UMC Permanently Closes Obstetrics Ward

The United Medical Center (UMC) board voted Thursday against renewing the hospital’s obstetrics ward after the D.C. Department of Health (DOH) restricted the license on maternity services in August due to critical lapses in safety protocol.

Veritas of Washington LLC, which is temporarily contracted to manage the hospital after the Council voted to oust it as the UMC’s permanent overseer in November, presented the board with serval options regarding its obstetric unit. But the board ultimately voted to not to seek renewal of the restricted license to reopen the ward.

“We remain committed to the residents and patients of this community,” said UMC board Chair LaRuby May.

The board said low patient volumes and the large portion of patients that entered the unit through the emergency department, often without prenatal care, made it too costly to provide to provide the level of staffing required to care for patients and their newborns.

UMC had the lowest count of births in 2016 with 365 births being performed at the hospital, while in the same year MedStar Washington Hospital Center delivered 3,564 babies, George Washington University Hospital had 3,127 deliveries and Howard had 968.

“The unfortunate reality about OB is this: long before the DOH decision to restrict [obstetrics at UMC], mothers made a conscious choice not to deliver their babies at UMC,” May said. “We will work with the DOH through this transition period and look forward to doubling down our efforts to deliver high-quality in all the other services that we offer at United Medical Center.”

The UMC board voted to close the units just hours after voting to request a $17 million city subsidy to compensate for its dwindling revenue and cash reserves; to pay for its contract with George Washington to take over the behavioral health unit, emergency department and inpatient care; settle a payment dispute with the nurses’ union and to repay the government after overcharging Medicare.

For months, UMC leaders examined what would become of its maternity ward. Meanwhile, Providence Health System in Northeast announced that it would be closing its obstetric unit.

The closures raised questions about access to maternity services, especially for the District’s low-income residents.

Howard University Hospital entered a partnership with Unity Health Care clinics in November to expand access to maternity care in D.C.’s underserved areas.

City leaders have pointed to the fact that there is an oversupply of obstetric beds in the District, but others have argued that they are not well dispersed enough to fill in the gaps.

“It is clear that UMC is suffering from a lack of vison and leadership from its board and the current administration,” said Council member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7), who chairs the council’s health committee and has been critical of UMC operations since the license restriction. “In this instance, it is the would-be mothers on the east end of the District who will be most disadvantaged from the resulting lack of essential obstetrical care.”

The three options presented to the board included not reopening the obstetric ward, reopening the ward under its previous model with limited dedicated staff and services or reopening under a “women’s approach” to provide a full pipeline of services with dedicated staff to the unit.

The board said it did not want to repeat the previous model and will consider revisiting the reopening the unit using the women’s approach model at a later time when they believe they have the time and resources necessary.

Show More

Tatyana Hopkins – Washington Informer Contributing Writer

Tatyana Hopkins has always wanted to make the world a better place. Growing up she knew she wanted to be a journalist. To her there were too many issues in the world to pick a career that would force her to just tackle one. The recent Howard University graduate is thankful to have a job and enjoys the thrill she gets from chasing the story, meeting new people and adding new bits of obscure information to her knowledge base. Dubbed with the nickname “Fun Fact” by her friends, Tatyana seems to be full of seemingly “random and useless” facts. Meanwhile, the rising rents in D.C. have driven her to wonder about the length of the adverse possession statute of limitations (15 years?). Despite disliking public speaking, she remembers being scolded for talking in class or for holding up strangers in drawn-out conversations. Her need to understand the world and its various inhabitants frequently lands her in conversations on topics often deemed taboo: politics, religion and money. Tatyana avoided sports in high school she because the thought of a crowd watching her play freaked her out, but found herself studying Arabic, traveling to Egypt and eating a pigeon. She uses social media to scope out meaningful and interesting stories and has been calling attention to fake news on the Internet for years.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker