Dr. Desmond Carson, coach of the Richmond Steelers, physician at Doctors Medical Center and chair of For Richmond’s Health Committee, took the microphone at For Richmond’s Jan. 16 community reception to talk about why the community needs to save Doctors, West County’s only public hospital.
“We desperately need to help this hospital,” said Dr. Carson to a crowd of about 200. “A society needs healthcare. Without Doctors Medical Center, many of us here in Richmond will be without it.”
He urged the crowd to support a potential parcel tax measure that would be critical to saving Richmond and West County’s most important community health resource. The public hospital provides 80 percent of West County’s inpatient capacity and 60 percent of the region’s emergency room capacity.
“We need this hospital for all of us,” he said, highlighting Doctors Medical Center’s award- winning cancer and cardiac treatment facilities, which are utilized by West County residents from all walks of life.
He also noted that without the hospital patients suffering from acute issues such as heart attacks would be dangerously far from the nearest treatment facilities.
Doctors Medical Center is in danger of closing because of financial difficulties stemming from the facility’s role as a safety-net hospital. Nine out of ten DMC patients either rely on government-subsidized healthcare or have no insurance at all.
“We lose $18 million a year treating the people of West County, people who need it most,” Dr. Carson said. “Shutting down is not an option. That is why I am asking you to support the parcel tax measure when it comes out.”
Those in favor of the measure say it will be an important part of a long-term funding solution for Doctors.
Dr. Carson’s audience of For Richmond staff and supporters shared his passion for keeping Doctors Medical Center open, as about 100 residents signed a petition in support of looking for ways to keep the hospital’s doors open while a long-term funding solution is found.
For Richmond remains committed to supporting Doctors Medical Center and working with this community to find a sustainable plan.
To sign the petition online, go to http://forrichmond.nationbuilder.com/supportdmc