Seeking health care equity, DC will build 2 new hospitals

D.C. announced two new hospitals will be built in the city that would address issues of health care equity among its residents.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said the hospitals will be in Wards 1 and 8.

“While D.C. continues to battle this pandemic, our team has remained committed to delivering hope and a better D.C. through a more equitable health care system,” Bowser said in a statement.

A 136-bed hospital will be built at St. Elizabeths East in Ward 8 that will be operated by Universal Heath Services and The George Washington University and George Washington Medical Faculty Associates.

In Ward 1, a 225-bed Howard University Hospital will be built on Georgia Avenue.

The hospitals are public-private partnerships.

The new hospital at the St. Elizabeths East site is estimated to cost $306 million and expected to open in fall 2024.

“We are committed to fostering the health of the citizens of our community by bringing much needed services to those in Ward 7 and Ward 8,” said Barbara L. Bass, vice president of health affairs and dean of the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The new Howard University Hospital site will be a new academic health center and the site of university’s medical school.

“The new hospital will play a vital role as a training ground for promising medical school students and experienced physicians, facilitate biomedical research, and provide specialized services to all D.C. residents while retaining a special focus on underserved populations,” a mayor’s office news release said.

“Because of Howard’s role as the primary pipeline of African American health care professionals, this investment in the hospital is also an investment in the future of the health care profession and its diversity,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement.

The new site, with help from a $225 million tax abatement from D.C., will cost $450 million and is expected to be completed by 2026. Howard University and partner Adventist Healthcare’s plans include Level 1 trauma capability.

The current Howard University Hospital will be open until the new hospital is completed.

In addition to the new hospitals, Bowser announced that D.C. and its partners are funding a health services complex at St. Elizabeths and two new urgent care centers in Wards 7 and 8.

There are also plans for public infrastructure support and support for five Centers of Excellence at Howard University Hospital — Sickle Cell, Women’s Health, Oral Health, Trauma and Violence Prevention, and Substance Abuse.

Jacqueline Bowens, president of the DC Hospital Association, said the announcement is a “major step in ensuring all District residents, regardless of geography, have access to a fully integrated and sustainable health care system.

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Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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