Harford council supports state bills to hasten building of new Havre de Grace medical center

Harford council supports state bills to hasten building of new Havre de Grace medical center

Harford County Council members clashed briefly Tuesday night over a request to support pending state legislation tied to University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health’s expansion plans in the county. Eventually, the council voted 5-2 to authorize letters of assistance for House Costs 1350 and its Senate companion, SB-770, as Council President Richard Slutzky insisted they decide before Thursday afternoon’s scheduled House of Delegates committee hearing on HB-1350. The legislation would permit health care companies like Upper Chesapeake to open totally free standing medical centers without going through the state’s typically lengthy certificate of requirement procedure utilized in licensing intense care healthcare facility centers. Upper Chesapeake prepares to develop a medical school at the I-95/ Path 155 interchange in Havre de Grace that will be anchored by a medical center offering emergency medical and ambulatory care services and an inpatient behavioral health unit. Simultaneous with the opening of that facility, Upper Chesapeake would close its Harford Memorial Healthcare facility in downtown Havre de Grace and transfer its medical/surgical services to the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center healthcare facility in Bel Air. Councilman Joe Woods, who is the council’s intermediary to Annapolis, said he was hesitant to decide on the legislation up until Thursday’s hearing. Woods said Havre de Grace and Aberdeen city authorities have not weighed in, although their cities will experience the most direct impact from the suggested Harford Memorial closing. Upper Chesapeake hosted community meetings on its medical center plan Feb. 8 and Feb. 24 in Havre de Grace, where officials with the Harford County based non-profit said Harford Memorial’s building is outdated and consolidating some medical/surgical services at their Bel Air center remains in keeping with present patterns in treatment. Numerous home owner who spoke at the 2 meetings revealed issues about the Harford Memorial closing, nevertheless, including exactly what would occur with the website and having to go outside their community for services currently offered there. Some attendees were from neighboring Cecil County, which is also served by Harford Memorial. A 3rd community online forum on the strategy will be held April 5 at the Perryville Neighborhood Fire Company hall. Harford Del. Mary Ann Lisanti, who represents and stays in Havre de Grace, sent a letter to the County Council Tuesday, prompting that it not take “an early action by voting to support HB-1350 …” The letter was not raised throughout the council meeting, however. “It’s our only location to have a public hearing. We are not going to have it here,” Woods stated of the Annapolis hearing. He likewise said there may have been a hesitation on the part of Havre de Grace city officials to take stand since the city has an election showing up in Might for three of its 6 City board seats. Both City board President Stephen Gamatoria and City Councilman David Glenn, who are running for re-election, went to the Havre de Grace meetings and revealed some reservations about Upper Chesapeake’s strategies. Councilman Curtis Beulah, who represents Havre de Grace, concurred with Woods and was the only other councilman to vote against supporting the state legislation. “There are some concerns in Havre de Grace in the neighborhood, and, again, the city council hasn’t weighed in on this. I simply believe possibly we are a little early on this,” Beulah stated. Slutzky, nevertheless, felt highly about showing assistance. “We believe it’s suitable at this time to have our statement sign up with the statement of the county executive and others,” he stated. County Executive Barry Glassman has stated he supports the Upper Chesapeake plan for the new medical center. Slutzky said he has been included with several people in the “upper tier” of the University of Maryland Medical System, “and there is no concern that if we don’t do this, Harford Memorial Medical facility is disappearing anyway.” The greatest concern, he said, might be the best ways to repurpose the Harford Memorial site, “which’s a concern for Havre de Grace.” “At this time, I believe it’s suitable this council take a position. I believe Havre de Grace didn’t take a position for political considerations,” Slutzky stated. “That, for me, would be a little frustrating.” Councilman Pat Vincenti, who represents Aberdeen, said he is not worried about the care residents would get at the brand-new center, but “I do have concern about the financial development on the downtown area of Havre de Grace.” He voted to support the costs, nevertheless, saying: “At this time, I think I am making the best choice for the people of Havre de Grace and Harford County.” Councilman Jim McMahan said he wishes to support the brand-new center at the earliest benefit. “As a previous Havre de Grace citizen, I have needed to utilize Harford Memorial Healthcare facility on three different occasions myself and got outstanding care there, but anyone who has looked at exactly what is going to take place down the line, and done some homework on this, knows full well Harford Memorial Hospital is going away. It’s gone. There is definitely no contesting that,” McMahan said. “I really hope the city does something extremely favorable with that area to help the downtown community, but it’s going away.” Woods said he wants to make it clear he does support the brand-new center, but “there are parts of the expense I do have worries about.” He kept in mind the expense would eliminate the requirement for “official public hearings” if a hospital wants to change, downgrade its centers or close and would need “just an informational meeting.” Woods did say he believes the medical facility will be a totally practical medical facility, not a “doc in the box” or an urgent care center like Patient First. He pointed out, nevertheless, that the Maryland Institute for Emergency situation Medical Services Systems has not weighed in on the costs and has protested freestanding clinics in the past. The General Assembly is also thinking about legislation resolving opening and closing healthcare centers that is at cross purposes to the legislation supported by Upper Chesapeake and now the Harford council. HB-1121, which also has a hearing Thursday afternoon prior to the House Health and Government Operations Committee, and its Senate buddy SB-12, would prohibit partial or full closures of a healthcare facility “except under specific circumstances” and need both local and state testimonial prior to one could occur.See all stories onthis subject Bullying and blame culture at

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