Regulators Block Access to Health Care

Adventist Health Care has been planning for years to open an 83-bed hospital in Clarksburg, right off the booming I-270 corridor.  This area is experiencing great population growth, and the need for health care in the area is strong.  However, the Maryland Health Care Commission has taken action to prohibit Clarksburg Community Hospital from opening.

How does this happen?  In order to open a new hospital, the state has to be satisfied that there is a “need” for the facility.  In this case, the state decided that only one hospital was needed – and the bureaucratic processes of the MHCC would decide which facility would be allowed to exist.

Can you imagine this in any other business?  Instead of Target and K-Mart, for example, competing for business – doing their best to satisfy customer wants at the best price – the fate of the business would be decided by a political process.

The arrogance is striking, too.  The commission rubber-stamped the recommendation of the commission chair, Marilyn Moon.  She, and she alone, ruled on the best interests of not only county residents, but even of the hospitals and their management.

“I have concluded that Adventist HealthCare’s priority over the next few years must be assuring the long-term viability of Washington Adventist Hospital,” said Maryland Health Care Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Moon in her recommendation for a denial of a certificate of need for Adventist’s plan to build a new hospital in Clarksburg. “This task, critical to restoring Adventist HealthCare to robust financial health, is large enough that it should not be put at risk by simultaneously attempting to establish a new hospital.”

The mission of the MHCC is described as: “[T]o ensure that informed consumers hold the health caresystem accountable and have access to affordable and appropriate health care services through programs that serve as models for the nation.”

In this case, the MHCC decided to “ensure access to affordable and appropriate health care services” by prohibiting a hospital from offering those services.   Making these decisions through political processes, rather than allowing hospitals to provide services, only limits access to affordable health care.

Let the hospital open, and let the people decide where they want to go.

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