Wayne Turnage, DC’s deputy mayor for health and human services, called the start of construction on Cedar Hill “a watershed moment in health care for residents of Wards 7 and 8.”
“There can be no more fitting name for this hospital than one that embraces not only the life of Frederick Douglass, but also the struggle that poor black people have had since we were dragged through the streets in chains,” he said. he said in an interview on Wednesday.
The new hospital, slated to open in late 2024, will replace United Medical Center, the public hospital that has been plagued by financial problems and mismanagement for decades. Lack of access to adequate services, including obstetric care, has contributed to the disproportionately high death rates and poor health outcomes highlighted and exacerbated by the pandemic, Turnage said. He stressed that UMC will not close until Cedar Hill is open.
“Over the years, residents of Wards 7 and 8 have paid the price for a government-run public hospital,” Turnage said. “There is no doubt that the lack of convenient access to the care they need to treat their health conditions has been a major factor in perpetuating these major health inequities for these residents.”
Universal Health Services, which operates George Washington University Hospital, will operate Cedar Hill on the St. Elizabeths East campus and contribute $75 million over 10 years, Turnage said.
Physicians and graduate medical students from the Associates of George Washington University School of Medicine and the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Children’s National Hospital and community physicians will provide patient care.
In addition to the inpatient facility, the first to open in DC in more than 20 years, the hospital will have an outpatient pavilion for doctors’ offices, clinics and community space, a 500-car garage and a helipad for emergency transportation, according to the mayor’s office.
“This is the start of a new chapter for health care in Washington, DC, especially for our neighborhoods east of the river,” Bowser said in a statement. “And I hope the message we send is loud and clear: as the DC government rightly steps back from running a hospital, we are fully present in St. Elizabeths East and fully committed to all Washingtonians who will come to Cedar Hill Regional Medical Center GW Health for world-class care.
Children’s National, which serves 30,000 children in the United Medical Center’s pediatric emergency department, will move its operations to Cedar Hill.
DC Children’s Hospital, where the neonatology program is ranked first in the nation by US News & World Report, will also operate a six-bed neonatal intensive care unit in the new hospital. Officials expect more than 2,500 babies to be delivered at the new hospital in its first year.
“This community will have the best NICU doctors in the United States in its community,” Kurt Newman, president and CEO of Children’s National Hospital, said in an interview Wednesday. “It will give us a greater footing and presence in this community to identify health needs and then address them.”
The adult emergency department, which will not have the volume to support a level 1 trauma center, will be equipped to treat 90% of serious trauma cases, including gunshot wounds, stab wounds , car accidents and head trauma, Turnage said.
Sixteen inpatient beds will be designated to treat voluntary and involuntary behavioral health patients. The campus will include outpatient services, including physiotherapy, dialysis and chemotherapy, and specialty offices for orthopedic, liver, heart, kidney, brain, bone and joint care, according to the mayor’s office.
“It has the potential and promise to dramatically change a community in so many ways that can be lasting and uplifting for so many residents,” Turnage said.