Health coalition requesting greater investment in Richmond’s East End

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Months after reports in the New York Times reported that Bon Secours Mercy Health misused funds from federal programs, a group of community leaders said: Still want to see the neighborhood change.

The Richmond Coalition for Health Equity met Thursday night to continue a debate about what they feel Bon Secours mismanaged funds from the federal government’s 340B program and invested the funds in wealthier communities. .

“The federal government funded Bon Secours significantly with the understanding that certain things would be done,” Commonwealth attorney Colette McKeechin said at the conference. “These things aren’t being done and the money is being diverted, hurting the Church Hill community and hurting the Richmond community as a whole.”

Through this program, non-profit healthcare systems like Bon Secours are able to purchase prescription drugs at deep discounts and charge the full amount to the insured.

In return, the hospital is expected to reinvest the money it saves in low-income communities like Richmond’s East End.

Earlier this week, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that health system president Mike Leutz said stories about the program were misleading.

The coalition claims Richmond Community Hospital has scaled back services, including intensive care units.

Something state leaders like the late Rep. Don McKeechin felt unjust.

Collette McKeechin said, “I know Donald is here in spirit and that he stands by everything the Coalition is doing and that he is here if possible. know.

A representative from Bon Secours was invited to attend the conference, but none attended.

NBC12 contacted the health system and was provided a statement about plans to provide more services to areas like Church Hill.

Kim Bobo of the Virginia Interface Center said at the conference, “This is what you did ten years ago with the city in exchange for a very low-rent property that allows you to do something in the West End. It was an agreement. “It was an agreement that had already been made and did not correspond to 340B.”

According to the coalition, hospital systems in the 340B program are not required to report amounts reinvested in low-income communities.

Some state legislators at Thursday night’s meeting hope to change that by passing new legislation at this year’s general meeting.

“If you’re in a federal program that’s supposed to benefit the very community you serve, put it on the table and let the public know what’s going on,” said District 42 Rep. Cathy. Trang said.

Organizers of Thursday’s meeting said they will meet with Bon Secours next week to discuss what they would like added to the Church Hill community.

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