University of Maryland officials soon will begin working on their efforts to help Prince George's County overhaul its health care system.
The university will conduct a survey of county residents in late January and will question residents on their state of health, access to primary care, and general attitude toward the quality of health care facilities in Prince George's County.
Feedback from residents will help the county and university officials as they make plans to build a new $600 million regional medical center in the county, according to Betty Hager Francis, deputy chief administrative officer for health, human services and education.
"Part of what the School of Public Health is going to do is answer several questions we have about our primary care system, our ambulatory care system, and the basic health of our community," Francis said.
That information can be used to attract residents back to the county's own hospitals, she said.
More than 60 percent of the county's residents go outside Prince George's for their health care needs, according to County Executive Rushern Baker. The survey will ask what residents want out of a new hospital, information that also will be considered when planning the regional medical center.
A sample of 1,000 residents will be taken on phone by Social Science Research Solutions, a medical research company.
"It is critically important that we get responses from as many people as possible so that the residents of this county receive the type of health care service they want and deserve," Baker said.
The University of Maryland Medical System entered into an agreement with the county, state and Dimensions Healthcare System last year to build the new regional medical center.
The university also will begin to take control of aspects of the Dimensions Healthcare System, which operates Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, as well as other medical facilities in Bowie and Laurel, as the county seeks improvements in the quality of care it provides.
"This survey will make a significant contribution to a new primary health care delivery system for Prince George's County," said University of Maryland President Wallace Loh. "It is another demonstration of our university's land grant mission as our School of Public Health seeks to improve the health of the people of our state, especially the residents of our home community."