I am a fourth-year medical student at the School of Medicine, and over the past four years, I have seen how the visitor parking fee at the Dogwood Deck can become a significant source of stress for patients and their family members.
The hourly rate of the Dogwood Parking Deck is $1.50 per hour, with a daily maximum of $10. Although it seems like a small expense, the sum can quickly add up when a patient has to stay in the hospital long-term or have families visit them daily. I have also encountered cases where patients refused pre-planned surgery or admission upon finding out about the parking fee.
As a public hospital, UNC prides itself in serving underserved patients with economic disadvantages. The parking fee stands in the way of many patients receiving care. I suggest that the hospital adopt a system where patients, who are seen or staying at the hospital, are given parking stamps to reduce their daily maximum significantly or altogether — a method that many other state hospitals in other states have used.
I hope this letter brings the matter to your attention and brings positive change for our patients.
– Erin Xu, UNC School of Medicine
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