DC mayor gets power to stop Providence Hospital closure

D.C. Council members unanimously approved an emergency bill that may keep the 283-bed Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C., open, according to The Washington Post.

St. Louis-based Ascension, the owner of Providence Hospital, announced last month it would close the facility by December. While most services will end, the Catholic healthcare network said it would keep open a skilled nursing facility and primary care clinic. The move caused widespread concern since the hospital is in an area  plagued by disparities in healthcare access and outcomes.

The bill, written by council member and health committee chairman Vincent Gray, would give D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration the power to force the hospital to stay open. The legislation doesn't ensure the hospital will remain open, since the administration may choose not to exercise the authority the bill grants it.

"The council of the District of Columbia, all 13 members sent a powerful message today that yes, the Department of Health has the authority to make the decision not to approve the closing. Obviously, we are urging to do just that," said Mr. Gray, according to a WJLA news report.

It is unclear if Ms. Bowser will sign the bill into law.

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