News, MSDC Statements, and MSDC Testimony on Health Equity Issues
MSDC Past President Julian Craig Testifies on New Ward 8 Hospital
Today, MSDC past president and current Board member Julian Craig, MD, testified on behalf of the Society during a hearing for the contract for the new St. Elizabeth's hospital.
Dr. Craig began by stating MSDC's support for the hospital and GW, as well as thanking Deputy Mayor Turnage, the Council, and the Mayor for their work in finalizing a hospital contract and partnering with UHS and GW to run the hospital.
However, he noted that a comprehensive healthcare system in Wards 7 and 8 must be more than the new hospital. "What will become of local physician practices?" Dr. Craig asked. "A comprehensive healthcare system requires not only a world class hospitals, but also independent physician practices." He noted that a system of hospital based, affiliated, and independent practices in the same area already exists in the District in and around Sibley Hospital.
Dr. Craig (and the Medical Society) made three recommendations to the Council on how to maintain a physician network in Wards 7 and 8 with the new hospital:
- "For those physician practices that want to affiliate with or support the hospital - we ask that UHS and the District ensure space is available to them in the new Medical Office Buildings, and have a preferential rental agreement for these affiliated practices."
- "UHS should offer preferential hiring to local physicians who are interested in working for UHS and GW.."
- "The District should support physicians to be able to create and maintain viable independent practices in Ward 7 and 8. Last month MSDC shared just how the District can do this – tax relief for building or purchasing office space, grants or loan programs for local practices, increased Medicaid reimbursement, and student loan forgiveness programs to ensure graduating physicians can establish or takeover practices that already exist in the District."
Sample of Health Equity Legislation MSDC is Tracking
(See the whole list of bills here)
What does it say? The bill allows for the administration of medicinal marijuana in schools as well as allows students to bring sunscreen to schools and apply it without a prescription.
MSDC position: MSDC supports the language permitting sunscreen application in schools
Current status: A win for DC physicians and public health! The legislation passed the Council in February and awaits the mayor's signature. Previous temporary and emergency legislation permitted students to use sunscreen at schools this school year already.
What does it say? The bill requires DC Health to establish an electronic Medical Order for Scope of Treatment registry (eMOST).
MSDC position: MSDC supports this legislation to more easily allow patients to make their treatment orders known.
Current status: A win for the physician community and our patients! The Council passed the bill in December and the Mayor signed it into law on January 16, 2020.
What does it say? The bill would implement a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on the distribution of "sugary" beverages. The money collected from the tax would establish a Healthy People, Healthy Places Open Spaces Grant Program.
MSDC position: MSDC sent a letter to Council Chair Mendelson asking for a hearing to discuss all of the issues around a beverage tax.
Current status: The bill was introduced October 8, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development and the Committee of the Whole.