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UM Laurel Hospital files plan for $50 million medical center

Laurel Regional Hospital in 2010. (The Daily Record/Rich Dennison)

Laurel Regional Hospital in 2010. (The Daily Record/Rich Dennison)

The University of Maryland Laurel Regional Hospital has filed a $50 million plan with the Maryland Health Care Commission as it seeks to convert its operations into a medical center.

The hospital will seek a Request for Certificate of Need Exemption for a new University of Maryland Laurel Medical Center, including 24/7 emergency care, short-stay overnight care, outpatient surgery and behavioral health programs.

“We are excited to reach this milestone in this project,” Stephen T. Bartlett, executive vice president and chief medical officer for the University of Maryland Medical System, said in a statement. “We are one step closer to a modern facility with enhancements that will allow us to continue to meet the needs of the communities we serve now and in the future with the level and quality and expertise the residents of this vibrant community deserve to have.”

The hospital expects the conversion to be completed in spring 2021.

In addition to the emergency, overnight, surgical and behavioral programs, the medical center will also have pharmacy, lab and imaging services. The hospital campus will continue to include primary care, women’s health, lung health, the Wound Care Center and chronic pain management programs.

In the future, inpatient medical and surgical unites and behavioral health services will be provided primarily at University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center. Chronic care and inpatient rehabilitation units have also been approved to move to the hospital center by fall 2018.

The move to convert Laurel into a medical center while transferring more hospital services to the county’s main hospital concerned Laurel residents. Laurel Regional Hospital said a committee tasked with resolving the conversion included local leaders, hospital employees and volunteers.

“While the journey has not been without its challenges, I am confident about and excited by the plans for health care in Laurel,” Mayor Craig A. Moe said in a statement. “We have had the right voices, expertise and input from many contributors to bring us to this juncture, and I believe that our citizens will have a health care facility and campus that they can be proud of and that will meet the most pressing medical needs they, their families and neighbors face every day.”

A significant portion of the conversion will focus on keeping patients healthy before they ever need to go to the hospital, reducing admissions.

Plans for Laurel include an expansion of outpatient programs for chronic disease management and wellness promotion.

Those programs will be done in collaboration with the University of Maryland Medical System, which affiliated with the former Dimensions Health System last year. Dimensions is now University of Maryland Capital Region Health.

The facility will be paid for with $50 million of University of Maryland Medical System funds, with additional private funding expected for the surrounding campus.

“I offer my thanks to the Laurel Strategic Planning Work Group for their dedication; these plans represent their vision and dedication to the people of this region and a commitment to meet their needs in an evolving health care environment,” Bradford Seamon, chair of the board of directors for University of Maryland Capital Region Health, said in a statement.

A public meeting about the transition will be held May 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center.

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