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

Back to Public Benefit Corporation main page

Jacqueline D. Bowens and James Chamberlain, Children’s National Medical Center
Testimony to the Committee on Health and Human Services
June 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

Children's National Medical Center
111 Michigan Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20010-2)70
(202) 884-5000

Testimony of Children's National Medical Center
Before the Committee on Human Services

Presented by
Jacqueline D. Bowens
Vice President of Government and Public Affairs
James Chamberlain, MD
Chair, Emergency Medicine

June 22, 2001


Chairwoman Allen, members of the Committee, I am Jacqueline Bowens, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Children's Hospital. Accompanying me today is Dr. James Chamberlain, who is the Chair of our Emergency Medicine department. We appreciate your invitation to present our testimony to you today about recent events affecting the DC health care system and our participation. As the leading pediatric health care provider in this region. we have been guided throughout this process by our mission to protect the health and lives of the children.

Today's testimony will focus on three areas: A current summary of services we have agreed to provide as partners in the DC Healthcare Alliance; our progress with respect to the transition of those services; and the impact to date on Children's Hospital from the changes in the District's public healthcare system.

Children's and the Alliance

Children's is pleased to have the opportunity to participate as a member of the DC Healthcare Alliance, and recognizes the important role that the Alliance will play in delivering health care services to the citizens of this city. As part of our agreement, Children's has assumed responsibility for three areas of care: inpatient pediatric care, pediatric specialty care, and the school health program.

With the closure of inpatient pediatrics services at DC General Hospital on May 15, 2001, Children's began providing those services to the children who had previously received their care at DC General. Since May 15, we have received 3 children who were transferred directly from DC General. In addition, there have been 13 children that were seen at Greater Southeast Community Hospital and then transferred to Children's. In all cases, their care resulted in excellent outcomes.

Children's has historically provided the full range of pediatric health care services to children from throughout the District, including wards 7 and 8. In FY 2000, we had 2,555 inpatient admissions and 61,281 specialty care visits from children of the District of Columbia. Because of the relatively low volume of pediatric inpatients at DC General Hospital, we have been able to absorb this service with minimal impact.

Regarding the school health program, we have aggressively prepared for the assumption of this program, and we are ready to begin. We have named the program Children's School Health, Inc. Already, we have designed compensation structures, transition plans, and have met with the school health nurses on several occasions to provide them with an overview of our transition plan. We have encouraged all school nurses to apply for employment with Children's. To date we have received applications from 95 staff, including former PBC nurses and contract nurses. Offers have been made to 50 RNs. Another 38 applicants are under consideration. 7 have decided to remain as contract nurses. We are fully prepared for the start of summer school on Monday.

Children's has contracted to provide all DC public schools with 20 hours of nursing coverage per week, as mandated by law and the terms of our agreement. We have also contracted to provide 20 hours of nursing coverage to 21 charter schools at 21 locations. In addition, as part of the maintenance of effort, 14 high schools will be provided full coverage of 40 hours per week. These schools are in addition to the full coverage of 40 hours that will be provided to the school based health and wellness center at Ballou Senior High School, and the educational centers at Fletcher Johnson and Patricia Robert Harris.

While we expect the transition and management of the school health program to be challenging, we fully intend to rely on the experience of those from the program who join our team to help ensure that things run as smoothly as possible. While we plan to act in a measured, judicious manner, we are enthusiastic about our plans to enhance the program. Our ideas include:

  • A comprehensive needs assessment of the program, utilizing input from the parents of DC public school students, current school nurses and school health advocates. 
  • The development of a strategic plan. This plan will certainly include the utilization of Children's existing telemedicine technology for patient care and distance learning opportunities. It will also call for the enhancement and strengthening of the nurses' skills and training, specifically in the areas of CPR and conflict resolution 
  • New and innovative programs for parents and families designed to keep kids well. 
  • Establishment of benchmarks to enable us to conduct appropriate evaluation of school health services.
We believe that the school health program is the perfect program to join forces with our Goldberg Center for Community and Pediatric Health, which includes an extensive network of primary care centers, and our two mobile medical units. Our assumption of the school health program meshes quite well with our efforts to ensure that every child has a medical home. The linkage with Children's will enhance school health nurses' ability to make-appropriate referrals for primary care services throughout the community, be it to our own primary care network. a non-profit clinic, one of the former PBC clinics, or another primary care location.

I would like to now turn to my colleague, Dr. Chamberlain, who can give you some illustration of what we believe has been the global impact of the closure of DC General on our own hospital. specifically in the emergency room.

Impact of DC General Closure on the Emergency Department

Chairwoman Allen and other council members, I would like to give you a brief synopsis of what we believe the impact has been on our hospital since the closure of DC General. As an emergency room physician at Children's, I can tell you that we have certainly seen an increasing number of patients over the last several months. To what this increase can be attributed is a complex question.

It is possible that some of the increase can simply be attributed to seasonal illness. The winter flu season always causes an influx of patients. Springtime brings allergy problems. Both winter flu and springtime allergies contribute to asthma, which continues to be our number one diagnosis in the emergency room. Summer time results in more accidents and trauma. Most of these things are normal healthcare trends that are seen in emergency rooms across the country. You may also remember intense media attention given a Scarlet Fever outbreak last winter. that while essentially much ado about nothing, caused alarmed parents to flock to the emergency room in droves. It is difficult to say if we have experienced more of these visits because of DC General or because the seasons have been particularly bad.

However, we did recently analyze zip code data to see if we were treating more patients from the zip codes surrounding DC General Hospital. According to these data, we have seen a 33°/0 increase in the number of patients seen in our emergency department per month from the zip codes near DC General Hospital since July 2000.

Interestingly, the increase in patient visits from these zip codes actually began appearing in October and November, 2000. This leads us to believe that the migration of patients from DC General Hospital began to occur many months ago, when media coverage of the Mayor's plan intensified. We have seen a steady increase since. We will continue to monitor these trends as the DC General Hospital situation stabilizes.


In conclusion, Children's is very pleased to have the opportunity to serve the children of this city through our participation in the Alliance. We have easily assumed the inpatient and specialty pediatric care for this population, and we look forward to the full implementation of the Children's School Health program. We believe we have already weathered' any major impact that this transition in our health care system might have sent our way.

While it is sad that a Washington institution's time is coming to an end, I can only assure you that Children's National Medical Center is poised and ready to put the resources built by our 130 year history behind the children who traditionally received their care from DC General. It will be our privilege to care for these children.

Thank you again for the opportunity to share our testimony with you today, and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Back to top of page

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