UPPER MARLBORO, MD– Today, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III and Prince George’s County Council Chair Ingrid M. Turner welcomed Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown along with University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University System of Maryland (USM) and Dimensions Healthcare System officials to announce a partnership agreement between Dimensions and the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and the University System of Maryland (USM) for developing a comprehensive plan for strengthening health care in Prince George’s County. Eight of nine Prince George’s County Council members along with members of the Prince George’s County Senate and House delegations were in attendance at today’s historic announcement. (Council Member Will Campos was away on County business)
The multi-party agreement marks a major step forward in the long-standing efforts to stabilize the health care system in Prince George’s County. Over the coming months, UMMS and USM will work with Dimensions as well as State and County health officials to establish plans for improving existing health services, increasing access to primary care, enhancing the County’s overall health infrastructure, and ensuring a stable and reliable health care system for Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland.
“Today is a great day for the health of Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland residents,” said Governor O’Malley. “In Maryland, we are committed to ensuring that those in need have access to the highest quality care they deserve. I commend all of our partners for their leadership and willingness to come together to improve the health of Prince Georgians and all Marylanders.”
“Access to quality health care is one of the most valuable services government can provide to its citizens,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “Today’s announcement is a pivotal moment to improve not just the quality of health care for County residents, but their quality of life. I want to thank Governor O’Malley, Lt. Governor Brown, Chair Turner, the Prince George’s County Council, Dimensions, and, most importantly, the University of Maryland Medical System for their collaboration and advocacy on behalf of the welfare of the citizens of Prince George’s County.”
The agreement sets forth a three-step process during which all parties will have opportunities for input before deciding whether to proceed to the next stage. The parties will also consult with other stakeholders, including the General Assembly and the County Council, as the plan progresses.
Step One – Development of Strategic Plan: The first 4-6 months will be used to determine the right scale for the new regional medical center, to assess the feasibility of a University of Maryland Baltimore health sciences campus, and to develop the strategy for establishing an adequate primary care network.
Step Two – Cost Projections and Agreement on Cost-Sharing: The following 3-4 months will be used to refine current projected costs for the project and to determine the appropriate allocation of responsibility for the costs among the parties.
Step Three – Execution of Strategic Plan: The last 4-6 months will be used for site selection, architectural design and the submission of the Certificate of Need.
Among the items that the partnership will address is an analysis of the County’s health facility needs to determine the scale, cost and feasibility of constructing a new regional medical center and health sciences campus. Prince George’s Hospital Center (PGHC) in Cheverly is currently the only trauma center serving Southern Maryland, including Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties. UMMS has completed an initial study of the System and the health care needs of the County and estimates the overall costs necessary to implement this vision and strategy to be in the range of $600 million.
“As a Prince George’s County resident, I understand that establishing a world-class health care system, including a new regional medical center, is critical to the future success of our County and all of Southern Maryland,” said Lt. Governor Brown, who leads the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s efforts to improve health care throughout Maryland. “While health care reform will help provide insurance coverage to thousands of Prince Georgians, their health will not improve without access to high quality care. After years of struggles and false starts, today’s agreement represents a significant step forward towards transforming health care in Prince George’s County.”
A 2009 Rand report on health care in Prince George’s County found that county residents are more likely to be uninsured and have higher mortality rates than neighboring Maryland jurisdictions. The study also concluded that Prince George’s County lacks sufficient numbers of primary care physicians and safety net providers.
“Securing and improving access to quality healthcare for the residents of Prince George’s County has been a top priority of this County Council, said Prince George’s Council Chair Ingrid M. Turner. “The agreement announced today and unanimously approved by the University of Maryland Medical System Board, marks the culmination of a lot of hard work by all of the stakeholders, in the interests of our citizens. We deeply appreciate the opportunity to work collaboratively with Governor O’Malley, Lt. Governor Brown, County Executive Baker, Dimensions Healthcare, and especially the University of Maryland Medical System Board, to create a key strategy that addresses the critical health care needs in our County and throughout this region. Today’s announcement helps to provide the long-term solution to the longstanding challenge of our hospital system that we have all been seeking. Foremost, this agreement means our residents will have better and more affordable access to healthcare.”
As one of Maryland’s primary providers of high quality health care, UMMS represents an ideal partner in the efforts to improve health care in Prince George’s County. UMMS is a private, non-profit network of 12 academic, community and specialty hospitals located throughout Maryland. UMMS hospitals employ over 15,000 people and generate $2.5 billion in annual revenue. These 12 hospitals admit more people than any other hospital system in Maryland.
“The University of Maryland Medical System is pleased to be able to take this next step in developing a partnership to build a new Regional Medical Center for Prince George’s County,” said UMMS CEO Robert Chrencik. “All parties understand that considerable state and local funding will have to be committed to make such a plan a reality, but we are committed to leading a robust process over the next 12 to 18 months to refine the plan.”
Dimensions Health Care, the largest provider of health care services in Prince George’s County, currently operates the county’s three primary medical facilities: Laurel Regional Hospital, the Bowie Health Center, and Prince George’s Hospital Center (PGHC) in Cheverly.
“We are extremely excited about the vision and commitment of our state and county government leadership to superior health care in Prince George’s County,” said Kenneth E. Glover, President and CEO, Dimensions Healthcare System. “The Board of Directors and our 3,000 employees of Dimensions are thrilled to work with two world class giants such as the University System of Maryland and the University of Maryland Medical System to bring comprehensive and responsive health care to Prince George’s County.”
The development of an overall strategic plan as outlined in the agreement is scheduled to be completed by early 2012, followed by the completion of subsequent studies, facility site selection and cost projections by 2013.