DC lawmakers vote to close city's only public hospital by 2023

Ayla Ellison (Twitter | Google+) - Print  | 

The Council of the District of Columbia voted May 14 to close United Medical Center, the city's only public hospital, within four years, according to The Washington Post.

The hospital closure was part of a $15.5 billion budget the council approved for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget also included funding restrictions that could force United Medical Center to significantly scale back services before it shuts down, according to the report.

United Medical Center has received tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies in recent years. Closing the hospital will limit the city's losses, according to D.C. Council Member Vincent C. Gray and others who support shutting down the facility.

Critics say closing the 234-bed hospital could cut off vital medical care for low-income neighborhoods already struggling with fatal drug overdoses, high rates of infant mortality and other problems.

The council will vote a second and final time on the budget at the end of May.

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