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AFL-CIO opposes Johns Hopkins Bayview expansion

The AFL-CIO is opposing an expansion of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center that would add another building to its campus and renovate existing structures.

In a 25-page letter, the union organization called on the Maryland Health Care Commission to reject a Certificate of Need for the expansion for the project, which is required under state law to move forward. The group cited a number of problems it claims Bayview has, including a failure to comply with charity care requirements for low-income patients, proposed rate hikes to support the project, and quality of care issues. The AFL-CIO said Hopkins brought thousands of lawsuits against patients to collect medical debts.

Bayview’s $469 million overhaul would include a new inpatient building and upgrades to two existing buildings to add more private patient rooms, upgrade operating rooms and fix infrastructure problems on the Southeast Baltimore campus.

In a statement, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center said the hospital provides high-quality care and compassion for patients.

“Our patients and staff deserve a modernized facility that allows us to improve safety and privacy to enhance patient satisfaction,” the statement said. “The proposed modernization and renovation project increases the number of private rooms, improves the operating rooms and allows for needed infrastructure upgrades, which are consistent with other hospitals in the region. We are strongly committed to serving our community, and believe that this is an important part of our mission.”

The AFL-CIO requested the chance to present oral arguments to the commission and an evidentiary hearing prior to a decision on the expansion.

The AFL-CIO includes 55 national and international unions representing 12.5 million people. National Nurses United, a group working to unionize Hopkins nurses, echoed the AFL-CIO’s concerns.

The unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO negotiate for health benefits on behalf of workers in Maryland and surrounding states in the hospital’s service area.

smeehan@baltsun.com

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