The district government has agreed to try to coordinate health planning - including building new hospitals and other medical facilities - with Mary Island and Northern Virginia health planners.
The agreement announced yesterday by Albert P. Russo, acting director of the Department of Human Resources, came after District officals could not agree because their plans for a new health systems planning agency have not yet been approved by the federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
HEW regional officials pointedly criticized the District's refusal when HEW declined late last year to consider District plans to keep all health planning in the hands of the DHR director. But HEW later agreed to review a slightly revised District plan. The review is still going on.
New health systems planning agencies have already been approved in the Washington suburbs. The D.C. Department of Human Resources now will join them in exchanging information and reviewing each others' plans to approve or disapprove future hospital building and expansion.
There will still be no single health planning or hospital building authority for the metropolitan area, a goal long sought by many area health officials who say current hospital over building will lead to empty beds and higher health costs throughtout the region.
The coordination agreement was signed Feb. 2 by the independent, non-profit Health Systems Agency of Northern Virginia; the Montgomery County Health Systems Agency, part of the Montgomery County government, and the Health Systems Agency of Southern Maryland, a special purpose public agency created by Prince George's Calvert Charles and St. Mary's counties.
Signing for the District Tuesday was Jacqueline Johnson, assistant director of human resources for state agency affairs.
Under national health planning law, either governments or nonprofit bodies may be designated and funded by HEW as local health planners.