The University of Maryland Shore Medical campus at Chestertown is going through a dramatic transformation and plans to become a state and national model for rural health care.
UM Shore Regional Health President and CEO Ken Kozel offered an hour-long slide show, “Reimagining Eastern Shore Health Care,” to the Chestertown Town Council during Monday 19th session.
“Some of the services that we will offer as part of the new model hospital-based care are emergency care; surgical services; primary care; and specialists unique services for the aging and the elderly in our population; ways that we can care for patients at home; and transportation solutions that will enhance our ability to access these services, and again, do it in a way that’s going to promote good communication back and forth from our community to our health care system, Kozel says.
Initiated by July 1, the Maryland Rural Hospital, modeled after the Critical Access Hospital designation used nationally, will be licensed for up to 25 beds with an average of up to 4-day stays for patients with general conditions along with a state-of-the-art 24/7 emergency department and diagnostic service.
A primary focus on Kent County’s aging demographic will become central to the new hospital’s mission. A Geriatric Medicine provider will be brought in, and a Geriatric Emergency Medicine Stabilization and Transport Team will be established. In-person telehealth capabilities for access to specialists’ care will also be included.
The Aging & Wellness Center of Excellence of primary care, behavioral health, and dental services will be a collaboration between Shore Regional Health and Choptank Community Health.
“Choptank Community Health is going to be our collaborator for providing primary care, behavioral health, and dental services in Chestertown and throughout Kent County. Choptank exists today in the mid-shore region and has been established for over 40 years in the mid-shore. They have locations in Caroline Dorchester and Talbot counties, and they have a staff of more than 200 employees as part of Choptank Health. They serve over 30,000 patients in our community annually. They are an important provider, and collaboration with them will help meet these essential needs of primary care, behavioral health, and dental services.
Additionally, Mobile Wellness Teams, similar to those provided by Queen Anne’s Emergency Medical Services, will be added to the hospital’s plan. Noting that Kent County EMS is volunteer-based, Shore Regional Health will work with Kent County Health Department to hire and train additional team members to promote health and wellness at home, including in-home telehealth visits, home safety inspections, medication management, chronic disease management.
Another key addition will be a Geriatrician practice based in Chestertown and specializing in pulmonology, cardiology, urology, continence/pelvic health, GYN, ENT, Diabetes/Endocrinology, home sleep studies, and nephrology. Collaboration with Upper Shore Aging will assist with food insecurity, prediabetes screening, hypertension, and medication management.
Commissioning a consulting agency to study transportation needs in Kent County, the enhanced hospital also plans to address the long-sought solutions to improve medical and non-medical transportation in the region by working with community partners to define potential funding sources to improve the service.
By July 1, many of these services will be in place, with additional services added this Fall.
For a complete understanding of the Mr. Kozel’s presentation, the Spy is offering access to the core of Mr. Kozel’s slide narrative.
While the video runs for approximately 22 minutes, we feel it is important to offer our readers details of these extensive changes to the hospital. For years, questions about the future of the hospital have nagged County residents. Quite simply, Shore Health has delivered a premium healthcare model that will serve all well into the future.
This video is approximately 26 minutes in length.
Letters to Editor
Gretchen F Stroh says
We so desperately need this asap. We need specialist drs and surgeons. And geriatric specialists. I hope they can follow through. I don’t understand how a healthcare system as big as Univ. MD can’t bring drs to Kent Co. They have been advertising for over a year for doctors. Traveling to Easton or Annapolis for services is tiring.
Paula Reeder says
Hats off and many heartfelt thanks to the community members who fought long and hard for this vision to be realized! Thank you all for your commitment and perserverance.
Gerard S OConnor,MD FACS says
Thanks Paula, It all started with community meeting(rally) at Firehouse November 6 years ago.
Ann Miller says
As someone with aging parents, I welcome this.
As someone with children looking to get married and maybe have a young family in the area, I wonder why we aren’t also thinking of that demographic? One of our two adult children has already moved out of the area due to lack of career options, and the other is looking to buy his first house and get married. They’ve decided to look in Delaware, they can have a rural atmosphere (which they value) and still be nearer to services.