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Prince George’s health care is finally on the mend

THE MAIN hospital in Prince George’s County is a cramped, badly outdated cash drain that has required tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars in public subsidies on this decade on its solution to obsolescence. Most of the construction, in Cheverly, simply past the District’s northeast border, is 50 or 60 years previous and has not been renovated; its age and format make modernization all however unimaginable. Little marvel that prime docs, in addition to privately insured sufferers, have fled the place in favor of better-rated hospitals in the District and elsewhere.

The decay at the Prince George’s Hospital Center has left the county of greater than 900,000 individuals with a scarcity of high-quality health care — not simply an inconvenience, however a aggressive drawback when it comes to regional financial improvement. For years, county elected officers lobbied for an improve whereas at the similar time they sought to elucidate away a monitor report of woeful administration at the present hospital, which made funding in a brand new one a troublesome promote.

That hurdle, amongst others, was finally overcome final yr when state regulators approved a new hospital. And final week, development finally began on a contemporary, full-service health middle of 205 beds simply past the Beltway at the Largo Town Center Metro cease, due east of the District.

The development, anticipated to take greater than two years, ought to right what amounted to an injustice for Prince George’s — if the new middle’s supervisor, University of Maryland Medical Systems, which runs a community of 13 hospitals round the state, lives as much as its guarantees.

The new educating hospital, to be often known as the Prince George’s County Regional Medical Center, was scaled down from the unique proposal to satisfy state regulators’ considerations about value and wish. Planners shaved more than $100 million off the $654 million price ticket foreseen in 2013. The facility additionally may have a barely smaller mattress capability than the present hospital, though it is going to present a state-of-the-art most cancers middle, stroke middle and pediatric hospital, in addition to packages in neuroscience, orthopedic drugs and women’s health.

It didn’t assist issues for the present hospital that Dimensions Healthcare, the personal nonprofit group that managed it for 30 years, was notoriously inefficient, inept at accumulating payments and topic to political meddling. Under strain from state regulators, Dimensions was folded into UMMS as a precondition of the new middle’s approval. It gained’t be missed.

Key to the new middle’s success will probably be the actuality and look of offering high quality health care, with out which it is unlikely to lure again hundreds of insured sufferers who gave up on in search of in-county medical remedy. That has saddled the present hospital with an unusually excessive proportion of indigent sufferers, weighing on its stability sheet and forcing it to cost greater charges to sufferers who do pay. Unless UMMS can persuade insured sufferers and prime docs that the new facility is on a par with its rivals in the area, it too will probably be pressured to cost excessive charges, imperiling the undertaking’s market share and success.

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