Today TRU stood in solidarity with Hopkins Nurses United and Coalition For A Humane Hopkins- CAHH as we tried to get a meeting with Hopkins Hospital administration. Here is an account of the events of this morning.
First, our group of Hopkins workers, activists, community members, and more entered the lobby of the Billings administrative building. We were looking for the office of Redonda Miller, the president of Johns Hopkins Hospital, to have a meeting with her and deliver a petition concerning improvements to the hospital.
As soon as we walked past the large statue of Jesus in the lobby we were approached by a security guard. “You’re not allowed back here. Do you have an appointment?” he asked.
Tours go through this area fairly frequently but there was something about our group which immediately signaled to the guard that despite the fact that many of us are *employees of Hopkins* we were trespassing.
Is it because we weren’t dressed in fancy suits?
Is it because many of our faces don’t look like those in the portraits hanging on the walls?
Or is it because there is a little too much fire in our eyes?
Our assorted group attempted to show the flaws in the system to the security guard. How can we set up a meeting if no one will return our calls or emails? “Not my problem,” he said.
As Jesus looked on in the background, we continued to ask for the guard’s assistance. Can they or someone else set up an appointment for us? Is there an administrator who can meet with us here? Would someone be willing to relay a message?
Instead, the guard called for backup.
*Eight* security guards surrounded our group. We continued to ask for help in setting up a meeting or delivering our message. Instead we were told to disperse and leave the building. That “the doors are locked for a reason.” That we don’t have a right to trespass on private property (even though many of us are Hopkins employees). And as some people filmed the interactions with the guards, we were told to put down our phones, that filming is “against policy.” For some reason it seemed much more urgent to the guards that we not film them than that we exit the building (although they wanted that too).
Father Ty Hullinger was with us, and he tried to appeal to the humanity of our cause. No luck. Although, if the Jesus statue came to life and asked to speak with an administrator they’d probably tell him to make an appointment too!
Finally, we read out our petition and delivered the demands and signatures to the most senior security guard in the hope that they would pass them along. The demands included:
- Suspending the filing of medical debt lawsuits, and dropping all current medical debt lawsuits against patients.
- Reviewing prior cases in order to reimburse those patients who have been billed more than they should have paid under charity care rules.
- Screening all patients for charity care eligibility at admissions and increasing signage and notifications about charity care.
- Removing the citizenship requirement policy for charity care.
- Meeting with the Coalition for a Humane Hopkins to negotiate a process for implementing these demands in a transparent manner that is accountable to the community.
We left the building and rallied on the sidewalk outside the hospital. Although it was hot as blazes out, we felt invigorated, because Hopkins hospital had shown they are afraid of us! They are afraid because they know we are right and they know we can AND WILL win!
The next rally to improve patient care at Hopkins is coming up July 20th and we hope all the members of TRU will be there to show our belief that a better Hopkins is possible!
Our march with Hopkins Nurses and the Coalition for a Humane Hopkins was covered online in Med Page Today.