From MOSES: Community Involvement in Health Care

Community Involvement a MOSES Perspective

DMC leadership approached MOSES for a meeting after the decision was made to sell to Vanguard. The press release was already distributed; the brochures printed and the powerpoint completed – designated staff supporters recruited and the show was ready for the road. That’s not community involvement that’s marketing.

Active, direct community involvement and communication ought to be the foundation of a transition of essential community health assets from a non-profit to a for-profit status. Why?

  • Individuals and communities have a right to participate directly in the decisions that effect their health and well-being
  • Accountability – Direct civic involvement makes public entities accountable to the people they serve
  • Direct Grassroots Involvement – People directly affected by decisions such as the change in status from a non-profit hospital governed in Detroit to a for-profit owned and governed by and out-of-state investment group, should be involved and able to participate directly as decisions are contemplated and made.

When decisions are made that will influence health care in Detroit and Southeast Michigan for generations to come – all stakeholders should be at the table. The community is a significant, perhaps the significant, stakeholder in decisions regarding the future of the DMC. Yet, we weren’t at the table for the discussions because we weren’t invited.

Genuine community involvement means an invitation to be at the table before decisions are made, while options are being entertained. It means regarding the community as a significant stakeholder with a right to participate. It takes a willingness to deal with the messiness of sometimes competing interests and the frustration that agendas may change and that outcomes can’t be predicted at the onset. It takes trust in a transparent, more democratic process that includes the regular folks who live, work, worship and get healthcare in Detroit and SE Michigan.