WASHINGTON -- Plans to build a new hospital in Southeast, DC are in jeopardy.
DC Council was supposed to vote on a bill Tuesday night that would have sped up the process to build a new medical facility, run by George Washington University Hospital (GWUH), on the St. Elizabeth East Campus.
The vote was postponed by its sponsor Vince Gray after two amendments were passed by other members of the DC Council.
One amendment granted Howard University medical students access to the new hospital for training and clinical purposes. The other amendment ensured that some of the new hospital staff would have union protections.
Less than a day after that council meeting, the CEO of GWUH, Kimberly D. Russo, wrote a letter to DC City Administrator Rashad Young. It read that DC Council's new amendments had made GWUH's "continued participation potentially impossible."
The letter went on to say that hospital project had been placed in jeopardy by the DC Council's legislative efforts and that GWUH would not work with the city on the project if the amendments were kept in the bill.
The development disappointment many people across the District from residents in Southeast to some of its highest officials.
Mayor Muriel Bowser released the following statement:
"We have worked for four years to bring a new hospital east of the River. The negotiations of the last several months were advanced but not complete. Simultaneously, the Council moved legislation to speed up regulatory processes, and on Tuesday night, legislated specific terms that are best left for the negotiating table. The potential health system provider has now paused negotiations pending Council action. While this is an unfortunate turn, it does not change our resolve to finally deliver for our residents a new hospital that is part of an integrated health system, is financially stable and offers robust lines of service. Anything less will not deliver a lasting solution for our residents and our city."
Mary J. Cuthbert acts as the chair of ANC 8C in Congress Heights. She said she is hopeful that GW decides to continue participating in the project.
"We need a quality delivery of service hospital," she said.
On December 18, DC Council will revisit the bill for a possible vote before the end of they legislative year.