D.C. Council votes to advance plans to construct Universal Health Services facility in Southeast

Media Credit: File Photo by Alexander Welling | Senior Staff Photographer

Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a press release Tuesday that the Council’s most recent vote advanced the city’s efforts to “achieve equitable health care delivery in the District.”

Updated: July 27, 2020 at 7:37 p.m.

The D.C. Council voted Tuesday to advance plans to launch a new facility run by the majority owner of GW Hospital in Southeast D.C., the Washington Business Journal reported.

The unanimous vote came as the Council’s second and final approval of the city’s plans to construct a new hospital in Southeast by fall 2024, according to the Business Journal. The bill moves to Mayor Muriel Bowser, who must sign off on the legislation before the District officially starts the project that will bring a new medical center to an area previously lacking the same health care provided to other parts of the city, the Business Journal reported.

The bill outlines the plan to install the new hospital at St. Elizabeths East campus, a space in Southeast that has previously been home to “the dilapidated, financially ailing United Medical Center,” the report states. Universal Health Services, the majority owner of GW Hospital, will manage the new facility, the Business Journal reported.

At a meeting earlier this month, the Council cast its first vote in favor of the bill. Bowser said in a press release Tuesday that the Council’s most recent vote advanced the city’s efforts to “achieve equitable health care delivery in the District.”

“Today’s vote to clear the way for a new, full service, GW Health Hospital on the St. Elizabeths campus is an enormous victory for the District, especially for the residents and communities of Wards 7 and 8,” Bowser said in the release. “I thank all Council members for their hard work to get this deal done.”

Bowser announced plans to expand Universal Health Services earlier this year. She said Tuesday that the hospital’s services will benefit “all residents” seeking medical assistance in D.C.

“When completed in late 2024, mothers will again be able to deliver their babies near their homes, patients will receive critical medical treatment in their communities and residents who wish to pursue a career in health care will have additional training and job opportunities to pursue their dreams,” Bowser said in the release.

The Council’s vote follows previous difficulties for plans to expand to Southeast, which were put on hold in December 2018 following an onslaught of criticism from University officials and advisory neighborhood commissioners who opposed the Council’s attempt to accelerate the construction of a 270-bed tower at GW Hospital’s Foggy Bottom facility.

This post has been updated to correct the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that original plans for the expansion were put on hold due to opposition to accelerated construction of the Southeast facility. University officials and advisory neighborhood commissioners were opposed to accelerating the construction of a tower at the Foggy Bottom facility. We regret this error.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.