United Medical Center leader argues case for hospital operator as contract decision looms

Veritas of Washington, which operates Washington, D.C.-based University Medical Center, is defending itself amid various troubles at the hospital, according to the Washington Business Journal.

While addressing Washington, D.C., officials Monday, UMC's new interim CEO, David Boucree, a principal with Veritas, said previous operator Huron Consulting Group made various improvements, but there was no knowledge transfer to hospital staff when Huron left and hospital operations "had been allowed to deteriorate," according to the report. He specifically cited the hospital's revenue cycle management, which he said "returned to its pre-Huron level of dysfunction" by the time Veritas began operating UMC.

The city contracted with Veritas last year after its contract with Huron ended. D.C. Health Care Finance Director Wayne Turnage has said the goal at the time was to help ensure the hospital stayed financially viable as the city worked on a new hospital project.

But UMC has struggled financially and has had various quality-related problems under Veritas. For instance, district regulators imposed a 90-day obstetrics ward shutdown at the medical center in August. At the time, UMC cited three separate cases involving deficiencies in screening, clinical assessment and delivery protocols as reasoning behind the district's decision.  

Then last month, the District of Columbia Nurses Association voted "no confidence" in UMC leadership, particularly pointing to medical center CEO Luis Hernandez, a Veritas employee; and Maribel Torres, MSM, RN-BC, UMC executive vice president of patient care service and CNO. Following the vote, which centered around what the union deemed as unsafe nurse staffing, among other issues, the hospital defended itself.

And most recently, a patient's death in August has prompted an investigation into a potential breach in care protocols at UMC's nursing home.

DC officials are still considering a $3.6 million contract extension for Veritas.


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