Last night a bit of Mid-Shore healthcare history was made. At a joint session of the councils of Easton and Talbot County, Shore Regional Health CEO Ken Kozel outlined the first major step in the creation of a flagship regional hospital for the five counties of the Mid-Shore of Maryland.
The first step is called a “Letter of Intent,” which will be sent to the State of Maryland’s Healthcare Commission next month. In short, this document demonstrates that the University of Maryland Medical System is serious about building a major state of the art health facility near the Easton airport in Talbot County.
But the second step is perhaps the more important of the two. In this case, UMMS will move forward with the documentation and filing of a “Certificate of Need.” Not only does UMMS need to document the need to build an expensive 350,000 square foot hospital, but that the community input of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot County citizens also needs to be documented.
“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 Shore Regional Health. “Our growing communities expect and deserve access to a state-of-the-art center with advanced clinical care.”
Since Shore Health System’s affiliation with UMMS in 2006 and subsequent merger with Chester River Health System to form UM 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. Investments in the region have included modern inpatient and outpatient health care services to the residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
UM SRH has spent the last several years laying the groundwork for the advancement of the new Regional Medical Center by making investments in other key supporting projects identified in the System’s integrated facility and clinical service delivery plan. The completion of the freestanding medical facility in Cambridge, several medical pavilions and stand-alone emergency rooms in the region, urgent care centers in Denton, Easton and Kent Island, and numerous major equipment upgrades have totaled over $150M in capital investments. Plans are also moving forward in Chestertown with the construction of an Aging & Wellness Center of Excellence on its current campus.
Submission of the CON marks the first of several regulatory actions over the next year required to move forward with relocating the current hospital on Washington Street in Easton, parts of which dates back to the early 1900s.
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 location is approximately 3.5 miles from the current hospital, and will provide greater visibility, easier and safer access for ambulance and helicopter transport as well as ample parking for patients, staff and visitors.
The Spy caught up with Ken and Dr. Mohan Suntha, the University of Maryland’s Health System leader Dr. Mohan Suntha by Zoom yesterday in what the Spy hopes will be the first of a series on the new hospital project over the next few years.
This video is approximately 7 minutes in length. For more information about Shore Regional Health please go here.