Officials Sign Agreement to Develop Path Forward for Transforming County’s Health Care System
UPPER MARLBORO, MD (July 21, 2011)
Today, Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and Dimensions Healthcare System officials announced that the State, County and Dimensions have reached a partnership agreement with 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prince George’s County Health Care System
Summary of Memorandum of Understanding
The Memorandum of Understanding lays out an 18-month, three-step process to develop the strategy, financing, and execution of a plan for UMMS to build a new regional teaching medical center and improve the County’s primary care system, and for the University of Maryland Baltimore to establish a health sciences campus in conjunction with the new hospital. Signatories are Governor Martin O’Malley, County Executive Rushern Baker, County Council Chair Ingrid Turner, UMMS CEO Robert Chrencik, UMMS Chancellor William Kirwan, Dimensions Board Chair Judge Philip Nichols, and Dimensions CEO Kenneth Glover.
The parties recognize that prior efforts to transfer the Prince George’s County health care system have not been successful, and the system continues to face severe challenges which hamper the delivery of high quality health care services to the residents of the County and Southern Maryland. The parties now seek to effectuate a comprehensive solution by establishing a partnership among the State, the County, UMMS, USM, and Dimensions to develop and execute a strategy to transform the system into a new regional medical center supported by a comprehensive ambulatory care network and health sciences campus. While the process will result in a further refinement of projected costs, the current estimate is in the $600 million range.
Article 1: Process Overview
Article I sets forth a 3-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 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 UMB 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 Certificate of Need submission,
Article II: Operation of the System During Transition
During the course of the 18-month process, UMMS and Dimensions will work collaboratively to increase the quality of care and to reduce operating losses. The parties will also develop a plan to transfer the assets and to discharge Dimensions’ current debt and liabilities. The State and County will seek funding as needed to sustain operations during the transition and to assist in the discharge of liabilities.