- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Last week, the D.C. government and Greater Southeast Community Hospital signed a consent decree agreeing, among other things, that the hospital would meet certain performance standards within 60 days or else. That a public entity and a private entity that primarily serves the poor would have to sign such a decree to stay in business is bad enough. That the private entity is a hospital — a mismanaged and financially strapped hospital — is cause for serious concern. Still, more disturbing news came this week: The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations denied the hospital’s request for accreditation.

Why did the commission deny accreditation? During four surveys taken this year and last, the commission found troubling aspects in fundamental health-care services, including infection control, anesthesia care and training.

Alarming as well, are the life-and-death problems found by the city’s own Health Department. D.C. health inspectors determined that at least six recent deaths at the hospital were preventable and that nurses there were not familiar with policies and procedures.

In an Aug. 16 editorial, The Washington Post rightly labeled Greater Southeast “a menace to the poor” and said that the public “needs the unfiltered truth” about the hospital in “real time” — as compliance reports occur. We couldn’t agree more.

Our bottom line, however, has to do with what we already know to be the unfiltered truth: Greater Southeast Community Hospital is an unaccredited full-service hospital, and the Williams administration has yet to publicly state a Plan B.

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