As health care officials in Maryland debate where to put a new $600 million regional health center in Prince George’s County, Bowie officials are touting the city as the ideal location for the facility.
“I really hope you remember those five little letters,” said City Councilwoman Diane Polangin (Dist. 2), referring to the name of the city.
The Bowie City Council discussed the city as an option during a Monday meeting with Neil Moore, CEO of Dimensions Healthcare System, which manages multiple health care facilities and programs across the county, including the Bowie Health Campus.
Dimensions is working to improve quality and increase the trust the public has in the local medical system, said Moore, who highlighted the system’s ongoing collaboration with the University of Maryland Medical System, which has begun to provide doctors in the system’s three emergency rooms in Bowie, at Laurel Regional Hospital and Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, as well as its efforts to build a new regional health center in the county.
The Bowie Health Campus, an emergency medical facility on Health Center Drive near the Bowie Town Center, is scheduled to see changes as well. The facility is set to have UMMS take over emergency care next year, Moore said. A similar change occurred at the Laurel Regional Hospital in Laurel in July when UMMS began providing doctors for the facility.
With Bowie being the largest city in the county, some council members said they were concerned residents were being forced to leave the Bowie area or the county to seek general medical treatment.
“With our aging population, I definitely think there is a need [for a hospital here],” Polangin said. “With 58,000 people [in Bowie], wouldn’t it be nice to bring people to something in our own neighborhood rather than in Anne Arundel County or somewhere else in the county?”
Basing the proposed 278-bed hospital in the Bowie area could help address the health needs of county residents and allow them to seek and receive major medical care close to home, multiple council members said.
“Bowie would certainly welcome the opportunity to have you expand your operations here,” said Councilman Henri Gardner (Dist. 3)
Moore, however, was mum on whether the hospital could or would be built in Bowie. The current thinking is to place the new facility within six miles of the Prince George’s Hospital Center, the existing center of Dimensions’ hospital system, Moore said.
“I think the likelihood of us being a home for the new regional health center is slim, so I wouldn’t want to spend much capital on it,” said City Councilman Todd Turner (At Large). “I think they’re looking for a more central location in the county. I don’t think that Bowie would be what they’re looking at.”