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Taking note . . .

Observations about public affairs in the nation's capital by the editor of The Common Denominator

FAVORED STATUS: Some government contractors apparently rate special status with the Williams administration, judging from the recent addition of Greater Southeast Community Hospital to the list of "D.C. Government Agencies" on the city's main Web site (www.dc.gov). The for-profit hospital, owned by the Arizona-based Doctors Community Healthcare, is described on the D.C. government site as "an independent regional body." The link to Greater Southeast's Web site (www.greater-southeast.com) "is made available as a public service," the government site says.

Yours truly fully expected the government link to Greater Southeast's Web site to lead to information about the Healthcare Alliance that replaced publicly owned D.C. General Hospital. After all, Greater Southeast is the city's lead "safety net" contractor, reaping millions for providing health care services to the District's poor. But searching the Ward 8 hospital's site turned up no mention of the Alliance or its city-mandated services. The site simply promoted the privately owned hospital's other services.

Curiously, no other D.C. hospitals are linked "as a public service" to the government's Web site - not even the other hospitals that participate as subcontractors in the Alliance. Perhaps it helps that individuals associated with Greater Southeast's parent company, or directly with Greater Southeast, contributed about $100,000 to the mayor's re-election campaign. We can't wait to see the mayor's Oct. 10 campaign finance report.

It's notable that anyone looking for details online about how they can access the Alliance's health care services can't get that information easily on the city government's Web site. The Department of Health, which administers the contract with Greater Southeast, also fails to provide any easily accessible information about the Alliance on its own Web site.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator