Health coalition requesting greater investment in Richmond’s East End

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Months after a New York Times report alleged Bon Secours Mercy Health misused funds from a federal program, a group of community leaders still want to see a change in their neighborhood.

The Richmond Coalition for Health Equity met Thursday night to continue to discuss how they feel Bon Secours mismanaged funds from the federal government’s 340B program and invested money into wealthier communities.

“The federal government gave Bon Secours a lot of that money with the understanding that certain things would be done,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin said at the meeting. “Those things have not been done and that money has been diverted and it has hurt the Church Hill community and it has hurt the greater Richmond community.”

Through the program, nonprofit health systems like Bon Secours can purchase prescription drugs at a steep discount and charge insured patients full price.

In return, the hospital is expected to reinvest that saved money into low-income communities like Richmond’s East End.

Earlier this week the Richmond Times Dispatch reported the health system’s president, Mike Lutes, called the stories about the program misleading.

The coalition claims the Richmond Community Hospital had rolled back its services including its intensive care unit.

Something state leaders like the late Rep. Don McEachin felt was unjust.

“I know that Donald is here in spirit and I know that he is supporting everything that the coalition is doing and that he would be here if he could,” Colette McEachin said.

Representatives of Bon Secours were invited to take part in the meeting but no one showed up.

NBC12 reached out to the health system and was provided a statement on how it plans to bring more services to neighborhoods like Church Hill.

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