EyeOnBI.org is part of an effort to return Beth Israel Deaconess to its founding principles and ensure that the administration is putting the interests of patients, workers and community members first. Read more




In order to make sure that all Massachusetts residents have access to healthcare, hospitals are expected to offer certain levels of charitable care to the poor and the uninsured and to provide community benefits. In return, hospitals receive substantial tax breaks. Unfortunately, administration at BIDMC has made a series of decisions that have left many wondering whether they have lost sight of their mission.

 


 

Tuesday
Mar232010

After Compliance review reveals violation of ADA Standards, BIDMC settles with US Department of Justice on compliance

Following a compliance review recently conducted by the US Department of Justice that revealed several violations of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, the DOJ and BIDMC recently announced a settlement agreement to resolve BIDMC’s compliance issues. As the result of the agreement, BIDMC agreed to take action on several problem areas to bring its facilities up to ADA standards. Beth Israel also agreed to ensure that all new construction will be in compliance with federal law.

Link to the press release

 

 

Link to the full settlement

 

Additional coverage

Tuesday
Mar232010

Shortchanging Seniors: Beth Israel Deaconess Health Care's Take Over of Jamaica Plain Medical Clinic Puts Senior Housing in Jeopardy

Beth Israel Deaconess Health Care's (BIDHC’s), recent takeover of Jamaica Plain's Urban Medical Group may endanger funding for long-standing plans to expand the Mount Pleasant Home, a senior residence. After nearly six years of planning and with construction set to begin as early as this fall, BIDHC’s re-evaluation of plans to relocate the clinic into the senior residence may jeopardize tax credits for the project.

  July 24, 2009: Senior Life: Medical clinic change puts senior housing in doubt

Tuesday
Mar232010

BIDMC provided just 0.47% of its revenue as charity care to the uninsured in 2007, well below the national average.

In order to make sure that all Massachusetts residents have access to healthcare, hospitals are expected to offer certain levels of charitable care to the poor and the uninsured and to provide community benefits. In return, hospitals are exempt from paying property taxes and receive other substantial tax breaks.

However, BIDMC provided just 0.47% of its revenue as charity care to the uninsured in 2007, well below the national average (Source: BIDMC's unreimbursed charity care according to their Audited Financial Statement for the Fiscal Year ending Sept. 30, 2007.)

Perhaps more disturbing, Beth Israel Deaconess has one of the most opaque methods for reporting charity care levels, which are actually much lower than it claims in its financial statements. The healthcare workers union, 1199SEIU, requested that BIDMC restate its financial audits for 2005 and 2006 and that the BIDMC apply higher disclosure standards going forward. It is our hope that once BIDMC presents a clear picture of exactly how much charity care it provides, the hospital can then be held accountable for providing a greater level of charitable care to Massachusetts residents.

News reports on BIDMC’s misleading method of charity care reporting
Several news outlets reported on evidence of BIDMC’s commingling of charity care levels - i.e. care that is provided at no cost based on patient’s income - with certain uncollectible bad debts. Generally, this method of charity care reporting is under scrutiny by the IRS and Congress. The healthcare workers union, 1199SEIU, contends that BIDMC board members who also serve on the boards of publicly traded companies covered by Sarbanes-Oxley should apply their knowledge of disclosure standards in their role as nonprofit fiduciaries. Sarbanes-Oxley is a federal law applicable to most publicly traded companies that was created in response to a variety of accounting scandals. It mandates certain financial disclosure and transparency standards. Under Massachusetts law, executives of publicly traded companies must apply their specialized knowledge in their role as nonprofit fiduciaries.

Tuesday
Mar232010

Dorchester Clinic Closure

We expect our hospitals to be allies in the effort to expand healthcare access to everyone in Massachusetts. At the very least, hospitals should never stand in the way of providing healthcare services to communities in need.
 
That is why it is so disturbing that Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has, under the direction of CEO Paul Levy, closed down a clinic in Dorchester for poor children and families. That action seemed to be a calculated business decision based on the bottom line, rather than on the needs of patients and the community. It is our hope that in the future the BIDMC administration will take a leadership role in improving, rather than reducing, access to vital healthcare services.

"I've asked [Beth Israel Deaconess] to continue funding Little House until we have a plan to transfer it over. You just can't cut off health care to individuals who use it. Who suffers again? The hard-working men and women of the community," –Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

February 20, 2008: Hospital’s Accounting Is Under Fire by a Union.
Read clips from Statehouse News Service and other many other media outlets on the issue
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Letter to BIDMC board members regarding charity care discrepancies and concerns, February 2008 1199SEIU sent a letter to BIDMC’s fiduciaries warning that the hospital may have overstated actual charity care levels by millions of dollars and calling on the hospital to restate its audit disclosures using a more transparent method.

Tuesday
Mar232010

News articles

January 25, 2003: Little House in a Quandary; Clinic may close, displacing 3,400 poor children and mothers
Despite urgent requests from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and other elected leaders, BIDMC CEO Paul Levy shutters a clinic for poor children.

January 26, 2003: A Little House Closing Leaves A Big Hole.

 January 14, 2003: Ills catch up to ailing clinic; BI Deaconess will close Little House Health Center.

 November 15, 2007: Downtown Hospital Chief Takes Cheap Shot at Carney
After BIDMC CEO Paul Levy uses Carney Hospital’s financial troubles as an excuse to attack the healthcare workers union, a local resident asks, “What does Paul Levy have against Dorchester?"