From the Richmond City Democratic Committee:
Richmond – In a January meeting, the Richmond City Democratic Committee (RCDC) unanimously passed a resolution calling on Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH) to reinvest 100% of profits from the federal 340B program in under-served neighborhoods across Richmond and in the East End’s Richmond Community Hospital. Democrats cited recent investigations by the New York Times and local reporting that followed, revealing how BSMH used its ownership of the East End’s Richmond Community Hospital to turn huge profits at the expense of low-income patients through a lucrative federal drug program known as 340B.
Chair of RCDC Jewel Gatling said, “Democrats in Richmond, including our elected leaders in Congress, recognize the troubling behavior of Bon Secours Mercy Health.”
According to media reports, BSMH preyed upon the poverty of predominantly Black neighborhoods surrounding Richmond Community Hospital to buy prescription drugs at steep discounts, charge insurers the full price, and then pocket the difference. Although the 340B program was created with the intention that hospitals would reinvest these windfalls into their facilities, improving care for poor patients, Bon Secours has been slashing services at its East End hospital while investing in the city’s wealthier, whiter neighborhoods and suburbs.
Tom Barbour, Chair of RCDC’s Resolution Committee, says, “Local Democrats are united in our call for accountability from Bon Secours.” Barbour added, “We will not stand idly by as communities of color are pillaged by corporate greed.”
RCDC’s resolution calls for BSMH to account for all profits it generates through the 340B federal drug program, demonstrate that it is investing 100% of those profits into the Richmond region’s low-income communities, especially those of color, and to ensure Richmond Community Hospital offers full spectrum healthcare on par with other Richmond area hospitals.
Many Richmonders have been attending community meetings organized by the Richmond Coalition for Health Equity (RCHE) to address these disparities and the role BSMH has played in creating them. The next RCHE forum will take place this Thursday, January 12, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at Mount Olivet Church, located at 1223 N. 25th Street in Church Hill.
“Richmond’s Democrats will be attending the community meeting on Thursday, and we need Bon Secours to show up,” says Gatling.