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GBMC files for $108.2 million addition to expand patient room size

GBMC has filed an application to build with the state regulatory agency for approval to build this addition. (Hord Coplan Macht rendering)

GBMC has filed an application with the state regulatory agency for approval to build this addition. (Hord Coplan Macht rendering)

Greater Baltimore Medical Center has filed an application to build an addition to the hospital to modernize and expand patient rooms and create more space for the emergency department.

The hospital will not be adding any new beds, but the $108.2 million project will allow it to essentially double the size of its rooms.

“This is really the first key step to creating some initial capacity in higher standard rooms so we can go back and retrofit our existing rooms to provide a better experience for our patients,” said Keith R. Poisson, GBMC’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This is part of a strategic plan for us to continue to maintain and sustain the same level of quality care and care experience for our patients in the next 50 (years).”

The Towson-based GBMC, a nonprofit hospital, is one of the few independent hospitals remaining in Maryland. It was founded in 1965 and currently employs 3,900 people.

The 352-bed hospital has more than 23,000 admissions annually and receives more than 52,000 visits to its emergency department.

The hospital has filed a certificate of need application with the Maryland Health Care Commission, the state regulator responsible for approving significant hospital construction projects.

The 106,000-square-foot project would add three floors to the front of the hospital. It would add a three-story addition in front of the hospital’s existing lobby and between its two wings.

The goal is to expand inpatient rooms that are currently deemed too small, most of which date back to the hospital’s founding. 

According to GBMC’s filing,  the original rooms are between 100-115 square feet, less than the recommended 130 square feet. Most of the rooms also lack the recommended 3 feet of space around the sides of the bed and do not have sinks in their toilet rooms so patients can wash their hands.

The addition will create space for 60 new, larger private inpatient rooms on the top two floors of the addition. With the space vacated by the beds moving to the new addition, GBMC plans to renovate the older rooms remaining by turning the 30-bed units into 15-bed units. 

Essentially, the hospital is doubling the size of its rooms by adding more space for new larger rooms and turning every two existing rooms into one larger room.

The new room size would allow more people who are part of a patient’s care, including multiple members of their care team and the patient’s family, to be in the room. It is part of GBMC’s focus on patient-centered care, said Stacey McGreevy, the hospital’s vice president for support services.

“The philosophy in doing this is that we want to improve, No 1, the delivery of our health care,” she said. “Now you really want the patient and their family involved in the care and care decisions.”

On the ground floor will be a new reception area, chapel, gift shop, medical staff library, retail pharmacy and other patient, staff and family support spaces.

GBMC wants to start construction on the addition in July 2021, with a goal of completing that construction by July 2023.

The project is part of GBMC’s master facility plan. That master plan also said the emergency department is undersized, especially with a lack of acute treatment rooms and behavioral health treatment rooms.

The hospital’s filing said moving the patient, staff and family amenities to the ground floor of the addition should create space to expand the existing emergency department in a later, separate project.

“With the addition that we’re proposing, we sort of move all of our services up in the front of the house,” McGreevy said. “In the future, we would like to look at our emergency room to redesign.”

Moving those front-of-house services to the new addition will create a new main entrance to the hospital, something McGreevy called the “pinnacle” of the hospital.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the cost of the project. It is $108.2 million. It also misspelled Stacey McGreevy’s name. It is Stacey McGreevy. We regret the errors.

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