Hospital tax leads to lay-offs, officials say

An unusual D.C. tax has led to Washington Hospital Center to lay off 200 employees, hospital officials said.

Officials blame the lay-offs, in a large part, to what they call an excessive bed tax the District government slapped on them and other hospitals in the city earlier this year. Hospitals in the city are required to pay $500 in taxes for every licensed bed they have.

Washington Hospital Center, one the largest hospitals in the District, has more than 900 beds.

Patients like Carol Metheny, who travels to D.C. from Winchester, Va., knows how important places like the hospital are. She’s waiting for a heart transplant for her husband.

“I don't feel taxing the beds in this hospital my gracious that's exempt now a days,” she said.

But Mayor Vincent Gray said the budget is to blame.

“They were for budgetary reasons,” said Gray. “I don't know the reasons. We have to look into it.”