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Oakland Doctors Produce 'Welcome To County' Rap Video To Publicize Hospital Funding Needs

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- Oakland doctors concerned about the funding of county hospitals are taking a one-of-a-kind approach to publicizing that concern, with the release of a slickly-produced rap video.

The hospital featured in the video, Highland Hospital, is the scene of a seemingly daily procession of trauma victims. "It's gunshots, car accidents. It's life and death," said Dr. Swapnil Shah, Chief of Orthopedics.

"Sometimes it gets crazy," said Dr. Chris Hahn. "We have every trauma bay filled."

About a dozen physicians from Highland here produced a rap video called, 'Welcome to County.'

Most patients don't expect the doctors who care for them to rap. "I don't look like a typical rapper," said lead singer Hahn. "Shock and disbelief."

Dr. Shah is the producer of the video. "That's what music is. It's about life, it's about obstacles, it's about joy," he said. "And that's what people want to hear in music."

The doctors have combined their dual passions of medicine and rap music to convey the importance of county hospitals, saying these safety-net hospitals will lose $500 million dollars next year as Obamacare fully rolls out.

Because the government now expects everyone to have insurance, it will no longer gives lump sum amounts to hospitals that serve the poor and the underinsured.

The doctors said there is no political message here. They just want people to support county hospitals.

Without the support, the doctors fear their hospital will meet the same fate as Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo, which has seen services whittled away and the facility downsized. Only emergency funding will keep it afloat.

"It's vital people pay attention now," said Shah. "It's the transition period. Transition period is what [will] make it or break it."

It took the doctors about a year and a half to write and produce the music video, paid for out of their own pockets.

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