Clifford Barnes, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice in the Washington, D.C., and New York offices, was featured in an article about how the D.C. Council mulls exit strategy of operating United Medical Center.
The article discussed that throughout the saga of D.C.’s takeover of United Medical Center, politicians and health care experts all focus on the same point: What’s the exit strategy? Though the D.C. Council has supported the takeover, and Attorney General Peter Nickles calls the city’s only hospital east of the Anacostia River “the highest priority” for the Fenty administration, all parties say D.C.’s hospital ownership should be temporary.
Barnes stated that with new insurance, patients will now have choices, and there’s no reason to assume they and their doctors will chose United Medical Center, which in spite of recent improvements remains a very poor brand. Health reform in general is injecting uncertainty throughout the industry, and it’s going to make hospitals more risk averse.
He continued to state that even if finances are audited, and the cash flow situation improves, the fundamental economics of inner-city hospitals remain very unfavorable.
“In the best of times, the inner-city hospitals are tough to run. And these are not going to be the best of times. These are going to be transitional times, so the challenges are going to be more intense,” Barnes said.