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Mayor Bowser Releases Commission Report on Recommendations to Achieve Equity in DC’s Health Care Systems

Thursday, December 19, 2019

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Commission on Healthcare Systems Transformation released its Commission Report of Recommendations for consideration by the Mayor. This report is a result of dedicated individuals within the health care community that were brought together to think through strategies and investments necessary to transform health care delivery in the District.

“In the District, we are proud to have world-class health care resources and to have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation, but inequalities still persist and we know we can do better,” said Mayor Bowser. “I formed this commission over the summer to seek out and build solutions tailored to the needs of our community. Just as we are focused on closing gaps in our housing and education systems, we must act with similar urgency to transform our health care system and ensure that all Washingtonians are getting the care they need and deserve.”

The Commission’s work focused on developing recommendations that address the current stresses in the District’s health care system, while specifically targeting the following issues:

  • Improving access to primary, acute, and specialty care services, including behavioral health care;
  • Addressing health system capacity issues for inpatient, outpatient, pre-hospital and emergency room services; and
  • Promoting an equitable geographic distribution of acute care and specialty services in communities East of the Anacostia River.

In June, Mayor Bowser established the Commission on Healthcare Systems Transformation, which is comprised of 30 members and is co-chaired by former At-Large Councilmember David Catania and Sister Carol Keehan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

“We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with health care stakeholders across the District to find common solutions to the address the challenges of our health care systems,” said Co-Chair Catania.

“This Commission is evidence of Mayor Bowser’s continued commitment to the health and wellbeing of District residents,” said Co-Chair Keehan. “We applaud her for getting all of these professionals in the same room and hope that the recommendations can make an impact that is felt.”

The commission developed a robust set of 42 recommendations, with a number of sub-recommendations. The Commission divided itself into six Committees to examine and provide recommendations regarding:

  • Equitable geographic distribution of acute, urgent, and specialty care;
  • Overcrowding in emergency rooms and the general reliance on inpatient hospital care;
  • Discharge planning and transitions of care;
  • Access to critical and urgent care services, specifically maternal, behavioral, and emergency services;
  • Allied health care professionals and workforce development; and
  • Value-based purchasing of health care services.

Below is a list of the Commission’s members:

Voting Members

David Catania
Sister Carol Keehan

Acute Care Hospitals
Kimberly Russo, George Washington Hospital
Kevin Sowers, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Sibley Memorial Hospital
Oliver Johnson, MedStar Health
Dr. Malika Fair, United Medical Center
Dean Hugh Mighty, Howard University Hospital
Specialty Hospitals
Corey Odol, Psychiatric Institute of Washington
Denise Cora-Bramble, M.D., Children’s Hospital
Marc Ferrell, Bridgepoint Healthcare

Community Representatives
Don Blanchon, Whitman-Walker Health
Kim Horn, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
Maria Tilden, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
Maria Gomez, Mary’s Center
David Stewart, University of Maryland, Chair of Family Medicine
Kelly McShane, Community of Hope

Ex Officio Members

Councilmember Vincent Gray, Chair of Committee on Health for the DC Council
Rashad Young, City Administrator
Wayne Turnage, Deputy Mayor, Health and Human Services
Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director, D.C. Health
Dr. Barbara Bazron, Director, Department of Behavioral Health
Melisa Byrd, Director, Department of Health Care Finance
Dr. Faith Gibson Hubbard, Executive Director, Thrive by Five
Chief Gregory Dean, Chief, Fire and Emergency Medical Services
Tamara Smith, President, D.C. Primary Care Association
Oliver Johnson, Executive Vice President/General Counsel, MedStar Health
Jacqueline Bowens, Executive Director, D.C. Hospital Association
Dr. Gregory Argyros, President, MedStar Washington Hospital Center
Vincent Keane, President and CEO, Unity Health Care, Inc.
Dr. Raymond Tu, President, Medical Society of the District of Columbia
Karen Dale, Market President, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia

Find more information about the Mayor’s Commission on Healthcare Systems and Transformation.