News4 is uncovering more on what it could take to get a new hospital in Prince George's County. On Tuesday, the Prince George's County Council voted to pay millions of dollars in debt for Dimensions Health Care System. It's money that was not originally expected. County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reports on why council members believe the cost is necessary.
Prince George's County Council Tuesday approved paying millions of dollars in debt for the county's hospitals operator Dimensions Healthcare Systems.
Council members voted to approve an additional $46 million to secure the region's new hospital center by covering Dimensions' bond debts. The debt was not originally mentioned in the $200 million the county was expected to contribute to the new hospital.
The county's health system acquired the bonds in 1994 and Dimensions still has a large balance -- one officials think could negatively impact the state's approval of the new hospital center.
"We think it's a good investment on our part and a good way to protect our investment," Tom Himler with Prince George's County told News4. “We’re going to refinance their debt for them so when they submit their [Certificate of Need] application, they will be able to disclose that they have no bonds outstanding.”
The University of Maryland Medical System is predicting the $645 million regional health care center will turn a profit within two years of opening its doors, but the additional $46 million could delay the profit.
The county has been supplementing Dimensions Healthcare since 2011 with $15 million payments each year -- $10 million for operations and $5 million to pay off debt -- scheduled through 2015.
The hospital will be situated at Largo Town Center, just east of the Beltway. The $645 million facility will house 259 beds, a full-service medical campus and a private practice. The 700,000-plus-square-foot hospital is expected to open in 2017.
Prince George's County Council will hold a public hearing on the payments Oct. 1. Three days later, Dimensions Healthcare Systems is scheduled to present its Certificate of Need to the state.