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.