Shore Health announces plans for new medical campus at Cambridge Marketplace

EAST NEW MARKET — Ken Kozel, CEO of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, has big plans for Cambridge.

Tuesday evening at the East New Market Volunteer Fire Hall, Mr. Kozel announced the medical system’s intention to build two new, state-of-the-art facilities at Cambridge Marketplace on US Rt. 50, the site of the current Cambridge Plaza. The plans include a 20,000-square-foot emergency department with observation beds and 24-7 services, 365 days a year. Next door will be a 50,000-square-foot, two-story medical pavilion. According to the proposal, the facilities will be sited roughly where the vacant Kmart and social services buildings are now.

Mr. Kozel said that Shore Health is in the beginning phase of a multi-phase process to get the facilities built.

“We are not finalized. We don’t have approval for this vision yet,” Mr. Kozel said. “We have not gone to the state regulators and asked to be able to do this. We wanted to bring it here to you tonight first. We’ve got three other public sessions before we go from there.”

Should the buildings come to Cambridge, they will be very similar to the UM Shore Emergency Center and UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Queenstown. The longterm plan includes even more buildings and services on the 10-plus-acre medical campus.

“Our mission is creating healthier communities together,” Mr. Kozel said. “It’s got to be high-quality, cost-effective, and accessible care. … It’s got to be a new, state-of-the-art campus and medical services in Cambridge, right here in Cambridge. It’s got to be convenient. It’s got to be highly visible, and it’s got to have an easily accessible location. … It’s got to be modern and new.”

The proposal for the emergency department includes private ER rooms, a two-bed trauma suite, private observation beds, telemedicine capabilities for specialist consultation, behavioral health assessment treatment rooms, state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and a helipad adjacent to the department.

The medical pavilion will offer outpatient services and will be home to specialists who serve the community. This includes outpatient surgery and rehabilitation services, a balance center, a cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation center, telemedicine services for specialist access, and a community health education hub. The pavilion will also offer a full range of diagnostic services including CT scans, x-ray, ultrasound, lab services, lab testing, pharmacy support, and cardiovascular diagnostic testing.

A full range of specialists will likely offer services at the pavilion, including diabetes/endocrinology; ear, nose, throat and allergies; gastroenterology; general surgery; gynecology; pre-natal care; orthopedics; outpatient behavioral health; outpatient medical oncology; pediatrics and urology.

Mr. Kozel also addressed what will become of the UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester, on the Choptank River.

“Our intent would be to work with the community, the city and county, and work with whomever they get to help develop that waterfront property and use that as the new waterfront for Cambridge,” Mr. Kozel said. “Our goal would be to knock those buildings down.”

The old hospital represents a financial drain to Shore Health. Mr. Kozel said Shore Health is budgeted this year for a 2 percent profit margin. Mr. Kozel estimated that maintenance of the aging hospital building alone will cost $37 million through the next five years.

“That’s an enormous amount of money just to keep the facility up and running,” Mr. Kozel said. “That’s not care, that’s just building costs. … We can’t stay in that building forever.”

Mr. Kozel said on average, only 20 patients occupy the Center at Dorchester in inpatient beds each day.

“That’s 365-24-7 services for an average of 20 patients a day,” Mr. Kozel said. “Some days it’s six, some days it’s 30. … It’s extremely difficult to be efficient with those few patients.”

Mr. Kozel said inpatient behavioral health services now offered in Cambridge will shift to the new hospital proposed in Easton, near the Talbot County Community Center on U.S. Route 50.

If all goes according to plan, Shore Health will break ground on the new facilities by 2020 in Cambridge. Mr. Kozel hopes the UM Shore Emergency Center and UM Shore Medical Pavilion at Cambridge will open in 2022, at the same time as the new Easton Hospital.

Maryland Secretary of Housing and Community Development Kenneth Holt; Roger Harrell, head of the Dorchester County Health Department; and members of the city and county council attended the meeting to show their support.

“I’m here to observe and to learn and to support the University of Maryland Medical System,” Mr. Holt said. “I think that this is a very important transformational effort by the state, by the city and by the county to improve health care. … I want to make sure it’s done right and whatever state resources need to be brought to assist the program are available. … I really admired the presentation. It was really straight forward and really accurate.”

Mr. Harrell said, “I would say as a public health official and a former hospital CEO who studies health care, this is an ideal situation. It’s just a matter of educating the community about how and where they get their services. I’m very positive about the upside of this.”

County Councilman Don Satterfield said, “it gives the citizens an opportunity to get some services back that we lost. … Now we can draw some doctors and medical personnel back to the community.”

Shore Health will host more meetings at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Chesapeake College, Cambridge Center at 416-418 Race St.; 6 p.m. June 8 at the E.A. Murphy Community Building, 104 Race St., Vienna; and 6 p.m. June 15 at the Madison Fire Department.

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