Kozel, Willis give Shore Regional Health update
CENTREVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners signed the annual memorandum of understanding with University of Maryland Shore Regional Health during the Tuesday, Aug. 23, meeting after they listened to CEO Ken Kozel and Vice President Patti Willis give an update on the health system.
For the past 18 months, the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health board members, physicians, management, elected officials and community members gave feedback on how to best deliver care to patients in the five county region through community listening sessions and workgroups. Teams of mainly physicians from the five clinical service lines — primary care, medical specialties, surgical specialties, oncology and behavioral health — discussed how to deploy services throughout the region.
Some themes identified in the service delivery plan, which was approved by the board of Shore Regional Health in June, include transportation, physician and provider shortages as well as recruitment and retention, telemedicine and technology, access to specialists, extended observation capabilities and expansion of community outreach education, screenings and support groups, Willis said.
Willis said a pilot program is happening in the Shore Emergency Center at Queenstown to expand telemedicine capabilities for behavioral health.
“That’s an example of how telemedicine can support if you have one psychiatrist in a fivecounty area who serves your regional services,” Willis said. “It’s a scheduling issue to be able to make that psychiatrist available throughout the five counties. Telemedicine is one solution, and a proven one in other areas.”
Willis said specific strategies to address the needs in the service delivery plan are broken out over a five-year window, which the system’s annual operating plan then addresses. One specific, Willis mentioned, was the Certificate of Need application as well as a replacement hospital in Easton.
Kozel said the system’s board in June gave approval to update its application on file with the Maryland Health Care Commission to include a replacement hospital in Easton to seek approval.
Updates to the application regarding a replacement hospital pertain to cost, square footage of the facility, the number of beds as well as the types of services to be provided. Kozel said the only difference to what was on file in its 2012 application was the inclusion of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, which allows the capability to place a stent in a vessel in the case of blockage.
Kozel said having that ability is “critical for our future success as a health care industry.” He said it will be a regional program supported through the Easton facility. Kozel said the replacement hospital, expected to be in service in 2022, will not include the transfer of beds from the Chestertown or Cambridge facilities. Kozel also said that the 2022 projected completion, in line with the six-year extension given to the Chestertown hospital, is no coincidence.
The replacement hospital will only have the inpatient, surgical and emergency department capacity to currently absorb what is in Easton, Kozel said. “It will not have additional beds, ER bays, [operating rooms] to absorb any additional capacity from Chestertown or Cambridge.”
If expansion is needed in the future, he said, the replacement hospital site, located between the Easton Airport and community center, has room to accommodate the growth. In order to do that, though, the system’s board would first have to give approval and then the state would have to approve a Certificate of Need.
University of Maryland Shore Regional Health CEO Ken Kozel, right, and Vice President Patti Willis, left, give the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners an update on the system during the Tuesday, Aug. 23, meeting in Centreville.