Hospitals 2005: Washington Hospital Center
WHC is DC’s biggest hospital—it has more than 900 beds—and the area’s dominant cardiovascular institution.
It also enjoys national recognition for its cardiovascular program. U.S. News this year ranked WHC 17th for heart and heart surgery, and Solucient, one of the more statistically rigorous of the hospital raters, named it one of 2004's top 100 cardiovascular hospitals. Solucient named WHC one of its 100 top "performance improvement leaders" in the country.
Besides cardiovascular medicine, WHC is considered strong in pulmonary medicine, dermatology, endocrinology, and urology, and it has the strongest trauma and burn centers in the region. It also has a major deep-brain-stimulation program for the treatment of Parkinson's and other movement disorders and is collaborating with NIH on stroke research and the use of MRI technologies. It is the only area hospital to have purchased the very-high-resolution 3Tesla MRI. WHC's residency programs have expanded over the years in numbers and breadth. At any one time, WHC has more than 250 residents from Georgetown, GW, the University of Virginia, Howard, Hopkins, the University of Maryland, and other academic institutions who take part in 31 training programs.
One attribute WHC has never had is location. It is situated on a large campus with the National Rehabilitation Hospital, a short distance from Children's Hospital. It's a fair distance from DC's downtown business area, putting it, in the words of one doctor who has privileges there, "a little bit out of the loop."
This has not prevented it from becoming the most financially sound of the District hospitals or emerging as one of the region's leading hospitals. WHC is now planning an overhaul and expansion that could cost as much as $1 billion and may include a new emergency room, cancer institute, and heart center.