Registered Nurses and Caregivers Applaud D.C. City Council’s Approval of Legislation in an Effort to Keep Providence Hospital Open
Registered nurses and caregivers applaud D.C. City council’s unanimous decision to move forward legislation aimed at keeping Providence Hospital open as a fully functioning hospital with acute-care services including its emergency room, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) today.
“This is a great first step by the city council and underscores just how important this hospital is in providing care to the people of D.C.,” said Godwin Ofosu, registered nurse. “We are encouraged that our city leaders have taken this step, but we recognize there is a long way to go before we are secure that Providence will stay open as a fully functioning hospital. We are now calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser to continue this fight to keep Providence open and to do the right thing for the people of D.C.”
In a unanimous vote Tuesday afternoon, the city council approved an emergency measure that gives the authority to approve or disapprove the closure of any health care facility in the city to D.C. Health and the State Health Planning and Development Agency. The legislation further mandates the hospital give notice of their intent to close at least 90 days prior to the closing date. In addition, the emergency measure authorizes the Director of the Department of Health to issue a provisional license for up to three years. Providence’s license is set to expire in December of this year.
The emergency measure now goes to Mayor Bowser for approval.
“We want to thank the council and particularly, Councilmembers Kenyan McDuffie and Vincent Gray for their leadership,” said Wanda Shelton-Martin, executive director, National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees 1199 DC AFSCME. "We are now looking for the Mayor to step in and stop this hospital from closing.”
Today’s city council move follows a nine-hour emergency town hall meeting on Wednesday, October 10, where more than 50 people spoke about the disastrous effects closing Providence Hospital could have on the provision of medical care to the people of D.C.
In July, Ascension, the nation’s largest nonprofit Catholic health system, announced its intention to close Providence by the end of December. The hospital serves many low-income, poor, and elderly people with more than 80 percent of its patients receiving Medicaid or Medicare. The latest information available from the American Hospital Association shows that from the start of 2014 through 2016, there were 142,000 emergency room visits to Providence.
Nurses at Providence Hospital are represented by National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United. Caregivers at Providence are represented by National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees 1199 DC AFSCME.