We believe our community has won the effort to save the Chestertown hospital. While we are in a “trust but verify” mode, we are enormously encouraged by Shore Regional Health’s appointment of two highly qualified professionals to lead the hospital through a transformation that officially begins July 1.
Shore Health President/CEO Ken Kozel has been negotiating with Maryland officials since early 2020, developing a financial plan for Shore to operate our hospital as the state’s first “Maryland Rural Hospital.” This means the hospital will be re-designed to care for the specific health and wellness needs of our population. The hospital will be small, of course, and some patients will need care that Chestertown won’t ever provide. But we will have inpatient beds and surgery, and access to in-person or telehealth appointments with a wider range of specialists than ever before, some available in the hospital’s new “Aging and Wellness Center of Excellence.”
The appointment of Dennis Welsh as Vice President for Rural Health Transformation and Executive Director of Shore Medical Center at Chestertown is wonderful news! Mr. Welsh has 16 years of top leadership experience (including president, CEO and COO) at two rural hospitals in Maine. And Lara Wilson, who becomes Director of Rural Health Care Transformation next month, has been Executive Director of the Maryland Rural Health Association in Centreville for the past six years.
We think these hires signal that Shore is committed to creating the well-designed, staffed and equipped hospital we need.
The Save the Hospital leadership team,
Gerard O’Connor, MD; Wayne Benjamin, MD; Michael Peimer, MD; Susan Ross, MD; Ona Kareiva, MD; Deborah Mizeur, Muriel Cole, Nancy Carter, Zane Carter, Charles Lerner, Kay MacIntosh, Margie Elsberg