Edward J. Smith, Executive Director of the DC Nurses Association (DCNA), speaks about the need for high-quality extensive health care services east of the river (Wards 7 & 8) in the District of Columbia in an editorial for WPFW-FM.

Listen to the editorial:

Written Transcript:

This is Ed Smith with a WPFW editorial. Health care is a human right. The DC Nurses’ Association (DCNA) was formed in 1904 to care for patients and advocate for health care for all. What was true then remains true today – the reality is that here in the District of Columbia this basic human right has not been delivered, especially east of the river in Wards 7 and 8.

Despite the fact that there are a disproportionate amount of homicides, at-risk pregnancies, and senior citizens east of the river, Mayor Bowser has chosen to build a new hospital lacking an adequate trauma center, intensive care for children, cancer treatment, and mental health care.

Worse – the city council is afraid to fight for these services because they do not want to be seen as voting against building a new hospital. Nurses are the ones who care for hospital patients so we know the needs. We’ve listened to thousands of residents in Wards 7 and 8, yet the mayor and the council think they know better.

Mayor Bowser is imminently going to send to the DC council an agreement with Universal Health Services (UHS) to build a new hospital lacking all the health care services provided in other more affluent parts of the city. This is flatly wrong and cruel.

UHS will not employ union workers; many of them have continued to work at Medical Center for decades despite shoddy and corrupt management.

George Washington University just recently sued UHS for taking $100 million dollars designated for investment in hospital services and putting the money in the pockets of shareholders. DCNA cannot convince the mayor of the city council to stop this egregious decision without the support of the people in the district. Not just those directly affected east of the river but all people who care about fairness and health care as a human right.

You can contact your council member and the mayor to stop this agreement with UHS and demand that any new hospital provide health care equity. Residents east of the river deserve quality healthcare.

Trayon White, Ward 8 Councilmember’s email is twhite@dccouncil.us and his phone is (202) 724-8045.

Mayor Bowser’s email is eom@dc.gov and her phone number is (202) 727-2643.

Healthcare is a human right. We the people of the District of Columbia must not allow profits over quality care for all. For additional information, you can email me at esmith@dcna.org. I’m Ed Smith and this has been a WPFW editorial.


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