The Regional Medical Center: ‘This Is A Destination Hospital’
By PGS Media
Sure, the governor’s budget plans to hold $22 million in funding for the new regional medical center raised eyebrows and curled lip corners among Prince Georgians. But that didn’t stop a capacity crowd from attending a community meeting on the center Jan. 28 at Prince George’s Community College.
Over 400 residents joined the discussion and unveiling sponsored by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Planning Board. The center is scheduled to open in 2020.
Addresses were planned by County Executive Rushern L Baker, III, Dr. Charlene Dukes, president of Prince George’s Community College, Prince George’s County Council Chair Derrick Leon Davis (D-Dist. 6), Betty Hager Francis, the deputy chief administrative officer of the Prince George’s Department of Health, Human Services & Education and Neil Moore, president and CEO of Dimensions Healthcare System.
“This is a destination hospital,” said Darryl Mealy, vice president of Construction and Facilities Planning at the University of Maryland Medical System. “This hospital is for Prince George’s County. But there is a broader play at hand--this needs to be a destination hospital. Not only will Prince George’s benefit from this but we want the outlying metro DC, southern Maryland and northern Virginia area to benefit from this as well. That’s the goal.”
Craig Moskowitz of Wilmont, Sanz Architecture Planning unveiled an animated video of the planned facility that included its expected growth. The current design accounts for 3,000 annual visits but the planned growth of the center reflects the expected growth in visits in coming years. He walked onlookers through each area of the hospital center’s plan and logistics for its numerous departments and facilities and their influence on surrounding communities.
Dr. Carnell Cooper’s remarks included all that is currently occurring at Dimensions Healthcare Center (chest pain center and stroke center accreditations, for example), but recognized the additional services that the upgrade to the regional medical center will bring.
“We are currently going through the process to [become] an accredited cancer center. That is anticipated happening within the next year,” Dr. Cooper explained.
“Another thing that we don’t have right now but will have is a blood infusion center. It will allow patients to come in on an outpatient basis,” said Dr. Cooper.
The event also served as an opportunity to announce county health status.
Pam Creekmur, Prince George’s County Health Officer shared the good news in county health trends including life expectancy increases in Prince George’s (reported in Prince Georges’ Suite magazine Spring Summer 2016).
But county leaders who attended didn’t shy from calling on residents to challenge Governor Hogan’s FY2018 intended cuts to the center. County Executive Baker brought a fiery tone to the issue, saying that the funds have been mandated by the state and should not be diverted.
County Council Chair Davis encouraged residents to call the governor’s office and even his website and media managers [see video]. “Don’t play funny with Prince George’s’ money,” he quipped. But then his tone changed and became more measured: “Health care is nothing to toy with. We are very serious about this. We have told the governor how we feel about this. Now, he needs to hear it from you.”