A bold decision in 1984 produced a thriving health network for Maryland
The University of Maryland Medical System is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its transformation from an aging, state-run hospital in 1984 to a successful private, non-profit network of 11 academic, community and specialty hospitals throughout Maryland with more than 15,000 employees and almost $2.5 billion in annual revenue.
The celebration will include a dinner gala and concert, featuring Sheena Easton and Baltimore singer Chip Weinman, at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center (Hippodrome) on November 14, 2009. The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets to the concert, which is open to the public, are being sold through Ticketmaster and the Hippodrome’s ticket office.
“The transformation and growth of our medical system is an amazing success story,” says Robert A. Chrencik, President and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System. “The privatization gave us the flexibility to be innovative, the ability to reinvest cash flow from hospital operations into clinical programs, and access toadditional sources of funding, such as the bond market, so that we could revitalize our facilities and technology. We have consistently achieved an “A” rating from bond rating agencies.”
Chrencik, who has been with the medical system during its entire 25-year history, adds, “Today, we have some of the most sophisticated hospital facilities and advanced technology in the region and we have been able to build a world-class workforce, including some of the finest physicians anywhere, due to our strong partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which is ably led by Dean E. Albert Reece.”
The transformation took place when the Maryland General Assembly and then-Governor Harry Hughes enacted a law in 1984 enabling the University of Maryland Hospital, located in downtown Baltimore, to change its governance from the state to a private , non-profit corporation led by a board of directors comprised of top area business, legislative and community leaders.
At that time, the hospital, one of America’s oldest teaching hospitals, faced constant financial challenges, had outdated facilities and struggled to keep up with innovations in patient care and technology. Still, this was a bold idea since only one other teaching hospital, Shands Hospital in Florida, had ever made the switch from state governance to a privately run entity.
Today, the former University Hospital is the University of Maryland Medical Center— the academic centerpiece of the Medical System. It is a state-of-the-art, 731-bed hospital with almost 37,000 annual admissions and more than 6,000 employees. It is known for innovation and excellence in many specialties, including trauma and critical care, cancer care, cardiac care and women’s and children’s services. Since 1984, ten more hospitals have joined the system to create a coordinated network of facilities, each withspecific niches and strengths, devoted to providing the highest quality of care to Maryland residents and people throughout the region.
“I am very grateful for what we were able to accomplish with our dedicated team, superior clinical programs, and strong partnerships with government, corporate and community leaders,” says Morton I. Rapoport, M.D., the University of Maryland Medical System’s first president who led the organization until 2003.
Dr. Rapoport says, “The fundamental challenge in the early days was to change the culture of the hospital into an enterprising, competitive and innovative institution and to have enthusiastic physicians, nurses and staff who would support and become committed to that vision. I believe that vision was achieved and I am thankful to have been able to witness the tremendous growth and success of the Medical System over its 25-year history.”
“We touch the lives of Marylanders everyday--in the Baltimore metropolitan area, on the Eastern Shore, in Anne Arundel County, in Harford County, and across the state. We have tremendous statewide reach, and we believe providing the residents of Maryland with the best possible medical care is truly our responsibility, and it will continue to be our main focus going forward,” says Chrencik.
“The University of Maryland Medical System is a treasured resource for the state, providing excellent health care and generating $3.5 billion in economic activity. We are very proud of the organization’s accomplishments and dedication to the health of our citizens,” says Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. He adds, “I congratulate the Medical System on its 25 years of growth and success. Here’s to another great 25 years ahead.”
Chrencik says he expects the Medical System to continue to grow statewide beyond its current 11-hospital system, to continue to enhance its capabilities and ultimately to be recognized as one of the top academically centered hospital systems in the United States. “I want to thank all the people who have really made a difference in getting us to where we are today—our board, our employees, our patients, the community and the physicians who provide the outstanding care at all of our hospitals, including those on the School of Medicine faculty. They are the people who deserve credit for our success and will be central to our continued success moving forward.”
The University of Maryland Medical System includes:
To find out more about the University of Maryland Medical System, go to www.umms.org.