The District’s Department of Health Care Finance recently announced a contract award, procuring the services of a Chicago-based consulting company to help develop a comprehensive proposal for a new hospital east of the Anacostia River.
The contract, at a cost of nearly $1 million and executed through the City’s Office of Contracting and Procurement, engages the services of Huron Consulting Group, Inc. to assist city officials in efforts to formulate a plan that would lay the groundwork for a new hospital serving residents who live in Wards 7 and 8.
The six-month contract will conclude in November. The plan will identify recent national and local health care trends intended to help D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of the City Administrator and others make more informed decisions about the design, financing options and potential partnership arrangements for an east end-located hospital. Huron’s findings and recommendations will be released in a comprehensive report.
Huron, a global provider of clinical and performance improvement solutions for hospitals and health systems, has worked with more than 350 national, regional and community hospitals, integrated health care systems, academic medical centers and physician practices.
Huron has also done extensive work with the District’s United Medical Center in Southeast.
One council member who has long highlighted the need for an additional hospital in Southeast, said he supports moving forward and reading the proposal upon its completion.
“I’m excited to have Huron working with the District again. We hope that this will move quickly because there are profound healthcare needs on the eastern end of the City. Every day that we delay is another day that residents have to endure inequitable health care realities,” said Ward 7 Council member Vincent C. Gray.
Gray, 74, who currently chairs the council’s health committee, often highlights the many existing health disparities in Southeast. He once stated that Wards 7 and 8, whose populations total nearly 140,000, have only 120 primary care and specialty physicians who practice in the area and have no urgent care facilities.
Gray first proposed replacing the city-owned United Medical Center in Southeast with a new hospital on the grounds of the St. Elizabeths campus during his tenure as mayor but could not secure the support of the city council.
The current budget sets aside $180 million to improve or replace the aging United Medical Center but Gray wants more to be done. During his State of Ward 7 Address in April, he fiercely challenged the City to allocate $300 million in the budget to build a new facility and find a private operator to serve as its manager.
Bowser believes an operator should first be identified before the District makes a commitment to fund a new hospital.
Gray said the contract with Huron indicates that D.C. officials believe a new medical facility East of the River would greatly benefit residents.
“We’re ecstatic that Mayor Bowser has acknowledged the need for a new hospital on the east end and an integrated healthcare system,” Gray said.