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Marisa Lavine
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Published on December 17, 2010

Adventist HealthCare Vows to Press Forward with Plans for New Clarksburg Hospital Despite Recommendation

Urges Community, Elected Officials to Rally Around Only Plan Approved by County

Rockville, MDAdventist HealthCare officials and upcounty community leaders today expressed dismay over a recommendation against a new hospital and medical campus in Clarksburg, adding they will not be deterred in advocating for the only plan that has county approvals, does not harm existing medical services and provides the best access to health care for the region.

Marilyn Moon, Ph.D., chair of the Maryland Health Care Commission, issued a recommendation today in which she favors a Certificate of Need (CON) for a last-minute proposed hospital by Holy Cross in Germantown, as opposed to Adventist HealthCare’s longstanding, community engaged 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 now go to the entire Commission, which will vote at its Jan. 20 meeting in Baltimore.

“I respect Dr. Moon and the role she plays in this process, but I am disappointed by her decision,” said William G. “Bill” Robertson, President and CEO of Adventist HealthCare. “Let me assure the community that this flawed recommendation does nothing to stop our resolve to make sure Montgomery County’s next hospital is in Clarksburg. We will urge the full Commission to study all of the relevant information in this case, which clearly shows that our vision is the strongest plan for the region and the only one that has the approval of the Montgomery County Planning Board.”

Adventist HealthCare purchased land in Clarksburg in 2001 to provide future health-care services to the rapidly growing region. In the ensuing years, the organization worked on a solid financing plan and received all traffic, land and environmental approvals to ensure the hospital and medical campus blended seamlessly with other development plans. In addition, the Clarksburg location complements existing health services along the busy I-270 corridor including the Germantown Emergency Center, Frederick Memorial Hospital and Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Adventist HealthCare’s plan is supported by Frederick Memorial Hospital, since the Clarksburg campus will serve Urbana and southern Frederick County as well.

“This recommendation suggests that transparency, collaboration and suitability of a site from a land-use perspective are not important parts of the State decision-making process,” said Grace Rivera-Oven, a Germantown community leader.

“Not only has Adventist brought the much-needed emergency center to Germantown, plus clinics for expectant mothers and the uninsured, they have also been a true partner with the community in an open and transparent way,” she added.

Thousands of supporters, including residents, physicians, community leaders and organizations -- plus 11 of the 12 upcounty state legislators -- have written letters to the Commission and elected officials urging them to support the Clarksburg plan because it will meet the needs of the fast-growing upcounty population, help the underserved and bring needed economic growth to the region. Supporters also cite the years of open, collaborative work between Adventist HealthCare, the community and the county as a significant reason to back the Clarksburg plan.

Randy Scritchfield, a longtime upcounty business owner and community leader, said that Adventist HealthCare and the community have followed all the rules and worked collaboratively in the best interests of the region.

“With this recommendation, the upcounty may be left with fewer health-care options than if the Adventist proposal had been selected,” said Scritchfield of Damascus. “With the recommendation for the Holy Cross project in Germantown, the Clarksburg project is on hold and the Germantown Emergency Center may not survive.”

Adventist HealthCare’s Clarksburg plan is an extension of the organization’s long-standing commitment to expand access to health care in the upcounty. In 2005, the organization joined with the community, state legislators and county officials to build the Shady Grove Adventist Germantown Emergency Center off Route 118. The center’s medical campus also has a primary care clinic for uninsured residents, a prenatal clinic for low-income women, outpatient radiology services and physician offices.
Of the competing upcounty hospital proposals, only Adventist HealthCare’s proposal:

  • Has major environmental and land-use approvals from Montgomery County
  • Will not negatively impact other health-care providers in the region
  • Offers convenient access from all directions for upcounty residents and emergency responders
  • Features 60 acres with space for expansion as the upcounty continues to grow
  • Includes a new community hospital and full-service medical campus with:
    • Day-care center to meet the needs of the upcounty’s young families
    • Primary care clinic for the upcounty’s underserved communities

"In addition to the loss of what would be the most appropriate facility in Clarksburg, one of the fastest growing regions in the State, I am concerned about the loss of the originally intended purpose of the Germantown Campus property , which was supported by public dollars," notes Scritchfield.

For more information on the proposed 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.