Guest Editorial: Mary Washington Healthcare

Mary Washington Healthcare (MWHC) is committed to serving our communities, providing care to those most in need and supporting our partners to do the same. Over the past 30 years, MWHC has been honored to serve as the Moss Free Clinic’s primary supporter. When Dr. Lloyd Moss launched the clinic in the 1990’s, it served to rally the volunteerism of physicians and medical professionals and provide access to primary and dental care for those uninsured and unable to pay for healthcare services.

Much has changed in the past three decades, with constant evolution of the healthcare landscape, including healthcare’s safety net designed to serve those uninsured and underinsured. Virginia’s decision to expand Medicaid in 2018 should be celebrated, as it has reduced the percentage of uninsured in our state and, therefore, the number of Virginians who had to rely on free healthcare services. 

Simultaneously, the healthcare safety net in our region has become much more resilient and robust. There are now numerous independent free and charitable clinics in our region helping to ensure access to care for all members of our community. Together, these clinics proudly treat almost 10,000 patients annually. 

In 2023 alone, MWHC provided more than $1.4 million in financial support to these clinics who served:

  • 6,869 patients at The Central Virginia Health Services, Fredericksburg Health Center and Caroline Health Center
  • 1,250 patients a at The Moss Free Clinic
  • 885 patients at The Fredericksburg Christian Health Center
  • 304 patients a at The Guadalupe Free Clinic
  • 120 patients at The Living Water Community Clinic
  • 57 long-term residents at The Micah Ecumenical Ministries Respite Facility

In addition to these independent safety net clinics, MWHC’s network of integrated care sites also serve patients in our community who are uninsured and underinsured, regardless of their ability to pay. Our care sites include:

  • Two new Graduate Medical Education residency clinics for Family Medicine and Internal Medicine specialties, representing a $10 million investment to train and retain a continual cohort of over 60 primary care physicians, all of whom will provide treatment to the insured and uninsured alike. These clinics, located on Route 3 and on the Mary Washington Hospital campus, are operational now and are capable of serving over 50,000 patients annually. These residency programs are an investment to permanently address the historic lack of primary care access in our community.
  • More than 50 primary care providers offering care in 11 Mary Washington Medical Group locations, which serve more than 55,000 patients annually.
  • A network of over 100 specialty providers and surgeons offering care to all in our community.
  • MWHC’s four emergency departments and two hospitals which continue to see all patients with emergency medical and acute care needs regardless of ability to pay.

In short, our community can be comforted by and proud of our local healthcare safety net. The combination of Medicaid expansion, numerous free clinic options and Mary Washington Healthcare’s investments in sites to treat all patients regardless of ability to pay has led to a regional healthcare safety network that is integrated, equitable and resilient.

That is why we were so disheartened by the recent actions of leaders from the Moss Free Clinic. 

Over the past five years, MWHC has had ongoing discussions with the Moss Free Clinic leadership team regarding their management of the funds raised by the Mary Washington Hospital Foundation for the long-term operation of the Clinic. We also explained that cybersecurity and legal risk required MWHC to stop delivering technology and business service to any entity outside MWHC governance. To address these issues, Mary Washington Healthcare offered to merge the services of the Moss Free Clinic into our integrated, equitable model to honor the legacy of Dr. Moss and the like-minded missions our organizations share. 

As the Board of the Moss Free Clinic is responsible for its governance and decision making, we honor its decision to decline our offer and to remain an independent member of the healthcare safety net in our region. However, we do not understand the misinformation being disseminated that mischaracterizes our foundational support and longstanding partnership with the Clinic. 

The positive changes we have supported and witnessed in our local healthcare safety net landscape should reassure our community that this expanded network of mission-driven care providers, buttressed with the support of MWHC, means all members of our community can have access to quality healthcare services. 

Sincerely,

Michael McDermott, MD
President and CEO
Mary Washington Healthcare

Xavier Richardson
President
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation and Stafford Hospital Foundation

Fred Rankin, III
Former President and CEO (1992-2014)
Mary Washington Healthcare

Bruce Davis
Chair, Board of Trustees
Mary Washington Healthcare

Ronald Branscome
Immediate Past Chair (2021-2023)
Current Board Trustee, Mary Washinton Healthcare

William Boldon
Past Board Chair (2018-2020)
Mary Washington Healthcare

Alda White
Past Board Chair (2015-2017)
Mary Washington Healthcare

John Fick, III
Past Board Chair (2009-2014)
Mary Washington Healthcare

Joseph Wilson
Past Board Chair, MWHC (2006-2008)
Current Chair, Board of Managers, MWH Foundation

Kevin Breen
Chair, Board of Managers
Stafford Hospital Foundation

Nicholas Cadwallender
Board Trustee
Mary Washington Healthcare

Matthew DuMont, MD
Board Trustee
Mary Washington Healthcare

Margaret Hardy
Board Trustee
Mary Washington Healthcare

Dermaine Lewis
Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Trustees
Mary Washington Healthcare

Richmond McDaniel
Board Trustee
Mary Washington Healthcare

Howard Owen
Board Trustee
Mary Washington Healthcare

Chetan Pai, DO
Board Trustee
Mary Washington Healthcare

Sausheen Taylor, MD
Board Trustee
Mary Washington Healthcare

Catherine Wack
Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
Mary Washington Healthcare

Kimberly Young
Board Trustee
Mary Washington Healthcare

Edward Allison, Jr
Board Manager
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation

Daniel Clendenin
Board Manager
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation

Kostas Constantine, MD
Board Manager
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation

Mary Katherine Greenlaw
Board Manager
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation

Regis Keddie, II
Vice Chair, Board of Managers
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation

Patricia Lynch
Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Managers
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation

Edward Minniear
Board Manager
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation

Bradley Repp
Board Manager
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation

Jon Van Zandt
Board Manager
Mary Washington Hospital Foundation