Logosm.gif (1927 bytes)
navlinks.gif (4688 bytes)
Hruler04.gif (5511 bytes)

Back to Public Benefit Corporation main page

Charlene Gordon, Employee of DC General Hospital,
Testimony at
“National Public Hospital Safety-Net in Crisis: D.C. General Hospital in Focus,”
A Congressional Hearing Sponsored by Rep. John Conyers
March 22, 2001




Dorothy Brizill
Bonnie Cain
Jim Dougherty
Gary Imhoff
Phil Mendelson
Mark David Richards
Sandra Seegars


DCWatch Archives
Council Period 12
Council Period 13
Council Period 14

Election 1998
Election 2000
Election 2002

Election 2004
Election 2006

Government and People
Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Boards and Com
Campaign Finance
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Management Officer
City Council
Control Board
Corporation Counsel
DC Agenda
Elections and Ethics
Fire Department
FOI Officers
Inspector General
Housing and Community Dev.
Human Services
Mayor's Office
Mental Health
Motor Vehicles
Neighborhood Action
National Capital Revitalization Corp.
Planning and Econ. Dev.
Planning, Office of
Police Department
Property Management
Public Advocate
Public Libraries
Public Schools
Public Service Commission
Public Works
Regional Mobility Panel
Sports and Entertainment Com.
Taxi Commission
Telephone Directory
University of DC
Water and Sewer Administration
Youth Rehabilitation Services
Zoning Commission

Issues in DC Politics

Budget issues
DC Flag
DC General, PBC
Gun issues
Health issues
Housing initiatives
Mayor’s mansion
Public Benefit Corporation
Regional Mobility
Reservation 13
Tax Rev Comm
Term limits repeal
Voting rights, statehood
Williams’s Fundraising Scandals


Appleseed Center
Cardozo Shaw Neigh.Assoc.
Committee of 100
Fed of Citizens Assocs
League of Women Voters
Parents United
Shaw Coalition



What Is DCWatch?

themail archives

The Killing of a Hospital

By Charlene Gordon RN
Employee of the District of Columbia General Hospital;


Hello, My name is Charlene Gordon RN and I work for DC General Hospital for 18 years and I loved every year of it. As a nurse I am an advocate for the patients. I believe that they must all have access to safe, quality healthcare and DCGH is at the forefront for that. As a Member of the District of Columbia Nurses Association WE AGREE WITH And SUPPORT THE American Medical Association, the National Association of Public Hospital, The American Public Health Association, the DC Medical Society, and. the DC Hospital Association that DC General is to be a FULL SERVICE, FULLY FUNDED, PUBLIC HOSPITAL FOR ALL.

The District of Columbia citizens are on the eclipse of a new dimension of medical care. The question is, far, whom is healthcare going to be granted.

For over 195 years, the District of Columbia Hospital (DCGH) has been there for the needy, the uninsured and the underinsured. All the District residents were welcome and never refused care. Now it appears that this is in jeopardy

The Doctors Community Healthcare Corporation who was awarded the bid to DC General Hospital proposes to clear away most of the clinics we have on the grounds of DG General Hospital and transfer them to Greater Southeast Hospital, which is managed and owned by the Doctors Community Healthcare Corporation.

With more the 170;400 people visiting DC General's clinics and hospital yearly, in that number over 55,000 visit the ER alone with 15,000 being Ambulance driven, and 40% of that needing to have 24 to 48 hours observation and 300 of that actively come in as CPR in progress. The Doctors Community Healthcare Corporation as going to leave a 23-hour inpatient unit at DC General hospital and is planning on other hospitals accepting those patients still in need of care after 23 hours. Do we need a reality check here?

Now the patients who come to DC General Hospital for care, and the employees who work here all feel as if we have done some wrong to warrant this punishment. We are the one who hive not gotten a raise in 10 yrs. or Cost of Living Allowance. We are the one who have our health insurance changed. We cannot get our teeth nor eyes checked by our union benefits because of uncertainty of were the hospital stands yet we stay and take care of the patients than come with a smile and a thank you.

It is becoming more apparent as time rolls by that the killing of DC General was not decided yesterday. The Doctors Community Healthcare Corporation (DCHC) needed a pawn to do the actual stabbing and gutting of the hospital, DC General. And they have been very active from the 50's to present. The slow eroding of the hospital is witness to that.

DC General Hospital is the highest rated hospital in the District of Columbia. JACHO, the national accrediting agency for all of the hospitals in the nation, gave DC General a rating of 100 then took 6 points off because of the deteriorating facility. Even with the rating of 94 DC General remains the highest rated hospital in the District of Columbia. Washington Hospital Center received a rating of 90, and Greater Southeast Hospital received a rating of 84, Let us look at this according to JACHO WHO IS RECEIVING BETTER CARE?

Ivan Walks, MD, a psychiatrist, who has not shown any certifications as being a Board Certified Preventive Community Health Doctor, who is usually the head of the health department of a State or District; decided that it would be in our best interest to make us a Community Access Hospital. How did he truthfully arrived at that decision.

Don't let the terminology fool you. The Community Access Hospital is a large Clinic that is open 24 hours a day. It will have smaller clinics. It will not have in-patient services to our Wards 5,6,7, and 8. It will not have level one trauma, which is for motor vehicle accidents; gunshot and stabbing wounds, primary treatment of burn victims or any conditions that would need emergency trauma treatment.

The Bio/Chemical Hazardous treatment disaster area will be closed. The remaining treatment areas are strategically located at GW Hospital and Waiter Reed. To maintain this area you must have inpatient service and that is going be eliminated. With the new landscape planning by the National Capital Planning Commission what will you or the District do for warfare like in Georgia (at their summer Olympics) if there should be one with out that safety net.

The neonatal care for newborn infants will not be available. Babies born to drug addicted mothers will go into withdrawal at home on the 3rd and 4th day because private hospitals discharge their babies on the second day after birth without testing far drugs in the new born if the mother denies drug use. The prison population suicide attempts, TB Isolation, Trauma, Renal Disease that is dialysis dependant will not be accommodated when DC General changes its status.

Why does this, considering the fact that DC General is right next to Interstate 295 and next to Wards that have the highest homicides and gun shot wounds in D.C. Major surgery could no longer be provided.

DG General's new CEO Mr. Michael Birch, propose a bid for the hospital called the PBC2 Urban Health Campus along with the Doctors Community Healthcare Corporation from Scottsdale, Arizona. His bid was not selected, would include a Level 1 Trauma Center, Emergency Room and an Urgent Care Center as well as a Women's Health Care Center, a modern birthing facility and a Senior Wellness Center. A new medical campus including mental health, long-term acute care, substance abuse services Federal/D.C. Partnership, Community Health Centers to partner with non-profit Clinics, Unity Health to Focus on 330 Status, Primary Care, Medicaid Manned Care. School nurses in the public school including charter school will emphasize health education, preventive medicine, immunizations and screening. Services will include enabling social services, nutrition, care management, mobile health vans and home visitation. Expand Community Health Programs; provide long-term acute care, substance abuse and mental health care. "Center of Excellence" would be established to assist patients with management of chronic diseases that disproportionately affect African-American and low-income city residents. A new strategic partnership would be formed with Howard University's Cancer Center; Howard University Hospital and Howard College of Medicine as well as other organization such as the National Institutes of Health. Our physician will organize into a corporation for the purpose to delivering specialty care.

This could all come about while at the same time

  • Operate within an allocated budget
  • Earn increase revenues,
  • Operate efficiently and effectively
  • Providing quality health care td the District's insured and uninsured resident

The other bidder for the leasing of the hospital, Doctors Community Healthcare (this has no affiliations with the Doctors Hospital we know), propose to:

  1. Shutdown D.C. General Hospital as an inpatient care facility.
  2. To gut and use all equipment from the facility until broken or outdated. Repairing equipment is not in the proposal.
  3. To take most of the clinics at DC General Hospital and transfer them over to Greater South East Hospital that was bought in 1999 at the 11th hour set-up for 22.3 million dollars. Will more funding be given if needed? (The original negotiated price of 39 million dollars was refused by the DOMESTIC at the 11th hour).
  4. Does not participate in area's graduate medical/dental program education programs.
  5. They have no community-based health care experience

  6. No social support for vulnerable populations
  7. No experience in long-term management of chronic TB patient( Like dedicated negative pressure isolation rooms.. We have that on all unit floors.)

Plans are to delete the Level One Trauma Center here at DC General for a small Emergency Room on a need by need basis. All sick patients needing inpatient care will transfer to hospitals throughout the metropolitan area.

So why did Williams give DCHC the bid to a public hospital. The District of Columbia General Hospital? Realtors indicate the property DC general sits on is valuable.

The hospital and correctional facility resides on more than 124 acres of waterfront land, with the RFK stadium and the DC Armory next to it. It is also curious thin the DC Planning Commission's ten-year projection of the area does not show the Hospital or jail in its topography. It does show fantastic condominiums and apartments with a riverfront to beat all riverfronts. But :no hospital for all of those potentially sick people.

Be mindful that the Washington Navy Yard, which is near the hospital, is bringing 5,000 jobs to the area. Even if Baltimore is selected to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, a full service hospital will be needed there. Change is good so why can't we compromise and have both?

To some this is how you kill a hospital. What happens to the people who believed in your word? You promised to take care of and help by keeping the only public hospital open, fully funded and alive? Give us what was promised.

Ms. Eleanor Norton-Holmes, the District's delegate, to Congress once championed the cause of civil rights for all, you constituents are looking for you to step up to the plate and say stop this! Will you help us please?

The voters; be they uninsured, underinsured, poor and indigent; of the District of Columbia backed YOU when you called out. NOW it is your turn. Don't turn your back!

We need your help Congressman and your voice. Help us keep our hospital so that all the constituents of the District of Columbia can come and see a doctor regardless of ability to pay.


YES, you can help! Please call the Control Board members and tell them to stop this potential loss of lives and bloodshed and needless death of our resident who don't quite fit the bill of the fortunate like you do. Their number is

Stop trying to kill DC General Hospital but give CPR and Breathe back LIFE into these walls of caring, love and. devotion. Remember what bur preamble says PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE. THANK YOU. CG

Back to top of page

Send mail with questions or comments to webmaster@dcwatch.com
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)