Recommended Decision Issued on Washington Adventist Hospital Request to Move
The Recommended Decision of Maryland Health Care Commissioner Frances B. Phillips was issued late on November 18, 2015. The recommendation is to approve, with five conditions, the Certificate of Need request for Washington Adventist Hospital to move most of its operations to a new location in the White Oak area of Montgomery County.
Maryland Health Care Commission Press Release
The first two approval conditions of the Recommended Decision affect Takoma Park. They are:
- “Adventist HealthCare, Inc. must open an urgent care center on its Takoma Park campus coinciding with its closure of general hospital operations on that campus. The urgent care center must be open every day of the year, and be open 24 hours a day. Adventist HealthCare, Inc. may not eliminate this urgent care center or reduce its hours of operation without the approval of the Maryland Health Care Commission.”
- “In the fourth year of operation of a replacement Washington Adventist Hospital, Adventist HealthCare, Inc. shall provide a report to the Maryland Health Care Commission on the operation of the specialty hospital for psychiatric services in Takoma Park. This report must review patient intake and transport issues, coordination of care for psychiatric patients between the White Oak and Takoma Park campuses, and the specific financial performance of the special hospital, exclusive of the operation of Adventist Behavioral Health and Wellness overall.”
Conditions three through five of the approval relate to the shell space in the new hospital building and how that space may not be developed or used in financial computations without the approval of the Maryland Health Care Commission.
Recommended Decision & Schedule of Action
The Recommended Decision will go before the full Maryland Health Care Commission on December 17, 2015 for a final decision.
The schedule of action on the Recommended Decision:
- Submissions of exceptions to the Recommended Decision are due by noon, December 2, 2015.
- Submissions of responses to the exception submissions are due by 4:30 pm, December 10, 2015.
- Exceptions Hearing before the Commission is at 1 pm on December 17, 2015.
Staff is reviewing the recommendation and will be discussing it with the Takoma Park City Council in Closed Session on Monday, November 23. We may have a formal comment at a later time.
The Takoma Park Campus
In the Certificate of Need application, Adventist HealthCare, Inc. stated its intention to have the following health care services on the Takoma Park campus: an urgent care facility in the location of the current Emergency Department, a special psychiatric hospital (a stand-alone version of the current Behavioral Health in-patient unit of the hospital), a rehabilitation hospital (currently located within Washington Adventist Hospital), and on-campus laboratory and radiology services to support those units. A Federally Qualified Health Center on the campus will remain and be expanded. Washington Adventist University intends on leasing 50,000 square feet of hospital building space for its use.
The Takoma Park campus is on Carroll Avenue in the center of the City of Takoma Park, along Sligo Creek Stream Valley Park. The zoning of the site is R-60 Single-family Residential. While the site is limiting for a large hospital facility, it has proved to be an excellent location for community health services. There may be a desire to have other uses on the site, such as educational, recreational, and/or neighborhood commercial uses. How zoning would be handled for any additional desired uses is yet to be determined. The City will be conferring with hospital and Montgomery County and State officials on next steps related to the Takoma Park campus.
The relocation of Washington Adventist Hospital’s main hospital out of the City was expected, but is a disappointment to the City of Takoma Park. Washington Adventist Hospital has been an integral part of the history and fabric of Takoma Park. Over the last year, the City Council, Staff, and residents have worked diligently to ensure that throughout the Certificate of Need process the needs of Takoma Park residents have been front and center.
As a result of our hard work and persistence, the top condition of the Commissioner’s recommended approval is the maintenance of an urgent care facility at the Takoma Park campus, to be operated every day, 24 hours per day, beginning as soon as the hospital move takes place. This will ensure that there is no gap in care for the primary care service that our community needs. Clearly, the Commissioner recognized the need for these services based on the information the City presented.
The City and community has advocated that a Freestanding Medical Facility (stand-alone emergency department) be located on the Takoma Park campus. State regulations related to Freestanding Medical Facilities are in development. Washington Adventist Hospital has pledged to seriously consider requesting authorization to establish such a facility, if such a facility is financially feasible.
Over the past several years, City Councilmembers and the City Manager have formed close working relationships with the former and current President of Washington Adventist Hospital. Both the City and the Hospital want to see the Takoma Park campus retain a robust array of health care services in an attractive setting. The City has been assured that the dialog and collaboration will continue.
Additional Information & Press Inquiries
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