Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker along with Maryland Lt. Gov Anthony Brown and others, have announced an historic partnership aimed at saving the county's hospital system. Overall, by establishing a stronger, more stabilized health care system, officials also hope to eventually create a state of the art trauma center.
In the coming months, the agreement with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and the University System of Maryland (USM) will work with Dimensions Health Care as well as state and county health officials on a plan that specifically calls for improving existing health services, increasing access to primary care, and enhancing the county's health infrastructure.
According to Baker's office, a 2009 Rand report on health care in Prince George's County found that residents are more likely to be uninsured and have higher mortality rates than neighboring Maryland jurisdictions. The study also concluded that the 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," Baker said during the July 21 announcement. "Today's announcement is a pivotal moment to improve not just the quality of health care for County residents, but their quality of life."
Brown explained that the agreement comprises three major parts where all parties involved will have opportunities for input before deciding whether to proceed to the next stage.
"Number one is to work together to agree upon identifying the proper scale or size of the regional medical center and the related health service center," said Brown, adding that "every party needs to agree that this is the right fit, this is the right size."
He said that once that agreement is reached, the parties move on to step two which entails delving deeper into detail surroundng costs to bring the vision to fruition. Brown said that while it's been "floated around" that it would take some $600 million, it would still have to be determined who would shoulder responsibility for the money.
The third step, which could occur 12 to 18 months from now, centers around site selection and formally applying for state approval to develop a new hospital, Brown said.