs and decided it did not have enough room on it’s TP campus.
    – Gilbert

  4. Anonymous | March 7, 2009 at 8:30 am |

    The hospital was drawn to move out of Takoma Park due to a sweetheart deal for relocation offered to them by the Montgomery County Council.

  5. Can you cite a source for that information re: sweetheart deal?

  6. Keith Berner | March 7, 2009 at 12:56 pm |

    No one drove WAH out of the city. Here’s what actually happened:
    — The hospital’s ultimate decision to leave was the result of its taking a 50-year look forward. After years of only short-term planning, the hospital realized its long-term ambitions couldn’t fit on a tiny campus surrounded by houses, a college, and two-lane roads.
    — The city and community were completely taken by surprise when WAH announced it was leaving, since the parties had negotiated an agreement for WAH to stay only a few months earlier. As has been the case in hospital-community relations for decades, the hospital’s decision was unilateral and broke seemingly established commitments.
    — The whole time Takoma Park was trying to keep the hospital here, that the county government was actually *encouraging* the hospital to move. It seems the county thought it was more important to have development up Rt. 29 than healthcare in our neck of the woods.
    — One local politician, who knew all along about the county’s nefarious involvement, led a chorus of defamation against the local community for the hospital’s decision to leave.
    None of what happened was the community’s or city’s fault and it’s time to stop saying it is. It would be nice if those who engaged in the misfired blame game were to apologize for their defamation.
    In any case, the urgent need now is to look forward. The hospital intends to leave and we need neither an open pit nor a strip mall in its place. Therefore, the Takoma Park City Council and its citizen-staffed Washington Adventist Hospital Land Use Committee are working to accomplish the following:
    — gain WAH’s commitment to leave us essential health services and facilities when they move up-county
    — find ways to make such a commitment enforceable, given the hospital’s long record of disregarding local input and breaking negotiated commitments.
    –Keith Berner

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