Cincinnati NAACP 1/4/10 Reponse to Mercy Health System plans to close two additional hospitals in the City of Cincinnati.
Dear Mr. Fishpaw:
Thank you for your e-mail below.
So that you are very clear Mr. Fishpaw, as I indicated in my initial e-mail to you, we were all very surprised and very disappointed to read in the Enquirer that Mercy Health System plans to close two additional hospitals in the City of Cincinnati. This after you clearly stated in our meeting with you, that Mercy Health had no plans to close hospitals in the city of Cincinnati. There is no question among the many people in attendance at our meeting that you responded to our query concerning any additional Mercy hospital closings with the statement, “No Hospital Closings” in the City of Cincinnati. So we ardently disagree that you informed the NAACP of any Mercy Hospital closing in our meeting. Actually it was quite the opposite. I strongly suggest that you not compound an already problematic concern with Mercy Health System’s behavior of breaking up the Cincinnati Health Alliance and now its closure of two Cincinnati hospitals, with new concerns of organizational credibility.
The NAACP is well aware of the national concerns about health systems closing their urban hospitals in poorer urban communities and moving their hospitals and/or health care resources to wealthier suburban communities. This aberrant behavior has been documented in Newsweek, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, etc... What is currently unfolding before our eyes is Mercy Health System’s urban Cincinnati divestment strategy, weakening safety net services to the poor. The NAACP does not support weakening safety net health care services to the poor nor should you.
In addition to Mercy Health weakening the safety net services of the City of Cincinnati by purchasing Jewish Hospital and removing this more resourced hospital out of the Cincinnati Health Alliance, Mercy Health is further weakening health care services to urban Cincinnati by closing two of its Cincinnati hospitals. All of this putting at risk over $115 million of charity care or free care to the poorer communities of urban Cincinnati. The worse part of this behavior is your email trying to sell the removal of three hospital assets from urban Cincinnati as a good thing for Cincinnati. Eliminating resources from our community is somehow a good thing? This belief is insulting to our community. This behavior is antithetical to an appropriate community service ethic and contrary to any hospital vision, mission and values statement that I know of, because it injures the poor and those who are most vulnerable in our society. Our community allows your health system tax-exempt status in exchange for its charitable mission and we expect you to keep this community commitment. If Mercy wishes to behave like a for-profit institution without a concern for the communities they serve, then their 501[c]3, not-for-profit, tax-exempt status should be reviewed and challenged.
Lastly, as opposed to trying to cajole, manipulate or lecture the community on the positives of an obvious detrimental health care strategy to urban Cincinnati, you would do better to focus on a solution. The NAACP does not want to hear Mercy Health System commercials, for we fully understand what you are doing. The NAACP has given you a recommendation of setting up a free clinic in urban Cincinnati that would provide primary care services to poor and vulnerable people to lessen the negative impact of your urban divestiture strategy. However as opposed to a mature and authentic discussion of our recommendation we receive an email communication from you that is tangential to the substantive issue at hand; that is the negative impact on health care services to the urban Cincinnati poor and most vulnerable as a result of your health system’s urban divestiture actions. We need Mercy Health focused on trying to prevent the negative life and death health consequences of its systems behavior and listening to, not lecturing to the community it serves. As a health care organization this should be your first priority. The Cincinnati NAACP would like to be at the mediation meetings for the remainder of the negotiation with the Ohio Attorney General!
Please get back to the Cincinnati NAACP soon with feedback on our recommendation for an investment in urban Cincinnati primary care services for the poor or an equivalent alternative solution.
President of the Cincinnati NAACP
We, too, read the story that said the Mt. Airy and Western Hills hospital campuses are closing (Enquirer, 12/25/09).
During our meeting, I did indicate to you that inpatient services would transition from these current facilities to the Green Township site when the new campus opens. That said, we will continue to offer healthcare services to the Mt. Airy and Western Hills communities, and Mercy assures the residents of these communities that they will have access to care for decades to come.
After months of public input through local government hearings, we received unanimous approval for re-zoning of the Green Township location, which is less than five miles from our hospitals in Mt. Airy and Western Hills. As a result of this process, we are proud that we will be able to provide greater access to an even broader population of residents throughout the west side, western Hamilton County and beyond.
As you might be aware, a number of my colleagues are on vacation due to the holiday season, and I will be sure that I speak to them and Gary as soon as possible regarding your January 28 invitation.
Vice President, Advocacy & Government Relations
Catholic Healthcare Partners
12/29/2009 09:22 AM
December 29, 2009
Dear Mr. Heiman and Mr. Fishpaw,
I was very disappointed to read in the paper that Mercy Hospital has decided to close two hospitals in the City of Cincinnati. During our meeting at the Cincinnati NAACP office Jon Fishpaw, Corporate Director Advocacy & Government Relations Mercy Health Partners, indicated that Mercy had no plans to close hospitals in Cincinnati. In conjunction with the closing of the two hospitals the sale of Jewish hospital will further undermine safety net services in Cincinnati. The most recent actions illustrate to the Cincinnati NAACP that Mercy plans to withdraw all services out of the City Core after the purchase of Jewish Hospital. The trend of non-profit hospitals moving to the suburbs is an unsustainable health care model for the country.
The Cincinnati NAACP would like to invite all involved to the next NAACP General Membership meeting on January 28, 2010 at Integrity Hall in Roselawn. This will give both sides an opportunity to explain to the African American community the impact on the sale of Jewish Hospital to Mercy. Please respond back to this e-mail if your organization(s) will accept the invitation to address the Cincinnati NAACP membership.
President of the Cincinnati NAACP