GW Hospital suspends deliberation on new East End hospital

GW Hospital has halted negotiations with the D.C. government on running a new facility east of the Anacostia River.

GW Hospital announced in August that officials would open a new East End facility servicing Wards 7 and 8 in 2023. But hospital administrators told D.C. officials Wednesday that a series of measures passed by the D.C. Council earlier this week placing restrictions on the agreement “have made our continued participation potentially impossible and placed this project in jeopardy,” The Washington Post reported Thursday.

At a Tuesday meeting, the Council amended a bill expediting the opening of the East End hospital and the construction of a 220-bed tower in Foggy Bottom. Kimberly Russo, the hospital’s chief executive officer, sent a letter to City Administrator Rashad Young Wednesday saying she wanted the project to move forward but could not if the D.C. Council didn’t retract the amendments, The Post reported.

The Council asked GW Hospital to honor the union contracts of health care workers at United Medical Center, the current hospital east of the Anacostia River. Another amendment forged an academic partnership between GW and Howard University hospitals in an effort to sustain Howard University Hospital operations when the new facility opens in Southeast D.C.

The Council also cut the number of beds the Foggy Bottom tower would hold from 270 to 220 and promised to prioritize opening the new hospital over building the tower.

Mayor Muriel Bowser called the suspended negotiations “an unfortunate turn” but said the update “does not change our resolve to finally deliver for our residents a new hospital that is part of an integrated health system, is financially stable and offers robust lines of service,” according to The Post.

The Council will pick up debate on the project at its next meeting on Dec. 18 after council members tabled the legislation Tuesday. Local representatives have rejected the expedited plan, saying council members did not consult the community about the plan.

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