WASHINGTON — Ambulances raced toward the emergency room, as they have for decades, delivering those who need help, while community members and Howard University Hospital staff rallied in support of the 278-bed hospital.
The financially ailing hospital, currently in the hands of California-based Paladin Health Care, has begun to right its financial ship, but the university has raised the prospect of selling the hospital that has been treating Washingtonians for 150 years.
With music filling the air, rally attendees gathered in the park-like setting in front of the hospital’s main entrance.
“We cannot afford to lose this,” said Kimberly Mitchell, a lifelong Washingtonian. “This is something that is part of our history, and I would hate to see it gone and be what? Another condo or grocery store? We don’t need another one of those,” she said
Mitchell praised the hospital for its treatment of her late mother.
“One of the people who were actually taking care of my mom actually goes to my church,” Mitchell said. “So, I had that comfort that someone who lives in my community was here looking after my mom.”
Hospital management and its unionized workers joined hands in a bid to boost community support for the hospital.
While the hospital has lost millions of dollars the past few years, under Paladin’s cost-cutting plan it recently turned a profit, raising the possibility it could become the target of a takeover.
“We’re here to stay, we’re coming back strong and we’re open for business,” said Jim Edwards, CEO, Howard University Hospital.
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