Muriel Bowser
**FILE** D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced two agreements to improve health care and address inequalities in health outcomes for District residents.

The agreements include the construction of two new, state-of-the-art hospitals: a 136-bed hospital at St. Elizabeths East in Ward 8, operated by Universal Health Services in conjunction with George Washington University and George Washington Medical Faculty Associates; and a 225-bed Howard University Hospital on Georgia Avenue NW in Ward 1.

Both hospitals will build upon their existing and new networks of care to deliver fully integrated systems of care, offering the best in clinical integration. Structured as public-private partnerships with significant investments by all parties, this paradigm holds the promise of long-term sustainability in a very competitive market for hospitals, while providing the full range of health care services for D.C. residents.

“While DC continues to battle this pandemic, our team has remained committed to delivering hope and a better DC through a more equitable health care system,” Bowser said. “With these new agreements, we will deliver high quality, integrated care and transform our health care system by promoting equity in care, access, and outcomes. Together, we will build a health care system that meets the needs of all residents, attacks health disparities, and makes us more resilient for the challenges that lie ahead.”

With construction funded by the District, the new $306 million hospital at St. Elizabeths East is expected to open in the fall of 2024 and include 136 inpatient beds, with the ability to expand to 196 beds. The District is also funding the construction of a $69 million health services complex (ambulatory center) at St. Elizabeths that is expected to open in the fall of 2023. Two new urgent care centers in Wards 7 and 8 will open in the fall of 2021 and the spring of 2022, costing $21 million to be funded by Universal Health Services. This investment will be a part of a $75 million contribution to the project. The full agreement between the parties will be submitted to the Council for approval in June. The current United Medical Center will remain open until the new hospital is completed.

The agreement with Howard University for a new hospital will further enhance the critical nexus with what will be a new academic health center and Howard’s College of Medicine – a premiere medical school that produces more African American doctors than any other university in the country. As with all academic health centers, 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 DC residents while retaining a special focus on underserved populations.

“The role that Howard University Hospital plays in providing health care to the citizens of Washington, D.C., and especially to those most vulnerable, is a sacred one,” said Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., MBA, president of Howard University. “This partnership with the City to support building a new facility will strengthen Howard University’s health care system, which is important to preserve our mission to serve the community. 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.”

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