Providence Health System in northeast D.C. (Courtesy of Turner Construction Company)
Providence Health System in northeast D.C. (Courtesy of Turner Construction Company)

Throughout its more than 150-year history, Providence Health System has adapted to the needs of the community we are privileged to serve. Recognizing the many factors that impact our community’s well-being, Providence is evolving to better meet the changing needs of the District of Columbia.

In September, Providence announced that in order to dedicate our resources toward creating a new health care model to keep health at the center and remove the obstacles and barriers to a healthy life for all, we will be transitioning out of all services. However, our skilled nursing facility Carroll Manor and our primary-care related services, which includes our outpatient behavioral health, the Police and Fire Clinic, and our partnership with Catholic University, will continue serving D.C. residents.

The decision to close Providence Hospital was difficult. However, the financial model by which Providence has served the community has been a struggle for years and is no longer sustainable. Discharges at the hospital have been declining over the past five years, and the District of Columbia’s data show that the hospital is greatly underutilized. Further, studies have indicated that the greatest health care needs in the D.C. community include community-based care and care coordination.

Providence remains committed to our Mission and to serving the health needs of the District of Columbia, as we have done for more than a century and a half. To ensure that our Mission can continue, instead of investing in an underperforming hospital facility, we are committed to transforming Providence to support health and health care in new ways.

As we re-envision the new Providence, we continue to collaborate with and seek input from internal and external stakeholders, community leaders, and partners. We are actively engaging with members of the D.C. community to make sure that the services we provide will make a substantive impact on the health of the District. Providence has been holding internal listening sessions with our associates and attending community meetings to share information and hear thoughts about the future of Providence. We have assembled teams representing associates and physicians to help define transition plans. We are regularly communicating with DC Health and, in partnership with the DC Hospital Association, we created workgroups with other local hospitals and health care institutions that meet regularly to ensure a smooth transition of services and patients.

In addition, we continue to work with our associates whose jobs will be impacted and we are committed to providing them with support for transitioning their roles with dignity and respect.

We recently committed to invest $30 million in the District and will have more plans to share as we continue to be committed to the important work of providing needed services within D.C. to address the social determinants of health. The new Providence will look to transform the way care is delivered in the District with a new community-focused perspective that addresses health care inequities and provides other types of needed services to improve health and wellness. The effort will sustain Providence while improving the health of our community for generations to come.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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