The city must secure full funding for quality services at United Medical Center (UMC) – the only hospital located east of the river.
In 2019, the D.C. City Council voted to close UMC, the only hospital serving residents East of the River, by 2022. While Mayor Browser allocated $40 million for UMC’s public subsidy in the city’s budget, the Council cut the funding to $15 million. Thanks to our advocacy efforts, the Council raised the funding to $22 million. This public subsidy is critical to keeping UMC afloat and allowing them to maintain necessary services and union jobs.
However, $22 million is only half of what UMC needs just to maintain its current services, so that could mean more cuts in services and jobs. UMC already offers minimal care and services to residents in Wards 7 and 8. These cuts put residents’ lives at risk because they have to face long wait times or travel to other parts of the city to access care. This is unacceptable.
The city must partner with a responsible and high-quality operator for the new ward 8 hospital – not united health services, inc. who puts profit over healthcare.
Mayor Browser announced plans to build a new hospital on St. Elizabeth’s campus with Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS). While this partnership may be good for UHS’s bottom line, it is bad for D.C. residents and healthcare workers. UHS has a record of policies that threaten lives and jobs in their hospitals:
- UHS understaffs its facilities, putting patients and workers at risk.
- UHS paid $127 million in a settlement to the Department of Justice after being sued for fraud.
- UHS refuses to create an independent committee to protect patients and workers. This threatens patients’ health and workers’ jobs.
- UHS was found to violate labor law by the National Labor Relations Board. The Court found they tried to illegally bust the union.
This deal has lacked transparency and community input since the beginning, so residents and advocates do not know if the community’s needs will be met.
The city needs a plan for high-quality, full-service, accessible healthcare throughout D.C.
UMC – the only hospital East of the River — currently lacks a level-one trauma center and a high-risk obstetrics unit, two services this community desperately needs. But the new hospital’s current plans don’t include either of those basic services.
The coalition will fight to expand UMC’s funding for next year and to ensure that the new hospital meets the needs of our community. Southeast residents deserve a full-service, high-quality hospital until the day UMC’s doors close. Anything less is puts the lives of D.C. residents at risk.
We also demand a transparent process and a seat at the table as the city plans the new hospital on St. Elizabeth’s campus. The new hospital will be serving the community, so a good deal requires that community members have real decision-making power.