Health equity coalition demands answers from Richmond Community Hospital
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Coalition for Health Equity is out with a list of seven demands.
In the petition, the group is calling on the owners of Richmond Community Hospital to take its profits made from the 340b program and spend it on health equity in the city’s east end.
“What should be a beacon or model for surveying an underserved community, a largely forgotten part of this city has instead seen its resources siphoned off or put in other parts of our community that are wealthier,” said Bryce Robertson, Richmond Coalition for Health Equity Member.
The 340b program deals with drug pricing to help hospitals in poor communities.
The group, which met for the first time last week, alleges Bon Secours Mercy Health generated remarkable profits from the program and that money is going to other, wealthier communities.
Over the years, the group says the community hospital has rolled back services, including closing its intensive care unit.
“When you’re talking about health, seconds count and for a number of people in this community, you can’t go to the emergency room here and get treated. They have to transport you elsewhere because the services just aren’t here,” said Robertson.
The coalition wants an urgent care clinic at the east-end hospital location and quicker work done to complete a 25,000-square-foot office building near the hospital campus.
The hospital has denied the allegations and released the following statement about the group’s demands.
It reads in part, “Bon Secours welcomes collaboration to identify and execute on long-term sustainable solutions that will improve the overall health of the East End community. Over the past two months, Bon Secours has met with more than 50 community members, city officials, and legislative representatives to address our ongoing commitment to the East End community, and to engage these stakeholders in the work we are actively doing to address the health needs of this community.”
The group also has not ruled out litigation at this point.
“At the moment, we have had the opportunity to develop some good ideas, some requests that we’re going to put before Bon Secours Mercy Health, and we want to see how they respond,” said Robertson.
Another community meeting is set for Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. at Mt. Olivet Church in Church Hill.
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