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Mayor Bowser Announces Agreements for Two New Hospitals to Bring Equity to DC’s Health Care System

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced two monumental agreements to improve health care and address inequalities in health outcomes for District residents. The agreements include the construction of two new, state-of-the-art hospitals:

  • a 136-bed hospital at St. Elizabeths East in Ward 8, operated by Universal Health Services in conjunction with George Washington University and George Washington Medical Faculty Associates (GWMFA); and

  • a 225-bed Howard University Hospital on Georgia Avenue NW in Ward 1.

Both hospitals will build upon their existing and new networks of care to deliver fully integrated systems of care, offering the best in clinical integration. Structured as public-private partnerships with significant investments by all parties, this paradigm holds the promise of long-term sustainability in a very competitive market for hospitals, while providing the full range of health care services for DC residents.

“While DC continues to battle this pandemic, our team has remained committed to delivering hope and a better DC through a more equitable health care system,” said Mayor Bowser. “With these new agreements, we will deliver high quality, integrated care and transform our health care system by promoting equity in care, access, and outcomes. Together, we will build a health care system that meets the needs of all residents, attacks health disparities, and makes us more resilient for the challenges that lie ahead.”

With construction funded by the District, the new $306 million hospital at St. Elizabeths East is expected to open in the fall of 2024 and include 136 inpatient beds, with the ability to expand to 196 beds. The District is also funding the construction of a $69 million health services complex (ambulatory center) at St. Elizabeths that is expected to open in the fall of 2023. Two new urgent care centers in Wards 7 and 8 will open in the fall of 2021 and the spring of 2022, costing $21 million to be funded by Universal Health Services. This investment will be a part of a $75 million contribution to the project. The full agreement between the parties will be submitted to the Council for approval in June. The current United Medical Center will remain open until the new hospital is completed.

“Through this partnership, we will not only expand access to high-quality, equitable care, but we will improve health outcomes for so many individuals,” said Kimberly Russo, MBA, CEO and Managing Director of the GW Hospital. “It is truly an opportunity for GW to advance medicine and change the landscape of healthcare in the District for the better.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of this important expansion of health care in Washington, DC. As an academic medical enterprise, our mission to improve the lives of the people we serve is central to everything that we do in our clinics, research labs, and classrooms,” said Barbara L. Bass, MD, Vice President for Health Affairs, Dean of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and CEO of The GW Medical Faculty Associates. “We are committed to fostering the health of the citizens of our community by bringing much needed services to those in Ward 7 and Ward 8.”

The agreement with Howard University for a new hospital will further enhance the critical nexus with what will be a new academic health center and Howard’s College of Medicine – a premiere medical school that produces more African American doctors than any other university in the country. As with all academic health centers, the new hospital will play a vital role as a training ground for promising medical school students and experienced physicians, facilitate biomedical research, and provide specialized services to all DC residents while retaining a special focus on underserved populations.

Through a $225 million tax abatement provided by the District, Howard University and its new operating partner Adventist Healthcare envision a new, $450 million, 225-bed, Level I trauma and academic teaching hospital, with plans to complete by 2026. The current Howard Hospital will remain open until the new hospital is completed. In addition, the District is committing $25 million in public infrastructure support and $26.6 million over the next six years to support five Centers of Excellence at Howard Hospital – Sickle Cell, Women’s Health, Oral Health, Trauma and Violence Prevention, and Substance Abuse. Finally, in support of Howard’s redevelopment plans, the District has committed to establishing a government agency as a tenant in one of the planned new office buildings.

“The role that Howard University Hospital plays in providing healthcare to the citizens of Washington, DC, and especially to those most vulnerable, is a sacred one,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA, President of Howard University. “This partnership with the City to support building a new facility will strengthen Howard University’s healthcare system, which is important to preserve our mission to serve the community. Because of Howard’s role as the primary pipeline of African American healthcare professionals, this investment in the hospital is also an investment in the future of the healthcare profession and its diversity.”

“Adventist HealthCare is excited about the future of Howard University Hospital and our involvement in helping to continue its long tradition of providing high-quality care,” said Terry Forde, President and CEO of Adventist HealthCare. “Our history of nationally recognized care for heart, stroke, cancer, OB and other health services will complement and help support the future of Howard University Hospital. We are grateful for the support from Mayor Bowser and the city as we work together towards the development of a new state-of-the-art hospital.”

“Today is a major step in ensuring all District residents, regardless of geography, have access to a fully integrated and sustainable health care system,” said Jaqueline Bowens, President of the DC Hospital Association.