In nearly nine hours of testimony at Wednesday's Committee on Health roundtable on Providence Hospital, I heard concerns about the planned closure from residents, doctors, nurses, employees, neighbors, policy experts, and executives of other D.C. hospitals. It is clear Providence Hospital plays a critical role in our community and in providing equitable healthcare access to residents throughout the District, in particular Ward 5 and the East End of the city.
We also learned that the D.C. Department of Health (DoH) and State Health Planning and Development Agency (SHPDA) lacked clarity to take action when District hospitals seek to close. Following the roundtable, I introduced the “Clarification of Hospital Closure Procedure Emergency Amendment Act of 2018.” This legislation would provide clarity to the DoH and SHPDA of their role when a hospital in the District seeks to close. The legislation was co-introduced by Councilmember Vincent C. Gray, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Health, and is expected to be voted on by the full Council at the Legislative Meeting on Tuesday, October 16.
I want to thank the many members of the Ward 5 community who attended the hearing and have expressed their views on this issue, as well as Councilmember Gray for holding yesterday’s roundtable and co-introducing this legislation with me. I have renewed my call for the leadership of Ascension Health, the world’s largest Catholic health system, to testify before the Council.