D.C. United Medical Center board backs down, releases recording of closed meeting

The board of D.C.’s only public hospital has relented in its fight to keep secret its discussion and December vote to close the hospital’s obstetrics unit.

The board of United Medical Center last week released an archived audio recording of a closed meeting at which members took that vote, which left the nation’s capital without a hospital for women to give birth or seek prenatal care east of the Anacostia River.

The D.C. Office of Open Government ruled in January that the board broke the law by excluding the public from its deliberations. However, board chairwoman LaRuby May said two weeks ago that the hospital would go to court to fight the ruling.

It was not clear whether such a legal action was possible, since the city’s Open Meetings Act does not allow for an appeal of open-government office decisions and the office had never been sued by a District agency.

The board shifted course on March 5, publishing the recording of its closed session on its website. The decision was first reported by the Washington Business Journal. Read more…