D.C. Health Decisions Behind Closed Doors: What Are the United Medical Center Trustees Hiding?

This week the board that oversees the District’s only public hospital, United Medical Center, met for a while in public but then pulled down the curtain and went out of sight. Maybe if your multi-million dollar business had only a few days cash left in its kitty, you’d hide, too.

What you couldn’t hear or see was a vote to end the hospital’s prenatal and obstetrics care—another blow to the southeast part of D.C. that already gets the short end of the stick for many city services. Was that smart — the board chair said it reflected declining use of that unit and surplus of obstetrics beds around town generally. Maybe Howard and Unity will pick up the slack? Who knows. And what about the deal with GWU to run the UMC emergency room; another $7.5 million–will that do what’s needed?

No question the hospital is troubled, but why not share with the public all of what’s going on? Read more…