Official: Regional medical center in Prince George’s could break ground in 2014
Site may be selected by late fall
May 2, 2012
by Virginia Terhune, Staff Writer
This story was corrected 10:53 a.m., Wednesday, May 2. An explanation of the correction is at the bottom of the story.
Prince George’s County could break ground by early 2014 on a new regional medical center that it plans to build with the state and the University of Maryland Medical System, if things go according to plan.
“The partnership is still there,” said Thomas Himler, the county’s deputy chief administrative officer for budget, finance and administration, about the joint effort with the state and UMMS based in Baltimore.
“It’s all moving in the right direction,” Himler said at a town hall meeting Monday hosted by County Councilman Derrick L. Davis (D-Dist. 6) of Mitchellville.
The county’s current medical system — which includes Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Laurel Regional Hospital and the Bowie Health Center, all managed by Dimensions Healthcare System — has been losing money for years because of the large number of uninsured patients in the county.
The county has partnered with the state and UMMS to build a $600 million regional medical center in central Prince George’s County that would serve the county and also southern Maryland.
Himler said the state, county, Dimensions and UMMS are working together to produce a draft report in June that assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the existing Dimensions system in Prince George’s County and how it can complement a new regional center.
Part of the report will include the results of a survey of 1,000 residents by the University of Maryland School of Public Health in College Park about what residents would like to see in a county health system.
“They’re assessing the needs ... looking for the gaps and strengths,” Himler said.
UMMS, meanwhile, is working on refining its market projections to determine the size and scope of the new center, he said.
The next phase will be to narrow down a list of possible locations in central Prince George’s County, which presently includes a mix of public land near Metro stations as well as private land, he said.
Wherever the hospital is eventually built is expected to become a significant employment center, Himler said.
“Where there are major medical facilities, offices grow up around them adding to the jobs,” said Himler, who said retail shops and restaurants also typically locate nearby.
Himler said once a site is chosen, possibly by late fall, the county can apply, probably in the spring of 2013, to the Maryland Health Care Commission in Baltimore for a certificate of need, an eight- to nine-month review process.
Once approved, the project could start construction by the first quarter of 2014, he said.
Himler also said Dimensions will again receive $15 million from the county and $15 million from the state for fiscal 2013, as it did for fiscal 2012, to boost its operating budget.
The state is also providing $10 million in fiscal 2013 for capital improvements at Laurel Regional Hospital and the Bowie Health Center, Himler said.
Dimensions CEO Neil J. Moore did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday about how the money would be spent at the two facilities.
This story initially misidentified Dimensions CEO.
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