Hundreds pass this Prince George’s Co. hospital every day for treatment elsewhere. Someday they may not have to

Eunmee Shim, the president of Adventist Fort Washington, shows off plans for the new facility. (WTOP/John Domen)

Every day, hundreds of people who live in southern Prince George’s County, Maryland, drive past or away from Adventist Fort Washington Medical Center to get care elsewhere.

With big plans for a brand-new facility a couple of miles up Route 210, the hope is that eventually more of those residents won’t have to do that. That had hospital leaders celebrating with elected leaders at the state and county level over the cash infusion included in the budget state lawmakers passed last week.

The $10 million earmarked for Adventist in Fort Washington is part of an overall package of nearly $40 million coming to health care facilities in the county. And it’s the first step toward attaining a $150 million guarantee from the state that would help Adventist build a newer, bigger facility a couple of miles north along Route 210.

“We send out a lot of patients who are needing care in the area, partly because we don’t have the capacity,” said Eunmee Shim, president of Adventist Fort Washington. “Partly because we don’t have services. We don’t have space to add services.”

In recent years, the hospital has been able to more than double the number of its beds to just over 50. Back in 2018, a study conducted by Adventist found other hospitals around the region “had about 450 people in a bed somewhere from this community,” said Shim.

“It gives you an idea of what the needs are right? Even if we are to retain a fraction of that in the community to provide a care, you kind of get the idea of the size of the hospital needed for the community.”

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said the number of beds could approach 400.

“We’ll be back next year, working with the state,” said Alsobrooks, talking about the additional funding needed for the new facility that’s in the works. “We’re going to also have to work with all of our partners to get the funding that’s needed. But we hope that we can expedite this process.”

If all goes well, ground could break on a new facility near Route 210 and Old Fort Road in the next couple of years.

According to Shim, less than 4% of patients at Adventist Fort Washington are uninsured, but there are still barriers to getting care.

“The area lacks health care access. And so the outcomes for the community is as bad as those who don’t have access to health care elsewhere. So that’s a very troubling statistic in my opinion. And I am just hoping that that could be changed.”

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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