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Greater Southeast Hospital gets $8.5 M lifeline from city

(Published May 31, 1999)

Greater Southeast Hospital has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors as part of an $8.5 million plan to keep the financially troubled institution alive for at least another 90 days while it creates a reorganization plan.

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced May 27 that the city will extend the hospital a loan, loan guarantee or advance not to exceed $8.5 million while hospital administrators and advisers create a recovery plan. The mayor said he is not yet sure where the city money will come from.

"This is a good hospital, it has served its community well, it deserves room to breathe," Williams said.

Employees, who packed the hospital auditorium for the announcement, leapt to their feet applauding the plan.

"Yes, there is a balm in Gilead," said control board member Eugene Kinlow, who helped craft the plan. "There is enough empathy in Washington" to help the hospital survive, he said.

He called Greater Southeast "the best health care bargain in the city."

The hospital is the only major health care institution east of the Anacostia River and with 1,300 workers is the largest single employer in Ward 8.

Williams said he could not guarantee that the hospital would stay open "forever," but wanted to make sure administrators had time to put the hospital on "an equal footing" so it could compete with other city hospitals.

"The health care marketplace all across the nation it very competitive," he noted. "Itís grueling."

Hospital CEO George Gilbert thanked the mayor and noted that the hospital already had cut about $15 million in expenses and laid off about 300 employees in recent months.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator