Members of a coalition trying to save Capitol Hill Hospital said last night that an independent audit shows that it is financially possible to keep the troubled facility open as a general-care hospital.
"The report . . . indicates in general that in fact the hospital can be viable," said Rick Ehrmann, a member of the Coalition to Save Capitol Hill Hospital.
Members of the group said the report will be presented today to officials of Medlantic Healthcare Group, which operates Capitol Hill Hospital and several other area health facilities.
Ehrmann did not give details of the study, saying that they would have to be discussed first with the corporation's officials. He made the comments last night to about 60 people at a forum on the hospital's future.
However, Ehrmann did say the report shows that financial losses, which Medlantic has cited as the reason for changing the facility from an acute-care hospital to a special-care facility geared toward inpatient psychiatric and geriatric programs, have been cut dramatically as the number of patients coming to the hospital has risen.
Ehrmann, vice president of Local 1199E-DC of the Service Employees International Union, which represents some 250 Capitol Hill Hospital workers, said the audit was paid for by a group of hospital physicians who want to save the hospital.
The audit was conducted by the accounting firm Peat Marwick. The findings will be presented today to John McDaniel, chief executive officer of Medlantic, and other corporation officials.
Ehrmann said he hopes the audit findings can be used to persuade Medlantic officials to turn over management of the hospital to a nonprofit, community-based board of directors.
Changing the 102-year-old hospital from a general acute-care facility to a specialty-care facility would force the layoff of about half the hospital's 600 employees. The change must be approved by the District's State Health Planning and Development Agency.
During the forum, William L. Meyer, president and chief executive officer of the hospital, said financial problems, particularly the problem of uncompensated care, were the reason for the proposed change.
Meyer cited the fact that 20 percent of District residents have no health insurance and the fact that the rate of reimbursement for Medicaid patients in the city has not changed in three years. Hospital officials have previously said that the hospital lost $4 million in fiscal 1990, and could lose as much as $6 million during the current fiscal year.
Continuing to sustain such losses could threaten other facilities in the Medlantic system, Meyer said.