On January 21st, as scheduled, Lisa Jackson Esq., Manager of the Intergovernmental Relations Division in the office of the PG County Executive. brought us up to date on the status of the plans for the new Prince George’s County Medical Center, to be built two miles from Collington. Her Power Point presentation can be seen here.
There was an excellent turn-out and generated very good questions and discussion. There was a lot of enthusiasm for, and interest in, the potential of having a University of Maryland teaching hospital so close by, with all the potential for services, research, and engagement. Ms Jackson was strongly encouraging and helpful about facilitating our interest.
So, I feel even more optimistic that we will be able to develop a close relationship with the new Medical Center, perhaps as part of our strategic planning process, and that this will provide many opportunities both to improve our health care services, and to become involved in volunteering, research and planning with an exciting Center.
However, it became clear that there has been delay in the issuance of the Certificate of Need (CON), and in response Ms. Jackson urged our community to become involved in the planning and CON processes.
As most at Collinton probably know, the CON process is an attempt to increase the efficiency of the health care system by reducing competitive overbuilding, which results in excessive investment and higher prices. (In our case the prior hospital will be closing, so this really should not be a problem). The CON application was filed on October 1, 2013, and has apparently been updated since.
It appears, however, that the process for the CON for our new hospital is taking longer than the norm. As the Washington Post put it back last July (2015):
After going back and forth with the applicant for a year, the commission finally docketed the case in April and the panel is weighing the needs, benefits and competition created by building the hospital. As part of the review, the commission is considering the concerns of two hospitals protesting the project’s scale. . . . As part of its review, the commission is considering comments from Doctors Community Hospital and Anne Arundel Medical Center. Both oppose the size of the project, citing its potential impact on their operations.
So, as a community, Collington should surely think about how we can maximize our input into the CON process, both in terms of articulating the need for the Medical Center, and showing how our proximity and participation will improve health care not just for us, but for a county that remains in need of that improvement. We should be able to make a real difference, given that this seems to be the last hurdle, with the money now in place.
Let me venture the view that such engagement might well provide a tonic to many of us, some of whom remember our youthful activism with more than just nostalgia, and others of whom never had the chance, so far.