DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Federal investigators with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights will arrive in Dayton in early May to conduct interviews related to the closing of Good Samaritan Hospital in July 2018.
According to Advocates of Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), federal investigators will interview witnesses who have been disaffected by the close of the hospital and the subsequent closings of doctor’s offices located near the hospital.
Ellis Jacobs of ABLE and Rev. Rockney Carter of Zion Baptist Church and the Clergy Community Coaltion said investigators will be in town several days. He said as of today, they were expected to arrive May 6 or 7 and be in town through May 9.
When Premier Health Systems announced the closing of Good Sam, CCC filed a Title 6 complaint with Health and Human Services.
Title 6 was made law as part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
ABLE also filed a supplemental complaint investigating the locations Premier has made significant investments the last several years.
“They’ve made investments north and south of the city, and no investments in African-American communities,” Jacobs said. “There are $250 milion in health care construction projects underway in the Miami Valley, none of that is in the African-American community. That’s not just Premier, but Kettering (as well).”
Premier Health Systems sent the following statement on the investigation.
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 the allegations have meit, as Premier Health continues to be the largest provider of indigent services in our region and 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, wit approximately 90 percent of positions at the Good Samaritan Hospital site redeployed elsewhere within the health system.
We are commited to preparing the site for redevelopment and have pledged several million dollars in additional funds to enhance its attractieness to developers.
Carter saw the investigation as a win for West Dayton and citizens who have fought through issues ranging from education and schools to the lack of a local grocery store.
“When you understand about due process and you’re up against a goaliath you have to take what is given unto you,” Carter said. “Even if you can’t get a hospital there, we have been successful because we made the community aware we are advocating and fighting for them – a community that has been abandoned in key areas such as retail, education and food – a total disinvestment on the West side.
“This has given people a ray of hope.”
Carter said ABLE and CCC would hold a press conference on Tuesday, May 23 at the Good Sam site at 10 a.m.
Jacobs said people wanting to talk to federal investigators should contact the CCC directly by calling 937-422-4391 or emailing email@example.com.