“With regard to Chestertown, the Shore Health Center of Chestertown will continue to be a viable organization for the foreseeable future. We have an obligation to the community to provide excellent health care,” Ken Kozel, President and CEO of UM Shore Regional Health, said at Monday’s town council meeting.
While no hospital closure is in sight, other changes will take place with the kind of medical services to be provided at Chestertown’s hospital.
“No decisions have been made with this process. We are evaluating what our future needs will look like in the realm of national change,” noted Kozel.
Kozel was invited by Mayor Chris Cerino to address rumors circulating about the future of the Chestertown Hospital. Rumors have run the gamut of a full hospital closure to a stand-alone Emergency Department only without inpatient care.
He said that UM Shore Regional Health is currently evaluating how Mid-Shore communities would best be served by the health organization and placed the evaluation process in the context of nationwide changes in how health services are provided.
Kozel also described the unique position Maryland holds in the national healthcare landscape—the Medicare waiver, which allows Maryland to continue setting hospital reimbursement rates. In turn, that changes how hospitals do business. Medicare reimbursement is no longer directly related to hospital admissions—erasing the incentive of admitting more patients for inpatient care—to focusing on keeping people healthy before they get sick and focusing more on the outpatient area.
The UM Shore Regional Heath CEO said that a research committee comprised of 22 residents and physicians from Mid-Shore counties will profile specific community needs to determine where specialty services should be located for the benefit of all.
Questioned by the council about projected changes, Kozel said, “Let me clear about one thing, Shore Health can not be all things to all people. The days of us providing every level of service in all locations are far gone.”
He added that UM Shore Regional Health will include community involvement during several steps of the process.
This is a two part video of Mr. Kozel’s update of UM Shore Regional Health’s process to evaluate how medical services would be delivered throughout the mid-shore counties.