Updated: May 4, 2020 at 12:42 p.m.
The GW Hospital is expanding to Southeast D.C. with a new “state-of-the-art” facility in Ward 8, Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a release Wednesday.
Bowser said Universal Health Services, the majority owner of the GW Hospital, will operate the new $306 million location at the St. Elizabeths East campus in conjunction with the Medical Faculty Associates and GW Hospital “to improve health care and address inequalities in health outcomes” for D.C. residents. The new hospital, which will be the first one constructed in D.C. since GW Hospital’s current Foggy Bottom location opened in 2002, will hold 136 beds but can expand up to 196 after opening in fall 2024, Bowser said.
“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 D.C. residents,” she said in the release.
Bowser said in a press conference Thursday that the facility will include an intensive care unit with surgery and operating rooms, an adult and children’s emergency department, newborn delivery and women’s services with an intensive care nursery and parking and transportation services to the Congress Heights Metro station.
She said in the conference that the hospital will also maintain physicians, medical students and research efforts through its partnership with the MFA and School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
St. Elizabeths East is a 183-acre space of developmental land located east of the Anacostia River, home to a mental hospital from the mid-19th century until 1987.
The agreement follows a long-standing debate surrounding plans for a new hospital east of the Anacostia River that Bowser announced two years ago. GW Hospital halted its original negotiations for a Southeast hospital in December 2018 after receiving backlash from the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission and Howard University, which voiced frustration with its diminished role in the process.
After the council repealed a bill in May 2019 that would have paved the way for the hospital’s construction, Ward 7 Councilmember Vincent Gray said GW Hospital still intended to move forward with a plan for a hospital east of the Anacostia River.
Bowser also announced in the release the construction of a new Howard University Hospital with 225 beds on Georgia Avenue NW, an ambulatory center at St. Elizabeths and two urgent care centers in Wards 7 and 8.
She said the full agreement from all involved parties will be submitted to the D.C. Council in June for approval, and the current hospital serving many Southeast residents, United Medical Center, will remain open until the new St. Elizabeths hospital is completed.
Bowser said she has remained focused on improving health care access across the District throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said the city will construct a health care system to combat “health disparities” and address the needs of all D.C. residents.
“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,” she said.
Kimberly Russo, the chief executive officer and managing director of GW Hospital, said in the release that the expansion will allow GW Hospital to improve health care access for more residents throughout the District.
“It is truly an opportunity for GW to advance medicine and change the landscape of healthcare in the District for the better,” she said.
University President Thomas LeBlanc said in a medical school release that the University is “deeply committed” to providing health care throughout the District.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to provide the compassionate and expert care of our faculty and medical providers in service of the residents of wards 7 and 8 and to harness our teaching and research missions to reduce inequities and improve access to high-quality health care services,” he said.
Barbara Lee Bass, the dean of the medical school and chief executive officer of the MFA, said in the release that the school is looking forward to expanding its reach to serve community members in Wards 7 and 8 of Southeast D.C.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this important expansion of needed health care in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “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.”
The announcement comes two days after Bowser allotted $5 million to GW Hospital as part of a $25 million package to hospitals throughout the District to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.
This post has been updated to clarify the following:
This post has been updated to clarify that Universal Health Services is the majority owner of GW Hospital instead of the sole owner.