CENTREVILLE — Ken Kozel, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health CEO, reported a spike in emergency room visits at the emergency center in Queenstown during a presentation to the Queen Anne’s County County Commissioners June 25.

Kozel said the location has seen more than 15,000 visits thus far this year even before entering the “busy season” of summer.

“Not all patients need emergency care, since there is primary care in addition to urgent care,” Kozel said. “We’re looking at the possibility to provide urgent care for residents of Queen Anne’s County. We have a partnership with Choice One, and we have two centers already in operation with one on Denton and another in Easton.”

Kozel said UM Shore Regional Health is in talks with Choice One to discuss locations for other urgent care clinics in Queen Anne’s County. Business plan proposals are being drafted with a full review following their completion.

Among the locations being considered are Kent Island and Centreville, with the typical urgent care facility about 10,000 square feet outfitted with a waiting room area, multiple exam rooms and a discharging location.

“We’re also looking at observation beds, and we’re at a point where we’ve met several times as a hospital system to discuss a pilot study,” Kozel said. “Within the next month or so, we’re ready to see observation patients in our Queenstown Emergency Center. We’re going to be restrictive in the cases we see, because we don’t want to compromise the care in our emergency center.”

Observation initially would be limited to 23 hours with most emergency patients being discharged between six to eight hours.

Kozel said projected estimates include three to five observation patients a week.

“Our intent is to keep patients in Queen Anne’s County and avoid that transfer to Easton and require the family to drive back to their home in Queen Anne’s County,” Kozel said.

Patti Willis, UM Shore Regional Health senior vice president, concluded the presentation by updating the commissioners on community partnerships with local entities.

Among them is Mobile Integrated Community Healthcare Project, currently in its sixth year, and the “telepharmacy” that allows the hospital system to coordinate the care of discharged patients with medication reconciliation issues being addressed without an additional visit.

“We’re able to find out if a patient is lacking medication they need or they have them, but they are three to five years old and have disintegrated in the bottles,” Willis said. “They also may not know why they’re taking them or possible side effects.”

Willis also said a primary care practice in Centreville is seeing an average of 50 patients daily plus working in those calling for sick visits.

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