Hearing Called for in St. Elizabeths Water Crisis

'Indicative of District's Wider Health Care Oversight Disaster'

A routine inspection that found bacteria in the water supply at St. Elizabeths Hospital, which has left D.C.’s only public psychiatric clinic without running water since late September, has resulted in a call to the D.C. Council for a public oversight hearing.

The hearing, aimed at examining the causes of the water crisis and to explicate protocols for ensuring that such a crisis does not occur again, has the support of the ACLU and 1199 SEIU.

“There is no reason why, in 2019, in one of the wealthiest cities in the country, it’s taking over two weeks to restore running water to patients and caregivers,” said Lisa Brown, 1199SEIU MD/DC executive vice president. “This water emergency is indicative of the lack of oversight and management of the health care system, which especially affects residents and caregivers in Wards 7 and 8. In addition to neglecting St. Elizabeths, the city did not provide oversight to United Medical Center’s contracted management team, leading to service closures, funding cuts, and further erosion of quality health care East of the River.

“At this point, the lack of oversight and funding is a human rights issue that the city must address immediately,” Brown said.

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