The management of the District’s Providence Hospital has overhauled its board of directors amid controversy over plans to end acute-care services at the facility by the end of the year.
A spokesman for Ascension, which owns the hospital and is the world’s largest Catholic-run health-care system, on Friday confirmed a shake-up of the board of directors first reported by the Washington City Paper.
The weekly newspaper reported that the 12-member board received an email on behalf of Ascension on Thursday evening notifying them that all but three of them had been fired.
Founded in 1861 and the city’s oldest continuously operated hospital, Providence serves some of the District’s poorest residents. About half of its patients are on Medicaid, according to the D.C. Health Department.
The 283-bed facility in Northeast Washington is shutting down its emergency care center and shifting its focus to primary and urgent care, home care, community-based behavioral health care and senior care.
The ousted board of directors had objected to the changes and said that they were not consulted, the City Paper reported.
In a statement, Ascension said a new, seven-member board of directors “will help guide this transformation under the same three core principles that has served as a foundation throughout this process: commitment to the Mission, that Providence is not leaving the District, and that Providence will be transitioning to best serve the needs of the community.”
The board is chaired by Ascension Executive Vice President Patricia Maryland and includes several other executives of the health system.
Employees and community members gathered Thursday outside Providence to protest the coming changes to the hospital, according to online news reports.
The hospital leadership responded with a statement arguing that the District’s needs for acute care are “generally met.”
Health care in the District has gone through several disruptions over the past year. Providence and the United Medical Center public hospital both closed their obstetric wards last year, leaving no labor and delivery services on the east side of the city.
Earlier this month, the District reached a tentative agreement with George Washington University Hospital to run a new hospital in Southeast Washington that will replace United Medical Center. It is set to open in 2023.