DC public hospital fires CMO after he criticizes hospital operator

United Medical Center (UMC) won’t renew the contract for chief medical officer Julian Craig, MD, after he accused the contractor operating the facility of mismanagement and overbilling Medicare and Medicaid.

Veritas of Washington has been running UMC, the only public hospital in Washington, D.C., since being awarded an emergency contract in April 2016. When the D.C. Council was set to vote on extending the contract, Craig argued against it, accusing Veritas of “mismanagement and malfeasance that have adversely affected patient safety and the quality of care at UMC.” He also alleged Veritas cut his hours and encouraged physicians to admit patients who didn’t need treatment in order to boost revenue.

The contractor has been said to have close ties with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, which had city councilmembers wondering whether Craig’s dismissal is politically motivated.

“You shouldn’t be fired for being a whistleblower,” council member Elissa Silverman told the Washington Post. “Dr. Craig provided valuable testimony about the operations at UMC.”

UMC has a checkered safety record. It was given an “F” in the latest Leapfrog hospital safety grade report. In September, the family of a stroke patient hadn’t been informed the patient had died a week earlier, only finding out when they came for a visit.

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