Plans For New Regional Medical Center In Easton Advance With Governor’s Funding Announcement
During his Fiscal Year 2024 budget recommendation announcement today, Governor Larry Hogan today included $100 million in proposed funding for University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s new Regional Medical Center at Easton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
"Building a new Regional Medical Center in Easton marks the most significant milestone in fulfilling our decades-long integrated facility and clinical service delivery plan," said Ken Kozel, President and CEO of UM SRH. "Our growing communities expect and deserve access to a state-of-the-art center with advanced clinical care."
UM SRH officials will submit the Certificate of Need (CON) for the new medical center, which will replace the current hospital on Washington Street in downtown Easton, to the Maryland Health Care Commission in January 2023. The CON submission is the first of several regulatory actions that will occur in the next year required to replace the existing hospital, UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, parts of which date back to the early 1900s.
"When I first ran for Governor, we promised that the Eastern Shore would not be left behind in our administration, and for the past eight years we have consistently invested in agriculture, broadband, energy, transportation and education to bring jobs and more opportunity to the Shore," said Gov. Hogan. "With the support of local leaders like Senator Hershey and Senator-Elect Mautz, we are incredibly proud to move forward on a path that will help address and transform rural healthcare in the Mid-Shore region and beyond."
In the past several years, UM SRH has established the foundation for the development of the new Regional Medical Center through investments in other key projects identified in the System's integrated facility and clinical service delivery plan. These projects include the construction of a new Emergency Department at the Chestertown hospital; new medical pavilions in Queenstown, Denton and Cambridge; the state's first stand-alone emergency center in Queen Anne's County; urgent care centers in Denton, Easton and Kent Island; and most recently, a freestanding medical facility in Cambridge. Upgrades to medical equipment and technology have totaled over $150 million in capital investments which include the creation of an Aging & Wellness Center, which is in progress on the campus of UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown.
"We are building upon our long tradition of excellence in patient care and innovation to be a leader in the transformation of healthcare statewide. As an academic health system, we are working throughout Maryland in diverse rural, urban and suburban settings to solve unique healthcare challenges," said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President & CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). "Over the last decade, we have invested in a comprehensive and integrated care delivery system with a presence in every county in the Mid-Shore and this new Regional Medical Center in Talbot County will allow our team members to maximize our capacity to deliver better outcomes for patients from Hoopers Island to Rock Hall and everywhere in between."
At today's press conference, Gov. Hogan noted the proposed funding is part of $220 million "in comprehensive and transformative health care investments to further improve access to quality care in vulnerable and rural communities." Speaking of the Easton hospital project, the governor said, "This is an idea that the community has been pleading for years if not decades. It's desperately needed and we are finally in a financial position to make this critical investment."
Since the former Shore Health System's affiliation with UMMS in 2006 and subsequent merger with Chester River Health System to form University of Maryland Shore Regional Health in 2013, UM SRH and UMMS leaders have worked steadily with community partners throughout the five-county region to reimagine and improve health care delivery across roughly 2,000 square miles of rural communities. UM SRH investments in the region to-date have provided innovative solutions to address county-based health care needs while creating a connected care delivery system for residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's and Talbot counties. Complementing these investments with plans to construct a regional medical center for the Mid-Shore ensures UM SRH will provide best-in-class health care services for all aspects of inpatient and outpatient care.
The new Regional Medical Center campus is slated to occupy over 230 acres off Longwoods Road near the intersection of U.S. Route 50, adjacent to the Talbot County Community Center. This more centralized location will provide greater visibility, easier and safer access for ambulance and helicopter transport as well as ample parking for patients, staff and visitors living in our mid-shore region.
While final specifications are subject to state regulatory approval and planning commission support, the facility's current design encompasses over 325,000 total square feet with an adjacent medical office and outpatient services building occupying an additional 60,000 square feet. The CON plans will include data-driven assumptions for ample inpatient and observation beds, operating rooms and Emergency Department treatment rooms to meet the needs of our Mid-Shore community.
About University of Maryland Shore Regional Health
As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's and Talbot counties on Maryland's Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health's team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization's mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.
About the University of Maryland Medical System
The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is an academic private health system, focused on delivering compassionate, high quality care and putting discovery and innovation into practice at the bedside. Partnering with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland, Baltimore who educate the state's future health care professionals, UMMS is an integrated network of care, delivering 25 percent of all hospital care in urban, suburban and rural communities across the state of Maryland. UMMS puts academic medicine within reach through primary and specialty care delivered at 11 hospitals, including the flagship University of Maryland Medical Center, the System's anchor institution in downtown Baltimore, as well as through a network of University of Maryland Urgent Care centers and more than 150 other locations in 13 counties. For more information, visit www.umms.org.