Cuts anticipated after council rejects emergency funding for DC hospital

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The D.C. Council declined to increase funding for the troubled United Medical Center, which will likely trigger a fiscal management control board to take over finance decisions and make drastic cuts at the Washington, D.C.-based hospital, The Washington Post reported May 4. 

United Medical Center had asked the council to raise a cap on city funding from $15 million to $40 million this year. The increase would allow the hospital to continue to operate without giving up spending decisions to an outside fiscal control board. 

The hospital said that it now has 10 times more staff than the average daily number of patients. 

Those in favor of increasing the funding said that the fiscal review board would be devastating to the community.

"If the control board comes in, the hospital will be viciously pruned," Wayne Turnage, the deputy mayor for health and human services who serves on United Medical Center's board, told the council, according to the Post. "The control board will come in and fix it for you, but it will be a fix that probably none of you have the stomach for. I've seen hospital operators come in and basically take hospitals down to the studs."

Those opposing the funding cap said that the council should stick to the legal cap that they previously set that will trigger outside financial help. 

"We put the threat of the control board in," council member Robert C. White Jr. said, according to the Post. "Why don't we want this control board at this point?"

After a debate, the council declined to increase the funding in a vote of 7 to 6. It needed nine votes to pass, according to the report. 

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