By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]

When Providence Hospital announced its closing in July 2018, residents and Council members alike begged the question of where Ward 5 residents would go for reliable access to healthcare and treatment after its doors shut in December. Due to the high demand, the facility has decided to keep emergency services available through the current flu season.

Supported by services necessary for emergency care, such as lab, diagnostic imaging, respiratory care and discharge planning, the Emergency Care Center at Providence will remain open until April 30, 2019, even though the rest of the hospital’s functions will end on Dec. 14.

Providence Hospital will keep the Emergency Care Center open until the end of April, although doors close for other services on Dec. 14.

“This decision reflects our ongoing commitment to serving the needs of the community and was reached following conversations with our internal team, elected officials, the Department of Health, the D.C. Hospital Association and members of the community,” said Dr. Patricia A. Maryland, executive vice president, Ascension, and president and CEO, Ascension Healthcare, the care delivery division of Ascension. Ascension is the Catholic health care organization in which Providence currently falls under.

When the announcement to close Providence was first made, Council member Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5) expressed his concern for residents, who counted on the closing hospital.

“I am deeply alarmed by Providence Hospital’s recent announcement to cease all of its acute care services by the end of this year.  Many Ward 5 residents rely on Providence Hospital for medical services,” McDuffie said according to a statement.

“This impending closure further underscores how important it is for our city to understand and provide for the health needs of its residents.”

However Ascension Healthcare CEO said prolonging emergency service shows the commitment to District residents.

“Providence and Ascension remain committed to the District and are pleased to be able to respond to the community need for this extended period,” Maryland said.

Having worked with local lawmakers and change-makers, the decision to extend emergency services through flu season, is a temporary solution to the larger problem plaguing the area of where residents will go for specialized healthcare now and emergency services once doors officially close in April.

“We continue to build a new vision for the future and look forward to partnering with key local leaders in collaboratively building those plans,” Maryland said.