Adventist HealthCare Asks State Commission to Reopen Hospital Review Due to Incomplete, Flawed Recommendation
Reviewer’s Report Raises Too Many Serious Questions for State, County Health Systems
Rockville, MD – Adventist HealthCare today asked the Maryland Health Care Commission to remand its recommendation on a new upper Montgomery County hospital to the reviewer for further proceedings because the proposed recommendation represents a major ruling with analyses and policies that have statewide implications for the public, its hospitals and additional health-care delivery systems.
Marilyn Moon, Ph.D., chair of the Maryland Health Care Commission and acting as the reviewer, issued a recommendation on Dec. 17 in favor of a Certificate of Need (CON) for a proposed hospital by Holy Cross in Germantown, as opposed to Adventist HealthCare’s long-standing plan to build a hospital and medical campus off Interstate 270 in Clarksburg. Dr. Moon also recommended that Holy Cross be allowed to build a new patient tower on its Silver Spring campus. The recommendations are scheduled to go to the entire commission, which will vote at its Jan. 20 meeting in Baltimore. In a 105-page document of exceptions filed today with the commission, Adventist HealthCare asks the commissioners to reopen the comparative review of upcounty hospital projects because the flawed recommended decision:
- Deviates from the commission’s State Health Plan regulation with major statewide implications, including a new policy on establishing satellite hospitals based on relocation of capacity.
- Bases its conclusions on evidence that was not in the record and to which the review process did not afford the parties any opportunity to respond.
- Rejects the recommendation of the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) in this CON review, mischaracterizing the negative financial recommendation as only applicable to the Clarksburg project when that same HSCRC recommendation also applied to the Holy Cross Germantown proposal.
- Raises the issue of available reproductive health services in the proposed Germantown area with no evidence to support its conclusion and no testimony presented at hearings on this topic.
- Does not address the overlapping coverage from existing hospitals already serving this area and downplays the significant role that the Shady Grove Adventist Germantown Emergency Center plays in saving lives as an essential community resource of hospitallevel emergency department services.
- Wrongly finds that the Germantown project will improve travel times to hospital services, when the state Health Plan’s travel time standard is already met by existing hospitals. In addition, travel time experts presented data showing the Clarksburg project provided better travel time access.
- Links the approval of the Germantown project to the potential relocation of Washington Adventist Hospital in White Oak, when this review was supposed to be only between two upcounty proposals in Clarksburg and Germantown. Further, the reviewer offers no guarantee of approval for the Washington Adventist Hospital project.
- Concludes wrongly that the Holy Cross Germantown project is more affordable when in fact the Clarksburg project is substantially less costly.
- Asserts incorrectly that Holy Cross leads in providing charity care and community benefit for Montgomery County, even though Adventist HealthCare provides more charity care and community benefit than any other health system or hospital in the County. This community benefit commitment by Adventist HealthCare is jeopardized by the two Holy Cross capital projects.
“We are deeply disappointed with the Germantown recommendation, particularly when it is coupled with the simultaneous recommendation of additional space for Holy Cross Hospital’s Silver Spring location,” said William G. “Bill” Robertson, President and CEO of Adventist HealthCare. “Our exceptions identify issues and concerns that are vitally important to address before there is any ruling to establish Maryland’s first hospital in a metropolitan area in more than 30 years. This decision is too important for the citizens of Montgomery County and Maryland to be rushed through the full commission.”
For more than eight years Adventist HealthCare has worked with the community and Montgomery County on the Clarksburg plans and has received all traffic, land and environmental approvals to ensure the Clarksburg Community Hospital and medical campus blended seamlessly with other development plans in the community. In contrast, the Holy Cross Germantown proposal has no county land, traffic or environmental approvals and was never envisioned in the Germantown Master Plan. There is no guarantee that it will be approved by the county Planning Board.
Thousands of supporters have written letters supporting the Clarksburg plan because it will meet the needs of the fast-growing upcounty population, help the underserved, complement existing health-care services and bring needed economic growth to the region. Supporters also cite the years of open, collaborative work among Adventist HealthCare, the community and the county as a significant reason to back the Clarksburg plan.
For more information on the Clarksburg hospital, visit www.clarksburghospital.com.
Adventist HealthCare, an integrated, health-care delivery organization based in Rockville, Maryland, is one of the largest employers in the state of Maryland. The mission of Adventist HealthCare is to demonstrate God’s care by improving the health of people and communities through a ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing.