Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center to Open This Week in Prince George’s County

Samantha Augustus delivered all three of her children at Medstar Washington Hospital Center in northwest D.C.

The licensed cosmetologist of Fort Washington said other mothers she knows who delivered their babies at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Maryland, “had negative experiences.”

But the new $500 million University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center in Largo scheduled to open Saturday, June 12 seeks to change a patient’s experience.

“If [expectant mothers] are seeing a lot of people going there to deliver their babies, more people will come,” Augustus said. “The new hospital will have a trauma center, so people won’t have to go to Johns Hopkins [in Baltimore] for treatment. The new hospital will be a good aspect to the community.”

Nathaniel Richardson (left), president and CEO of the University of Maryland Capital Region Health, and Dr. Joseph Wright, chief medical officer, stand on one of two helipads on the roof of the newly built University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center in Largo. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)
Nathaniel Richardson (left), president and CEO of the University of Maryland Capital Region Health, and Dr. Joseph Wright, chief medical officer, stand on one of two helipads on the roof of the newly built University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center in Largo. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

The 11-story hospital, located in what former County Executive Rushern L. Baker III labeled as “downtown Largo” near the Largo Town Center Metro station, features brighter lights, an emergency wing for pediatric, trauma and behavioral services and 45 emergency treatment bays.

All employees and nearly 200 patients at Prince George’s Hospital Center will relocate to the medical center the same day it opens. The 70-year-old hospital in Cheverly will close.

“The old facility has outlived its life,” said Chief Medical Officer Joseph Wright. “It brings with it an upgrade of technology…to practice 21st Century medicine and it brings us …just a total upgrade of what is needed in this county.”

Construction workers put the finishing touches on patient kiosks near the emergency room entrance inside the University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center in Largo. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)
Construction workers put the finishing touches on patient kiosks near the emergency room entrance inside the University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center in Largo. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

Hospital and county officials have proclaimed the hospital will improve health care in Prince George’s.

A report released in the fall by the Rand Corp. of Arlington, Va., cited healthcare challenges in Prince George’s including lack of primary care physicians, limited mental health providers and the rate of emergency room visits for Black and Latino children with asthma more than quadrupled that of white children.

There’s an anticipation of health care professionals flocking to Prince George’s with the medical center being part of the University of Maryland Medical System and its 12 other hospitals. It will also serve as a teaching hospital equipped with 205 patient rooms, eight state-of-the-art operating rooms and two helipads on the roof with one to accommodate the size of the Marine One helicopter.

Another main difference from the current hospital versus the medical center stems from emergency services with children and maternity care, especially with Prince George’s residents traveling to other locations such as Children’s Hospital in northwest D.C. and Anne Arundel Medical Center in Anne Arundel County.

The University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center has nine delivery and labor rooms on the third floor equipped with pull-out couches and views of a healing garden. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)
The University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center has nine delivery and labor rooms on the third floor equipped with pull-out couches and views of a healing garden. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

The medical center’s third floor will be specifically for women and infants with nine labor and delivery rooms with a water birthing room, a special-care nursery with 16 beds and a healing garden visible from the rooms.

In addition, each room offers a couch that pulls out to a bed for fathers and significant others.

Besides the state-of-the-art technology, the medical center also plans to protect the environment.

Nathaniel Richardson, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Capital Region Health, said the building can transfer steam into energy and enhanced technology to inform visitors, patients and employees trash placed in the wrong receptacle, you will be told “it’s not supposed to be in there.”

“When you think about the technology we’re going to have here, the efficiencies that we will be able to achieve and really being able to have the community be a part as we continue to develop ourselves in Prince George’s County,” he said. “It has been a very long time coming.”

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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