Press Release

Registered Nurses, Doctors, Hospital Workers and Community to Rally to Keep Providence Hospital Open and to Protect DC Residents’ Health

Providence nurses rally for their hospital

Nurses Warn: Public Health Crisis if Providence Hospital Closes, Pledge to Work With Community to Save Hospital

What:    Nurses, Doctors, Medical Staff, & Community Leaders Rally
  to Keep Providence Hospital Open
When:   Thursday, August 30th, 11:00 a.m.
Where:  Providence Hospital at 1150 Varnum Street, N.E. Washington, D.C.

Registered nurses, doctors, hospital workers, and community leaders are rallying this morning to keep Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. open. The recent announcement by Ascension, one of the nation’s largest Catholic nonprofit health systems, that it plans to close Providence Hospital or restructure and stop providing acute-care services, shocked the community.
“Nurses, like the rest of our community, are stunned by Ascension’s announcement that it wants to close Providence Hospital,” said Kamara Parris, RN, who works in Providence’s emergency department, and is a member of National Nurses United (NNU), the largest U.S. union of registered nurses. "I have been providing care to patients in this community and know that the care provided by nurses and other staff at Providence is very much needed. Closing Providence will cause enormous suffering among residents of the eastern half of D.C., especially in the midst of a maternal mortality crisis and other health challenges that have had a huge impact on this community.”
Nurses, doctors, hospital workers and community leaders are coming together to make it clear that D.C. residents, particularly those living in the eastern half of the city, will not stand for further destruction of their health care resources, putting lives at risk.  
NNU and 1199DC National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees (NUHHCE)
cite a number of ways in which the closure puts patients and the community at risk, including:

  • The increased distance that many residents of the eastern half of D.C would have to travel for care could lead to delays, with potentially devastating consequences. Severe traffic conditions could make this bad situation much worse.
  • Other emergency rooms and hospitals in D.C., already under pressure, would suffer from increased wait times as a result of diverting patients from Providence.

 Doctors note the residents of the eastern half of D.C., especially the poor and underserved, need quality, accessible medical care, which is the stated mission of Providence. They point out Ascension is a huge hospital system with more than enough resources to maintain this vital community institution.
Ascension’s stated mission directly contradicts efforts by current management to shut down Providence. The mission reads: “As the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable.”
“Providence Hospital has been providing health care to the people of Washington, D.C., for over 150 years. The hospital is especially important for seniors and low-income residents in Northeast D.C.," said Vaughn Newman, a radiology technician at Providence, and a member of 1199DC NUHHCE.  “We must come together, and D.C.’s elected leaders must take action, to stop the $22 billion-a-year Ascension hospital chain from closing our emergency room and cutting services that are vital to the health of our community.”
“It is shameful that a religious health care institution that claims its priority is saving lives, healing the sick, and helping those most in need of care, wants to abandon its patients in the heart of the nation’s capital," said Rev. Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ. “Why is Ascension willing to ignore the interests and the well-being of the patients who count on them for care? This cannot be allowed to stand.”
“I am a resident of the area, and my family and neighbors rely on Providence Hospital for quality care,” said Ericka Robinson, a physical therapist and member of 1199DC NUHHCE
at Providence. “We don’t need expensive apartments or high-end shopping in our neighborhood; we need Providence to stay open! The City Council and Mayor Bowser have to step up to protect our community.”