The United Medical Center (UMC), a not-for-profit hospital facility in Washington D.C., confirmed that their obstetrics ward has been closed down by regulators from the District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH). The closure is apparently the result of errors and inadequate performance associated with screening, medical assessments, and delivery practices. Jennifer Devlin, a spokesperson for the facility, explained that restrictions in place with HIPAA prevent her from discussing the details of the situation; however, she asserted that UMC is in the process of correcting their problems. The license restriction prevents services relating to obstetrics as well as nursery care. The hospital will be reevaluated after a 90-day period to see if necessary corrections have been made. Babies admitted to UMC are being transferred to other area hospitals.
Only in cases of critical emergency will physicians at UMC be initiating child delivery services. Ms. Devlin recently told Becker's Hospital Review that the facility in currently underway in a transition from a Level III center for neonatal intensive care and all doctors and nurses are undergoing the necessary training programs to be certain the facility is in accordance with procedures. In the interim period of this full transition, UMC's Emergency Services Department will transfer patients to other hospitals for needed obstetric care. UMC recommends those in Ward 7 and 8 to visit Providence Hospital and listed other optional local hospitals including MedStar, George Washington University, and Howard University.
The DOH has a Division of Health Care Facilities that is responsible for licensing and certification of medical facilities. Their work seeks to ensure adherence to proper regulatory standards that are implemented at both the state and federal levels. Some of the types of health-related facilities that they are tasked with maintaining compliance for include:
- Outpatient Surgery Centers
- Renal disease service centers
- Nursing homes and other long-term care sites
- Home-health provider organizations
- Outpatient rehab providers and others
Vincent Gray, a member of the Ward 7 council, issued a statement after hearing the news regarding UMC. He stated that the facility provides care for many of the regions lowest-income residents. He feels that residents on the eastern side of the district should have a local east-end hospital option for baby delivery.
A former employee of UMC gave her opinion on some of the reasons for the department closure to ABC7 news. She explained that the facility was simply not properly maintained and had leaks in ceilings, mold on tiles, and floors in disrepair (none of which are confirmed). The most recent release from UMC was positive saying that the hospital remains a strong part of the overall community and eager to provide critical medical care to those in Wards 7& 8 and surrounding areas of Prince George County also. The hospital has had a history of problems, most notably in 2010 when the District of Columbia foreclosed on the assets of the owners of the facility at that time.