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D.C. Council votes to take over beleaguered hospital

The D.C. Council voted Monday afternoon to approve emergency legislation that would create a city-run non-profit to manage the beleaguered United Medical Center in Southeast Washington.

The District will auction off the hospital next week unless an agreement can be reached with the current owner, Special Hospitals of America, over how best to salvage the troubled facility. If no bidders come forward, the city's non-profit would in effect take over the hospital.

Attorney General Peter Nickles filed a foreclosure notice last month stating that the auction would be held July 9 on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building. Nickles has accused Specialty of defaulting on its lease by failing to pay its bills on time. The company has said that the hospital's financial meltdown is due in part to the city's refusal to fully reimburse the facility for patient care. The city has estimated the hospital is loses about $1 million a month.

In 2007, a deal put together by D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) prevented the closure of the former Greater Southeast Community Hospital, the only hospital east of the Anacostia River. The arrangement called for Specialty, a for-profit company, and the city to own the hospital jointly, and for the hospital to be managed by its own board of directors.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  June 29, 2010; 5:03 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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