Editorial: Hopkins medical milestone

May 1 will mark a date of enduring significance in the history of health care in Maryland with the official opening to the public of the new clinical towers at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The $1.1 billion facility includes 1.6 million square feet outfitted with the latest medical equipment and technology, not to mention more than 500 pieces of art.

The 560-bed complex consists of the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, named for the mother of New York Mayor and Hopkins alumnus Michael Bloomberg, and the Sheikh Zayed Tower, a cardiovascular and critical care center for adults named for the first president of the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Bloomberg donated $120 million for construction of the children’s center and also paid for the artwork in both towers. In all, the hospital received $325 million from donors, including Mr. Bloomberg and Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE.

The state contributed $100 million, and the rest came from cash and financing from Hopkins itself. In other words, about $1 billion of this project was privately financed — a great deal for government and for the taxpayers.

One of the nation’s largest hospital projects, the undertaking took a decade to plan and five years to build with some 4,700 workers.

The opening of this world-class facility speaks volumes about the health care industry in Maryland and its importance to the state’s economy.

Johns Hopkins Hospital is an international asset, a global leader in medical care and research. The scale of this investment not only enhances Hopkins’ already prestigious reputation, but it also bolsters the economic underpinnings of our city and state.

Likewise, the week before the new Hopkins facility was scheduled to open in East Baltimore, work began on a $200 million cancer treatment facility at the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s BioPark on the city’s West Side.

Other expansions and enhancements have recently come on line or are underway throughout Maryland’s health care system in various parts of the state.

Aside from their economic impact, which is considerable, these medical facilities make another important, although less tangible, contribution to all of us: quality of life.

Maryland is known far and wide for the quality of its health care. Not only is that a source of pride and comfort for those already living here, it is also a highly valuable tool for recruiting businesses and workers to the Free State, as is the quality of our educational institutions.

In short, May 1 isn’t just a big day for Johns Hopkins Hospital; it’s a big day for all of us. And so we join Hopkins in marking and celebrating the occasion.


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