Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Dear Howard University Community,
 
The healthcare landscape of Washington, D.C. is at a critical juncture. The Government of the District of Columbia recently signed an exclusive agreement to build a new 150-bed hospital in Southeast D.C. The proposal includes urgent care and ambulatory facilities in D.C. Wards 7 and 8, which will become a part of a comprehensive healthcare network connected to the new hospital.
 
As a staunch advocate of improving the health outcomes among the city’s most vulnerable populations, Howard University supports a new “East End” hospital. However, granting an exclusive deal that excludes Howard’s ability to operate at the new hospital will have severe consequences for Howard University Hospital (HUH) and the HU College of Medicine.

Since the mid-1800’s, HUH has been meeting the healthcare needs of all D.C. residents. Its longstanding contributions to the city’s health equity have been a critical asset. HUH serves as D.C.’s safety net hospital and reliable healthcare provider for all underserved populations. In fact, 50 percent of HUH patient admissions come from Wards 5, 7 and 8; as well as 35 percent of the Hospital’s revenue. HU physicians provide specialty care to patients in these areas, as well as former patients of UMC and Providence Hospital, which have both shuttered their specialty services. HUH’s investment also includes a partnership with Unity Health Care to build an integrated health care system that serves more than 140,000 residents.
 
The Howard University College of Medicine has been a staple in the city’s health care community for more than 150 years. The HU College of Medicine educates more African American and minority medical students on an annual basis than GW, Georgetown, and the University of Maryland combined. The HU College of Medicine also trains the largest number of minority physicians in the D.C. region. Currently, there are 1,700 HU College of Medicine physicians practicing in the D.C region. Many of these physicians provide services in the city’s most impoverished areas.

The impact of a new East End hospital under the city’s current plan threatens to disrupt Howard’s ongoing efforts and future plans to serve the residents of Wards 7 and 8; and also impedes the HU College of Medicine’s training of African-American physicians. Without an equal opportunity for Howard to be included in the new East End hospital, the proposed deal will:

  • Significantly decrease revenue and patient volume at HUH. 
  • Hinder HU College of Medicine’s academic missions. 
  • Divert precious resources away from the Hospital. 
  • Severely reduce the number of qualified African-American physicians in the D.C. region.
  • Undermine HUH’s current services in Wards 7 and 8. 
  • Disrupt the pipeline of minority physician training across the nation. 
  • Impede HUH’s network with Unity to continue serving East End populations of the city.
  • Threaten HUH’s viability as an important safety net hospital. 

The city’s new East End hospital will not be open until 2023, still now is the time to share your thoughts with Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. City Council about the devastating impact of this proposal. In order for Howard to continue its vital clinician and education mission in the District, we are asking for:

  • Equal access to full admission privileges for our faculty physicians in the new East End hospital.
  • A level playing field for Howard to compete with other providers. 
  • Equal access to training for our medical students and residents in the new East End hospital.
  • Equal opportunity to grow our integrated network and urgent care centers in Wards 7 and 8 with Unity Health Care.

A collaborative partnership is the only feasible plan that will provide the underserved populations of D.C. with the quality healthcare services they deserve. Failing to do so, raises the risk that HUH and HU College of Medicine may not be around for future generations.
 
To demonstrate your support for HUH and HU College of Medicine, please contact Mayor Bowser’s Office and members of the D.C. Council to voice your concern and lack of support for the current agreement.
 
Thank you for your support of this important issue.
 
Excellence in Truth and Service,
 
Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA
President