Shore Healths unveils medical campus concept
CAMBRIDGE — University of Maryland Shore Regional Health met with Dorchester County residents Wednesday, May 31, and outlined a plan to move the health care provider from Dorchester General Hospital to a new medical campus along U.S. Route 50.
The plan is in the early stages, and nothing has been finalized, but Shore Regional Health CEO Ken Kozel believes the move would bring more valuable and enhanced medical care to Dorchester County.
The proposed medical campus would include
a 20,000- to 30,000-square-foot emergency center, designated as a Freestanding Medical Facility, and a two-story, 50,000-square-foot medical pavilion. The medical campus would be at Cambridge Marketplace, the site of the former Kmart, a location holding a groundbreaking next week for revitalization and new businesses.
Currently, the emergency room at Dorchester General Hospital ser ves about 20,000 patients annually with an average of about 20 inpatients a day. The new emergency department would continue providing 24-hour-a-day care, but would have 18 bigger patient rooms, doors for privacy and better technology.
Kozel said the new emergency department would provide better comfort for patients with a new designation.
“The state has designated a new category of health care, the Freestanding Medical Facility,” he said. “Our emergency department would earn that designation. Difference is patients would be able to stay in observation beds right on the campus for up to 48 hours.
“That benefits the patient,” he said. “That benefits the hospital by not using a bed unnecessarily. It lets the patient stay local until a decision is made whether they can be discharged or have to receive additional medical care.”
The second building, the medical office pavilion, would be home to outpatient services and specialists, including imaging, x-ray, laboratory, rehabilitation, diagnostic and an ambulatory surgery center.
The new medical pavilion building also would include the balance center, cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation center, orthopedics, diabetes, gynecology and more.
“Today’s health care and the future is not about volume but about the value of medical care,” Kozel said. “This new facility would allow us to provide better, high-quality care.”
Kozel said the big feature would be telemedicine, which would allow doctors and patients to have examinations with doctors and specialists in Baltimore from Cambridge.
“At 3 a.m., your baby is sick and comes to the emergency department,” he said. “If the child needs additional examination, we can connect with doctors and specialists in Baltimore for advice and insight. That could save the child a trip to Baltimore or save from being admitted to the hospital. It keeps the family local.”
Kozel said replacing the aging Dorchester General structure would help save Shore Health money. He said a recent study determined maintenance costs for the Dorchester General would be $37 million over the next five years.
Also, he said moving to Cambridge Marketplace would accomplish three other goals.
“The first goal it accomplishes is it helps revitalize a vacated shopping center,” he said. “The second, it provides us with a location that is highly visible on U.S. Route 50 and it is very accessible to public and private transportation, which was a key goal to us. The third, it allows for the development for the waterfront property for Cambridge and Dorchester County.
“In this example, by freeing up the waterfront property, that allows for redevelopment for the city and county,” he said. “That allows for new businesses, expansion and jobs, which always help the community and the health providers.
“It is all about partnerships,” he said. “What is critical these days is that hospitals and communities and all of the providers within the community form strong partnerships to ultimately provide care for the area we serve. We are really grateful for the city and county elected officials for their support, and our great physicians who have been with Shore Health and support this concept to the state.”
Kozel said Dorchester County Health Officer Roger Harrell, Sen. Addie Eckardt, R-37-MidShore, and the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce have been strong advocates for the proposed plan.
Shore Health has two more public sessions scheduled on the re-location plan. The next will be in Vienna from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at the E.A. Murphy Community Building, 104 Race Street. The last meeting will be in Madison from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15, at the Madison Volunteer Fire Department, 1154 Taylor’s Island Road.
“We have these public sessions to get feedback from the community,” Kozel said. “Then, we would officially present the design and concept to the state process.
“Goal would be to get state approval within two years,” he said. “Construction would be around 2020, and it would take between 18 months and two years to build.”
This artist rendition shows a Shore Regional Health proposed medical pavilion at the future Cambridge Marketplace along U.S. Route 50 in Cambridge.