The Department of Human Resources has told the owners of Washington's Doctors Hospital to explain how a predicted increased occupancy rate at a new facility they are planning will affect other hospital in the area.
The demand for additional information, made in a letter from Jacqueline E. Johnson, assistant director for state agency affairs, raises anew the possibility that the hospital's five-year effort to move to a new site may be in doubt.
Johnson's letter, sent last week to the hospital's owners, said that a consultant's study on the expected occupancy rate of the planned new facility raised "a number of questions . . . for which your confirmation or response in necessary."
Earlier last week Department of Human Resources Director Albert P. Busso and Johnson were apparently surprised to learn that the owners of Doctors Hospital - Washington Medical Center Inc. - filed papers applying to become a new, nonprofit, nontax-paying corporation that would own and operate an acute general hospital.
Johnson's letter also informed Washington Medical Center's president, H. Charles Deyerberg, that if the hospital is going to become a nonprofit corporation, the city may have to revoke its approval for a planned move of the hospital from 1815 I St. NW to a renovated building at 1143 New Hampshire Ave. NW. The building now used by the hospital is scheduled to be torn down by 1980.
Most of Johnson's letter to Deyerberg dealt with a Price Waterhouse & Co. study on expected occupancy rates at the New Hampshire site. Last Year, the hospital had an occupancy rate of about 70 percent - well below the 85 percent level that hospital administrators and planners consider optimal.
The study is based on information supplied by Doctors Hospital from a survey it conducted of local physicians. The study projects a 90.4 percent occupancy rate in 1980, rising to about 93 per cent by 1985, at the new facility if the Group Health Association - a prepaid medical plan - continues its present affiliation. If GHA discontinues its affiliation - as it has said it intends to do - the study projects a 78 percent occupancy rate in 1980, rising to about 81 percent by 1985.
The study reported that the higher occupancy of the hospital would come both from increased admissions by phsicians who already send patients to Doctors and from physicians who do not presently send any patients there.
Although the Price Waterhouse study presents the forecasted occupancy rates, a cover letter to the study stated, "we do not express an opinion on the achievability of these forecasts."
Health planners throughout the metropolitan area are concerned that there already is a surplus of hospital beds in the city and suburbs and that the situation is getting worse.
Johnson's letter asks the hospital's owner to analyze the effect on other hospitals if the report is corret in predicting that 200 or so physicians who pratice near the hospital but do not send patients there would send them to the new facility on New Hampshire Avenue.
The letter also ask whether other hospitals that may be affected are aware of it.
The Metropolitan Health Center formed several years ago with the intention of building a hospital. DOctors Hospital subsequently acquired group's certificate of need - the city's approval to build a hospital. According to the group has between 30 and 40 members. members function as individual practitioners and that each is free to send patients wherever he or she wishes. Asked how his organization functioned as a group, Trujillo said, "There's no function to it."
At Deyerberg's request. Truhillo wrote him a letter in August 1977 that when the new Doctors Hospital is complected, those would be "a significant increase in utilization by members of our group." Trujillo wrote on letter head stationery listing Dr. Howard Ticktin as medical director of the Metropolitan Hospital Center. Dr. Tictin died in 1973.
Neither Deyerberg any other official authorized to speak for the Washington Medical Center returned repeated phone calls.