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George Washington University to provide health care for adults at new D.C. hospital

George Washington University medical staff will provide care for adults at the new $375 million hospital at St. Elizabeths and two new urgent-care facilities in Southeast, hospital and D.C. leaders announced Thursday.

Residents of Wards 7 and 8, where health outcomes have been significantly worse than in other wards, will have access to multiple services at the 136-bed hospital, which is set to open in 2024, including maternal and child health; behavioral health; primary care; emergency medicine; and advanced surgical services.

Medical staff from both George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates and George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences will provide the care.

“We know that right now too many residents travel across town to access their health care,” D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said in a news release Thursday. “With the talented medical professionals from GW staffing the new hospital, thousands of Washingtonians will be able to get the right care at the right time in a world-class hospital close to home.”

Officials plan to break ground on the hospital in early 2022. The announcement comes a few weeks after city and hospital officials announced that Children’s National will provide pediatric care at the new hospital.

Children’s National staff to provide pediatric care at new D.C. hospital

The only hospital east of the river, United Medical Center, has struggled to stay afloat financially as residents seek care elsewhere. City regulators shut down that hospital’s obstetrics ward in 2017 after discovering the hospital’s staff made dangerous mistakes with multiple pregnant women and newborns. A nursing home patient at the hospital died in 2017 after a nurse left him on the floor.

Until the new hospital opens, many residents living in Wards 7 and 8 will continue to cross the Anacostia River, the city’s historical dividing line, for health care.

At a troubled D.C. hospital, fewer patients and looming cuts in funding, services

Public health experts have pointed out that the coronavirus pandemic has trained a light on existing health disparities, such as unequal access to health care. Wards 7 and 8 are among the areas hit hardest by the virus, with both having comparatively high total positive cases and deaths.

That’s in part because of the prevalence of preexisting conditions among residents in those areas, some of which are both undiagnosed and untreated. People with underlying medical conditions are at high risk of developing serious illness from the virus.

Health experts hope that the pandemic will lead officials to improve existing health infrastructure. D.C. officials see bringing a new hospital to residents east of the Anacostia River as one way to do that.

“We look forward to bringing these vital services east of the Anacostia River as we remain steadfastly committed to improving health access, equity and outcomes for all individuals living in our nation’s capital,” said Kimberly Russo, a senior vice president at Universal Health Services.

Children’s National staff to provide pediatric care at new D.C. hospital

Urgent care center to open in Ward 8 later this year, hospital plans move forward

Bowser strikes deal for new Howard hospital and new Southeast D.C. hospital