LARGO, Md. — Maryland and Prince George’s County officials were on hand for the groundbreaking Thursday of the $543 million University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Center.
The stories from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker underscored the significance of Thursday’s event in Largo: One survived cancer. One survived a liver transplant. One watched helplessly as his wife turned blue and needed to be rushed to the hospital.
“Prince George’s County and southern Maryland will finally get the hospital that they deserve and they will have access to some of the best doctors and nurses and health care professionals in the entire world,” Hogan said.
Hogan, who battled cancer in his first year in office, told the crowd at the Largo facility’s groundbreaking, “I came to understand and appreciate the work of our state’s great health and research facilities.”
Busch, whose illness became a cause of concern during the last General Assembly session visited the University of Maryland for 21 days this year, he said. “I had a liver transplant. I could have had it anywhere else, but I had it here in Maryland” he said, referring to his stay at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.
And Baker told the hundreds assembled for the groundbreaking about the challenges of having to make life and death decisions in a hospital setting. He recounted an episode when his wife, who has dementia, choked on medication and had to be rushed to the hospital.
He was asked by doctors for permission to intubate his wife. “It is a feeling of total hopelessness and helplessness,” he said, to make a decision he felt unqualified to make among people he didn’t know and whom he didn’t trust.
That’s why establishing a new state-of the art facility in the county will be so important. “It’s not just a building,” he said.
The new medical center is expected to open in 2021, and will replace the University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center, in Cheverly.
The 26-acre site, next to the Arena Drive exit off Interstate 495 in Largo, will include a 600,000-square-foot facility with an 11-story main patient care building, 205 private inpatient rooms and eight operating rooms.
Plans also call for two rooftop helipads, a 20-bed short-stay treatment area, a 45-bay emergency department and a 15-bed specialty pediatric hospital that will be operated by Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, which is co-owned by the University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins Medicine.
In September, the University of Maryland Medical System affiliated with Dimensions Healthcare System, creating University of Maryland Capital Region Health.