In a world trying to keep its balance during a global pandemic, health issues are paramount, whether internationally, statewide, or at a community level. Even aside from the pandemic, health needs for rural areas have become high priorities for adaptation requiring innovative answers to serve their geographically challenging population.
After six years of negotiations with University of Maryland Medical System of Chestertown and Maryland State lawmakers—and spurred on by the activist group “Save Our Hospital”— the long-held fear that the hospital would be downgraded to an outpatient care center would be dispelled with a new designation as the State’s first Maryland Rural Hospital, a pioneering model for delivering healthcare to the region.
This designation puts the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at the forefront of creating new strategies to serve Kent and upper Queen Anne’s Counties and on track to provide specialized care for an aging population with its additional designation as an Age-Friendly Health System and a dedicated Aging and Wellness Center of Excellence.
To meet this standard of a new model, UM Shore Medical Center will be adding “a new emergency medicine physician with geriatric emergency care certification, expertise that is essential to the hospital’s emergency services earning special designation as a Geriatric Emergency Department (GED).”
Additionally, a new focus on “population health” via a network of outreach programs will employ prevention and healthcare strategies to better serve our rural area. This approach will be based on a close study of risk factors and health characteristics of the region.
With the advent of telemedicine, the Medical Center will also provide a wider range of specialized care for county residents along with a focus on greater access to healthcare through improved transportation.
The Spy recently met with Dennis Welsh, Vice President, Rural Health Care Transformation and Executive Director, UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, to talk about the multi-tiered transformation of the hospital and steps going forward.
This video is approximately 12 minutes in length.