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West Dayton Group Expands Civil Rights Complaint Against Premier Health

April Laissle/WYSO
Rockney Carter, of the Clergy Community Coalition, speaks to reporters at a Good Samaritan Hospital closure-related press conference Thursday.

A West Dayton community group is expanding its federal civil rights complaint against Premier Health related to the company's recent closure of Good Samaritan Hospital. The organization alleges the health-care giant has engaged in a pattern of discrimination.

The Clergy Community Coalition originally filed a complaint against Premier Health with the United States Department of Health and Human Services back in May. The group argued Premier’s decision to close Good Sam would have a disproportionate impact on Dayton African-Americans.

On Thursday the coalition added to that complaint, this time saying Premier’s practice of opening up new health-care facilities in mostly white, suburban communities is discriminatory.

There’s no word yet on when the federal civil rights investigation would be completed.

Rockney Carter, with the Clergy Community Coalition, says Premier has opened or expanded 16 medical facilities in predominantly white suburbs over the last five years.

"Shame on Premier for that," says Carter. "The African-American community needs, at the very least, the type of health-care center Premier has opened everywhere else."

The group also says it has filed a complaint challenging Premier’s non-profit status with the Ohio Attorney General.

Premier Health released a statement, saying:

"Like other health systems in the area, many expansion efforts center around outpatient services, due to the changes in the delivery of health care and to address the needs of areas where there is population growth. As Premier Health continues to serve the Dayton urban core, we are able to provide both inpatient and outpatient services for our community. In 2014/2015, we built and still own the facility that Five Rivers Health Centers leases from us. In addition, we support the efforts of Five Rivers by contributing approximately $4.5 million annually for the residency program that is located at Five Rivers."