Shady Grove Adventist Hospital President Testifies on Need for Emergency Medical Care in Upper Montgomery - Adventist HealthCare

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News Release

Media Contact: Tom Grant

Published on February 20, 2005

Press Release

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital President Testifies on Need for Emergency Medical Care in Upper Montgomery

Lawmakers Urged to Support Bill that Would Allow Opening of Satellite Emergency Department in Germantown

Annapolis, MD - Deborah A. Yancer, President of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland, testified today before the Finance Committee of the Maryland State Senate regarding the need for a Satellite Emergency Department (ED) in Germantown, Maryland.

"In a medical emergency, every moment counts," Yancer, who is also a registered nurse, told the assembled Committee of State Senators. "The community we serve in upper Montgomery County faces daunting barriers to emergency medical care: severe traffic congestion, skyrocketing population growth, high Emergency Department volume, and a large geographic service area. The 30 mile stretch between Shady Grove Adventist and the next nearest Emergency Department to the north along the Interstate 270 (I-270) corridor also presents an access challenge for this community."

Current Maryland regulations state that a hospital must have inpatient beds in order to establish an acute care service at a satellite location. SB 231, sponsored by Senators P. J. Hogan, and Rob Garagiola, as well as seven other co-sponsors, would allow Shady Grove Adventist to establish a satellite Emergency Department without inpatient beds through a narrow exception to enable the Hospital to address the unique local access situation in upper Montgomery County. Delegate John Hurson, along with 19 co-sponsors, has introduced a companion bill, HB 426, in the House of Delegates.

In the past decade, the population in upper Montgomery County has increased by 30,000 people, and traffic along I-270 near the Frederick County border has increased 83 percent. I-270 is recognized for having among the worst traffic congestion in the region. Ambulances and private vehicles transporting patients to Shady Grove Adventist often encounter heavy traffic delays as they attempt to rush patients to emergency care. The Emergency Department at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital treated approximately 84,000 patients in 2004, about 20,000 more than the next busiest Emergency Department in Montgomery County. Approximately 40 percent of the patients treated at Shady Grove's ED are upcounty residents.

In early 2003, recognizing the need to address emergency medical care access barriers for the upper Montgomery County community, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital submitted a Certificate of Need (CON) application to the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) to develop a satellite emergency department in Germantown. Given the state regulation requiring an acute care service at a satellite location to have inpatient beds, the hospital included a small number of inpatient beds along with the emergency department project, even though it did not want or need the inpatient beds at the location. In September of 2004, the MHCC voted to deny the request for the Satellite ED in large measure because of the presence of inpatient beds with this service. This decision created a proverbial "Catch-22" of regulatory entanglement for the hospital.

Said Yancer, "The mission of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is to provide excellent healthcare to our community. Helping to address barriers to emergency medical care is a critical part of that mission. SB 231 and HB 426 provide a common sense solution to a unique regulatory challenge and will dramatically benefit the community we serve. We are hopeful that our elected officials will support this legislation and help us improve access to care for our patients."

The proposed satellite Emergency Department facility would be equipped comparably to a hospital emergency department and would be staffed with board-certified emergency physicians and specially trained nurses. The facility would provide care 24 hours a day, accept ambulance traffic and offer advanced diagnostic capabilities.

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, a 218-bed, not-for-profit, acute care facility located in Rockville, Maryland, is committed to delivering excellent health care through a ministry of physical, mental and spiritual healing. We provide a broad range of health services to the community and are known for excellence in high-risk obstetrical care, cardiac and vascular interventional care, orthopedic care, and bariatric surgery. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital also has a special emphasis on providing health care services for children. We have the first Pediatric Emergency Department in Montgomery County and care for 25,000 pediatric emergency patients per year. The hospital also operates the only pediatric intensive care unit in the county. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is part of Adventist HealthCare, an integrated health care delivery system based in Rockville, Maryland, that is one of the largest employers in the state of Maryland. Adventist Healthcare also includes Washington Adventist Hospital, Potomac Ridge Behavioral Health System, Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland, Adventist Senior Living, Adventist Health Careers Training Center, Hackettstown Community Hospital, and Adventist Home Health.

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