Judge partially dismisses University complaint against UHS from December

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The order to dismiss the case states that the University's argument that UHS was not providing adequate academic support could not be concluded from the contract between the entities.

A D.C. Superior Court judge partially dismissed a lawsuit Monday the University and Medical Faculty Associates brought against the majority owner of the GW Hospital.

The lawsuit, filed in the D.C. Superior Court Dec. 6, alleged that United Health Services did not uphold its agreement to fund GW’s academic medical programs. The case’s judge has dismissed all but one of the claims in the amended complaint, upholding that UHS has an obligation to support the hospital’s “centers of emphasis,” which include several specific clinical programs like emergency medicine and women’s health.

The amended complaint, which was filed in D.C. Superior Court in February, claimed that UHS was retaining funding from the hospital meant for its academic medical programs. The judge also dismissed the University’s claim that UHS did not uphold its commitment to support an integrated health care network and that UHS did not uphold the good faith agreement outlined in its contract.

The order to dismiss the case states that the University’s argument that UHS was not providing adequate academic support could not be concluded from the contract between the entities.

“The court therefore concludes that the plaintiffs have failed to state a cognizable breach of contract claim as to the parties’ alleged failure to make additional academic support payments,” the order to dismiss states.

Barbara Lee Bass, the dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and vice president for health affairs, sent an email to MFA and medical school faculty and staff to notify them that the lawsuit had been partially dismissed.

“We strongly believe that UHS has failed to uphold its financial obligations on investment in development of centers of emphasis in our current agreement,” Bass said in the email. “We appreciate the court’s ruling in this matter and will update you as litigation progresses.”

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal deferred comment to the email Bass sent.

Bass said GW and UHS are planning to mediate the disagreement about the centers of emphasis and are deciding on a date for mediation.

“We are disappointed in this part of the court’s ruling and are evaluating our options, including whether to appeal this ruling at the appropriate time,” she said.

Gary Orseck, the legal counsel for UHS and GW Hospital, said in a statement that the hospital is “pleased” with the court’s dismissal of allegations.

“GW Hospital has lived up to its financial obligations and will continue to do so,” he said in the statement. “GW Hospital is and remains focused on our mission of providing medical care and treatment to our patients at this most critical time.”

An initial scheduling conference for the case’s next hearing was held Thursday, according to D.C. Superior Court records.

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