GRANOLAPARK: The big WAH showdown


Dear Readers,

UPDATE: DEC 17: 4:30 PM – City manager Suzanne Ludlow reports “MHCC approved the recommended decision as proposed.”

Today is the day.

Takoma Park presents it’s exceptions this afternoon to the state health-care commission about “The profound impact that the loss of a hospital will have on its residents.” That’s from the city’s eight-page letter to the commission.

The oral comments will likely echo that letter. They may have something stronger up their sleeves, however. The council met in closed session last Monday, Dec. 14 to discuss today’s hearing and take legal counsel regarding “pending or potential litigation,” according to the city council agenda.

WAH’s plan was recommended for approval last month following a review by one of the commissioners, Frances B. Phillips, RN, MHA. It was the second time the plan was reviewed. It failed the first time (2013). The more recent submission was revised to meet the commissioner’s objections. It must now pass the full Maryland Health Care Commission.

See the Nov. 21, 2105 Voice article “Hospital granted permission to leave Takoma Park.”

The commission will take final action on the Washington Adventist Hospital’s request after today’s meeting.

Also making exceptions are Holy Cross Hospital and MedStar Montgomery General Hospital, two nearby hospitals.

MedStart’s exception letter to the commission is stinging. It objects to the assumptions underlying WAH’s relocation plan and calls for further investigation of the relocation plan’s financial feasibility and viability.

The MedStar letter says thee plan, first presented in 2012, “could not have anticipated, and did not reflect, the significant changes that have occurred since that decision, including the State’s decision to support the replacement and relocation of the Prince George’s Hospital Center, the entirely new financial incentives created by the new Medicare Waiver and implementing policies, the Affordable Care Act and the continuing effects of new technology and public health policies on hospital utilization. As a result, several of the findings contained in the 2012 recommended decision are no longer applicable or correct.”

“WAH seeks to move from an area inside the Capital Beltway with large concentration of indigent and medically vulnerable persons to a corporate campus in an affluent area that is already well served by many acute care hospitals,” says MedStar.

The MedStar letter calls for a close examination of these issues at today’s meeting.

The city and the Holy Cross Hospital’s letters both call for a freestanding emergency-care facility to remain in place at the Takoma Park WAH location. This, says Holy Cross’s letter, would “prevent an undue burden on HCH’s own ability to meet the health care needs of its service area population.”

The city’s letter says that WAH’s plan and the commissioner’s recommendation to approve it “does not sufficiently address the adverse impacts to Takoma Park.”

“The Recommended Decision notes that other hospitals, including Holy Cross, are close to the City. The presence of beds and services in nearby hospitals does not equate to the investment in transitional care, geriatric home care, cardiac care, physician offices and cancer care that WAH currently provides at Takoma Park,” says the city’s letter.

– Gilbert


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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.

1 Comment on "GRANOLAPARK: The big WAH showdown"

  1. Some showdown. It’s time for the hospital to move. They’ve been built out at the site for decades. Hopefully, both the city and county will use this as an opportunity to enhance economic development in the areas of the current and future sites. First step – functioning sidewalks between the current campus and the Flower Avenue shopping areas!

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