Many people celebrated the news that Prince George's County was getting a new hospital, but after reading the fine print, County Council members are raising concerns.
The deal included the county giving away land worth tens of millions of dollars.
When the University of Maryland Medical System opens a new regional medical center in Largo, it will also take control of Laurel Regional Hospital and Bowie Hospital, but several Prince George’s County Council members say there were never told how far that control would go.
“When this building is conveyed to the University of Maryland Medical System, the 40 or so acres of land will go with it,” Council member Mary Lehman said. “It will be, basically, I call it gifted or given away.”
Combined, the hospitals sit on almost 100 acres of valuable land.
The county executive’s office said that land is part of what’s paying for the new medical center, which was approved for construction last month.
“My assumption was always the bricks and mortar and whatever equipment was inside, when in fact, apparently, it meant the land as well,” Lehman said.
Lehman is one four council members supporting a bill restricting what UMMS can and can’t do with the land, including what they are allowed to build on it.
The county executive’s office is concerned the bill could affect the hospital deal.
“We are not supportive of the legislation as it relates specifically to Bowie and Laurel facilities of Dimensions,” a statement from Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Thomas Himler said. “However, the administration is working on a resolution of the Council’s concerns regarding the transfer of these facilities to UMMS.”
Part of the restrictions in the bill includes that medical facilities remain on the properties and that if UMMS decides to do something else with the properties, they use union and minority contractors to do it.
The Prince George’s County Council votes on the bill Tuesday.