Updated: Dec. 19, 2018 at 3:40 p.m.
The D.C. Council passed two amendments Tuesday in an effort to prevent GW Hospital from pulling out of a deal to operate a new hospital east of the Anacostia River.
The amendments softened requirements that the Council approved earlier this month mandating that the new hospital forge an academic partnership with Howard University and honor unionized workers’ contracts at United Medical Center, the facility the new hospital would replace.
GW Hospital had halted negotiations with the District after the requirements were passed, saying the stipulations made “our continued participation potentially impossible and placed this project in jeopardy.”
The first of two amendments passed Tuesday mandates that Howard University’s medical school must establish an academic partnership with either the new Southeast hospital or another medical facility before the new hospital is constructed. It also requires that GW Hospital and D.C. take steps to employ at least some United Medical Center workers.
A second amendment cut the number of beds proposed to be added at GW Hospital in Foggy Bottom to 200. The initial bill proposed a 270-bed tower, but the Council reduced that number to 220 earlier this month. The University and the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission have opposed the construction of the tower in its entirety.
“What we have, ladies and gentleman, at the end of the day, is legislation that will allow us to proceed,” Councilmember Vincent Gray, who introduced the amendments, said.
Only Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Jack Evans – who represents Ward 2, where Foggy Bottom is located – voted against the measures.
GW Hospital spokeswoman Susan Griffiths said in a statement Wednesday that the hospital was “encouraged” by the amended legislation and plans to move forward with the project.
“This will allow us to continue negotiations with the District government with the hope of reaching a definitive agreement,” she said. “As always, we remain focused on providing the highest quality health care to the residents of Washington, D.C.”
This post was updated to include comment from a GW Hospital spokeswoman.