CENTREVILLE — Anne Arundel Medical Center and Doctors Community Health System officially announced Monday, May 13 their intent to form a new hospital system that could have patient care implications on the Eastern Shore.
The proposed health network, which will officially have a new name this summer, will primarily be between Anne Arundel and Prince George’s County.
Initial funding will come from AAMC investing up to $138 million over five years in the existing DCHS campus and its Information Technologies infrastructure. Funding will also expand inpatient and outpatient services, and launch programs that support the Prince George’s County Community Health Needs Assessment.
“Nothing will change in terms of how we care for our community and our plans for growing services in Anne Arundel County and on the Eastern Shore,” said Arminta Plater, supervisor of Public Relations and Strategic Communications for AAMC. “We will continue to be a regional referral system and our vision for services like the new mental health hospital, cardiac surgery program and Easton Pavilion continue to move forward.”
AAMC Pavilion–Easton, opening for patients Monday, June 3, features a diagnostic radiology center, lab services, and services to support physical therapy, primary care, breast care, bariatrics, cardiology, pelvic health and orthopedics.
“We’re bringing together a variety of services to better care for Maryland’s Eastern Shore community. (This provides) convenient access to health specialists all in one location, backed by AAMC care you know and trust,” said the organization’s official website about the Talbot County location.
The vision behind the proposed health system, according to Planter, is to create a system of care that will consistently deliver high-quality, low-cost clinical services to meet the needs of the community. That means investing in both inpatient and outpatient care.
Last year, DCHS began the search for a partner to support its existing services, make new investments, and to continue to meet the needs of patients.
Currently, the two hospitals are working toward a definitive agreement pending completion of a due diligence process and standard regulatory approval which is expected to continue for the next 30 days.
“Our contiguous service areas make this an ideal opportunity to come together and provide care to our collective community,” said Victoria Bayless, president and CEO of AAMC. “We determined that our counties share more than just a border, and we want to make the region in which we operate healthier as a whole.”
“Partnership is essential for independent hospitals that are working to navigate the rapidly changing health care environment,” said Philip Down, CEO of DCHS. “We vetted many affiliation opportunities, and ultimately chose Anne Arundel Medical Center because of our shared values of community service and quality care.”
While the hospitals have primary locations in separate counties, there are bordering service areas between the two, with AAMC serving patients in Prince George’s County through locations in Largo and Bowie, and DCHS serving patients in its Crofton location.
“We are excited by the opportunities this partnership is designed to deliver and look forward to working with the team at AAMC to learn from one another,” said Rene LaVigne, chairman of Doctors Community Hospital’s Board of Trustees. “We admire the high level of care that AAMC provides its patients, and the incredible abilities of its staff, which is why we view them as an ideal partner as we plan for how to best serve this region in the years ahead.”
“AAMC is excited by the opportunity to partner with DCHS and to expand and enhance care across Prince George’s County. Together, the two systems can meet the unique needs of this region and grow, even in a complex and challenging health care environment,” said John Belcher, chairman of AAMC’s Board of Trustees.
On Dec. 7, 2018, AAMC officially closed Kent Island Urgent Care saying their “research shows that patients who use primary care have better management of chronic disease and lower overall health care costs.”
AAMC went further to say it would subsequently extend hours at Kent Island Primary Care and Eastern Shore Primary Care, both located in the AAMC Kent Island Pavilion in a Nov. 9, 2018 statement.
In total, AAMC has five primary care offices on the Eastern Shore — two on Kent Island and one each in Centreville, Easton and St. Michaels.