To the editor: We, the undersigned doctors providing care in the Chestertown area would like to deliver an important message regarding the present capabilities of our hospital.

When our patients need inpatient care, we prefer that they are admitted in Chestertown. We know they’ll receive excellent and compassionate care, and — importantly — we want our patients to be as close to home as possible. It is both common sense and proven science that people recover more quickly when they are close to home.

We have objected to service and staff reductions in Chestertown. We agree with you that there are services that should be returned and expanded. At the same time, we continuously push back when we feel decisions are too inappropriate, insisting that UM Shore Regional Health CEO Ken Kozel and Easton doctors reverse some changes.

We're glad to report that we have improved the availability of select staff and specialists in Chestertown in order to protect our hospital’s well-earned reputation for excellent, compassionate care.

Our message is simple: Know that your local doctors are working hard in support of the Chestertown hospital so it can survive this lean period. We believe the State of Maryland will decide — in 2020, we hope — to reject the national abandonment of rural hospitals and put an array of resources behind close-to-home inpatient care. We are part of the “Save the Hospital” team, pressing Gov. Larry Hogan, Sen. Steve Hershey, Dels. Jay Jacobs, Jeff Ghrist and Steve Arentz, and other decision-makers to return our hospital to its broad-service status and guarantee its healthy future.

If you have drifted away, please return to use the hospital’s services. In addition to the outstanding emergency room, we have a new CT-Scanner; the Leh Women’s Center’s state-of-the-art mammography and bone density services and plastic and breast Reconstruction surgery; superb cardiac and pulmonary rehab programs; radiology (X-rays, sonograms, CT, MRIs, etc.); lab and infusion clinics for people with cancer and other illnesses; general surgery, ENT and orthopedic surgery; inpatient cardiology services; an excellent pulmonary/critical care specialist; and an inpatient nursing and experienced, stable hospitalist staff that deserves its steady flow of thanks from appreciative patients.

All close to home.

Wayne Benjamin, M.D.

Lynn Bickley, M.D.

Patrick Callahan, M.D.

Fred Delboy, M.D.

Fernando De Leon, M.D.

Andrew Ferguson, M.D.

Ona Kareiva, M.D.

Helen Noble, M.D.

Jerry O’Connor, M.D.

George Panas, M.D.

Michael Peimer, M.D.

Susan Ross, M.D.

Patrick Shanahan, M.D.

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