D.C. Council approves emergency bill requiring permission for hospitals to close

The D.C. Council voted unanimously Tuesday to advance a bill that would require hospitals and health care facilities to get approval from the city’s health department before closing.

The emergency measure clarifies existing legislation to give the authority to approve or disapprove these types of closures to D.C. Health and the State Health Planning and Development Agency, which already handles the city’s Certificate of Need process to approve facility openings and expansions.

It reflects the council’s efforts to keep Providence Health System open, as its parent, St. Louis-based Ascension Health, works toward a permanent shutdown of the Northeast D.C. hospital in December.

Providence, which plans to transition into a “health village” with limited service lines and a focus on outpatient care, said its inpatient hospital beds have long been underutilized, triggering this decision. But it’s caused an outcry from political, community and health care leaders who fear that an…

Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.

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