Prince George's County officials got an early look at how medical care could be delivered in the county in the future when they toured University of Maryland Medical System and School of Medicine in Baltimore Tuesday.
The county wants to build a $600 million medical center in Prince George's so that residents don't have to leave the county to seek medical care.
As it stands, more Prince George’s patients seek healthcare outside of where they live than anywhere else in the region, with 25,000 residents going to Montgomery County and D.C. for medical care every year.
Tuesday, County Council members, Maryland state delegates and senators who represent the county were all on the tour of UMMS, the preferred partner for the proposed Prince George’s County Regional Medical Center.
Said UMMS President and CEO, Bob Chrencik, “We view the Prince George’s area as a great opportunity for us to continue to grow.”
The development and design for a new regional medical center in Prince George’s is still in its infant stages, but earlier this year a memorandum of understanding was completed with UMMS. The next step will be completing and submitting a certificate of need for the medical center.
That’s expected to happen in the fall of next year.
UMMS is proposing that the County build a 278-bed facility with a medical school affiliation. It also suggested the facility focus on the illnesses disproportionately plaguing Prince Georgians, including heart disease, cancer, hypertension and diabetes.
The new Prince George’s medical center will cost around $600 million to build and $30 million in County and State funds a year to maintain. Construction is expected to be complete by 2017, a site has not been chosen for the facility.
The Maryland legislature and the county council are expected to move forward with legislation that will help fund a new County regional medical center in the next legislative session.
While work to create the medical center continues, UMMS is urging Prince George’s County leaders to prepare by building up there primary care facilities now.
Dimensions Healthcare Systems operates the Prince George’s County Hospital system and is charged with leading healthcare improvements. UMMS has started overseeing County emergency rooms to help with that effort.
UMMS suggested the County begin recruiting more doctors, specifically primary care physicians. They said in order to properly meet the County’s healthcare needs, 61 new doctors need to be recruited into the County with 47 of those physicians located inside of the Beltway where the need is greatest.