Federal Officials Expected In Dayton To Investigate Good Sam Closure Impacts
Investigators from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services civil rights division are expected to visit Dayton soon. Health advocates say they’ll be in town the week of May 6 to gather testimony about community health impacts related to the closure of Good Samaritan Hospital.
Good Samaritan Hospital shut down last year and construction crews are already demolishing parts of the complex.
Now, attorneys for the westside-based Clergy Community Coalition say the federal investigators want to hear from former Good Sam patients and nearby residents.
The investigation was sparked a year ago when the coalition lodged a formal complaint against Premier Health Partners, alleging Premier’s decision to close Good Sam would disproportionately affect the mostly African American residents who live near the hospital.
“The people who are hurt, who cannot get adequate health care, who don't have transportation elsewhere, whose doctors offices may have moved, who can't get their prescriptions filled -- we can't wait to put people in front of these investigators when they get to town,” says the coalition’s Rev. Rockney Carter.
Premier Health officials dispute the Clergy Community Coalition’s allegations, saying in a written statement:
"We are aware of the investigation and the process. Premier Health has provided information and we will cooperate with any additional investigation. We do not believe that the allegations have merit, as Premier Health continues to be the largest provider of indigent services in our region and one of the largest providers of such services in the state of Ohio. We believe that our entire community continues to have access to quality health care services, including near the former Good Samaritan Hospital campus. We also have been successful in retaining jobs, with approximately 90 percent of positions at the Good Samaritan Hospital site redeployed elsewhere within the health system. We are committed to preparing the site for redevelopment and have pledged several million dollars in additional funds to enhance its attractiveness to developers."
Lou Burton with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights told WYSO the agency does not comment on open or potential investigations.
Ellis Jacobs, an attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc., says anyone interested in speaking with the team of federal investigators should contact the Clergy Community Coalition by calling (937) 422-4391, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.