Community General Hospital

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Dr Noland Wright, newly appointed manager of Community General Hospital, sighed as he reviewed the hospital’s financial records. He had been given the responsibility of leading the hospital’s next steps, but was perplexed by the financial condition highlighted in the financial statements before him. His training was in medicine, not business, and he had recently taken early retirement. He had been talked into taking Community’s reins by some old friends who live a few miles away from the facility. Community General Hospital had initially begun in 1914 as Whittaker Memorial hospital, a community-run hospital serving the black population of Newport News, Virginia. To meet the needs of an economic expansion of the community largely due to increased commercial activity during World War II, the hospital expanded facilities and scope through federal funding. In the 1940’s the hospital increased its census and gained accreditation by the America College of Surgeons. In the 1950’s and 60’s the hospital enjoyed a bustling business in the segregated health care industry. With the advent of the desegregation movement in the 1960’s, the hospital experienced several threats as black physicians gained the ability to admit patients to the large and better equipped traditionally ‘white’ hospitals in the area. The civic organization that governed the hospital began to be concerned for the hospital’s survival. It was experiencing a falling census, a deteriorating reputation concerning the quality of its health care, and picked up the reputation of being ‘public’ hospital (which it was not). While the City of Newport News was willing to help, it was unwilling to acquire full responsibility for the costs of a public hospital. During the 1970’s, the hospital drew on an emergency fund set up by the city. Throughout the 1970’s, the hospital suffered from losses and bad debts. By 1982 the civic board that guided the hospital became inactive. The following year, the last of the...
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