A local real estate and construction firm, MDC Land Inc., is proposing to build an $11-million, 300-bed nursing home in Anacostia with the aid of MDC investors who have formed the Washington Nursing Facility Inc.(WNF)
The project is being opposed by the Greater Southeast Community Hospital, which has been licensed to build its own 187-bed nursing home. CSCH attorney Daly D.E. Temchine called the MDC plan an "ill-conceived scheme" that has been drawn up byu real estate developers without sufficient input from health care specialists and residents in Anacostia.
The D.C. State Health Planning and Development Agency will hold a public hearing today on the MDC application and other pending applications.
The hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in Room 503 of the District Building.
Temchine's testimony was made at an earlier health planning agency meeting when WNF representative Philip Miller presented its proposal. At issue were conflicting figures from MDC would not be able to operate a quality facility relying on federal reimbursements for Medicaid patients.
Under federal guidelines, all medical facilities costing more than $150,000 must be licensed by the health planning agency.The developer must file an application and demonstrate a need in the community for the facility.
Temchine said the MDC application did not show why such a large facility was needed in Southeast nor did it present adequate information as to who would operate the home or how. According to MDC, most of the patients would be Medicaid clients, said Temchine.
The application also failed to show the investors' financial commitment to the project should they lose more money than expected while trying to operate the facility primarily on Medicaid reimbursements.
MDC facility would compete with the planned nursing facility at the community hospital, said Temchine, and "I suspect the hospital would sustain a loss (for a longer period of time) than a group of private investors," said Temchine.
Miller said that while the WNF home was to be a profit-making business, the investors also viewed it as a philanthropic project they could use as a tax shelter.
"We anticipate operating at a loss and sustaining it," explained Miller. "We've been making money in the city a long time. It's been good to us. You've got to do a little good where you work. This is the primary concern for us."
However, "when it isn't feasible as a tax write-off, the investors will flip the property," said Miller. He said he didn't see that happening for another 15 years or more.
The home could be in operation in 30 months, said Miller. The long-term care facility would be located in a residential area on a 2.7 acre tract of land bounded by Skyland Place, Wagner Street and 24th and 25th streets SE, said Miller. An administrator would run the facility and an advisory board of local residents would act as liaison between the home and the community.
Staff members would include a dentist, physical therapist, pharmacist and laboratory and x-ray technicians. A physician would be on-call and additional medical services would be provided by the patients' private physicians.
A bilingual social services unit would provide information about city services. Area volunteers and clergy would also be part of the staff, said Miller.
The home would have three floors, with 100 semiprivate rooms on each floor. Off-street and on-site parking would be available for staff members and visitors. Three bus lines operate near the site and a Metro stop is planned for one block away, Miller said.