A rendering of the proposed Prince George's Medical Center in Largo (Courtesy of Dimensions Healthcare)
A rendering of the proposed Prince George's Medical Center in Largo (Courtesy of Dimensions Healthcare)

Dimensions Healthcare System submitted a modified application to build a regional medical center in Largo, which the state recommended in order to receive approval.

The project would be reduced to from $651 million to $543 million, decrease number of beds from nearly 220 to 205 and operating rooms from nine to eight, according to the new application.

“While Dimensions does not agree with some of the reviewer’s recommendations, this modification largely complies with the recommendations so that the proposed project may be approved and built as soon as possible,” according to the 154-page document from the applicants’ attorneys, Thomas C. Dane and Ella R. Aiken of Baltimore. “The residents of Prince George’s County have waited too long already for a strong, high-quality health care system.”

Another change made in the new application submitted Aug. 31 decreased the square footage of the building from 747,000 to nearly 600,000.

Robert Moffit, a reviewer for the Maryland Health Care Commission, recommended Dimensions make the changes to receive a “certificate of need” and make the project financially viable.

The document also includes a memorandum of understanding between county, Dimensions and University of Maryland Medical System officials signed Aug. 30.

If the project is approved, the medical center would be initially overseen by a seven-person interim board of directors chaired by Bradford Seamon, chief operation officer and co-founder of the Seamon Corp. of Greenbelt. After December 2018, the facility would be owned and operated by UMMS.

The hospital would serve residents in Prince George’s as well as three counties in Southern Maryland — Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s.

A permanent 21-member board will convene in January 2019 to include four members appointed by UMMS, the Prince George’s health officer and residents from Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

The report also mentions four documents on health disparities in Prince George’s.

A 2012 study by the University of Maryland School of Public Health states the county had the lowest ratio of medical, dental and mental health care providers per 100,000 people compared to Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties. The county’s ratio dips well below the state average in all three categories.

The county’s Health Department released a 265-page report this year, which found the main problems are behavioral health, cancer and metabolic syndrome, a term that encompasses higher risks for a person to have heart disease, diabetes or stroke.

The report also states about two-thirds of county residents are either obese or overweight. In 2014, black adults had the highest obesity rate at nearly 39 percent, according to the report.

Although Prince George’s has five hospitals, “the county lacks quality health care providers [and] surrounding jurisdictions are perceived to have better quality providers,” according to the Health Department report.

The plan has been to get rid of the 70-plus-year-old Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, which the new application states would close in 2021.

The proposed 11-story, state-of-the-art hospital with a penthouse would include cancer and trauma centers, behavioral health services and a neonatal intensive care unit.

Besides improving the county’s overall health, supporters have said the medical center’s location near the Largo Town Center Metro station would bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue and thousands of jobs with a mixed-used development slated to have 4,340 residential units, a 653-room hotel and businesses.

“The residents of Prince George’s County have waited too long and deserve a first-class facility,” said Prince George’s County Councilman Obie Patterson (D-District 8) of Fort Washington. “When we get approval, then we have to get a contractor and that will take some time. I’ll be retired by then.”

The commission could grant approval in the fall, but the project wouldn’t be scheduled for completion until July 2020.

To view the full report, go to http://bit.ly/2bT5U3I.

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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