By Maryland Senator Roy Dyson
Every year, the Southern Maryland hospitals - St. Marys, Calvert Memorial and Civista - host a legislative reception for the Southern Maryland Delegation in anticipation of the next legislative Session. I was unable to attend this event this year because I am the General Assemblys lone representative to the State Water Quality Advisory Committee which had its meeting at the same day and time in Baltimore.
However, I reviewed a slew of materials that were handed to my assistant after the meeting and I can say I am very proud of the work all the hospitals are doing for the constituents I am privileged to represent in the Maryland General Assembly. Each hospital has an outstanding CEO/President and I am pleased to have a good working relationship with them.
There are a lot of exciting additions to each hospital, which will make our communities in Southern Maryland better, safer and healthier.
At St. Marys Hospital, they are undertaking a major renovation at the St. Marys Hospital Behavioral Health Unit. The department, which sees more than 600 patients each year, was scheduled to be started in August. The focus of this renovation is on increasing patient safety and comfort. We want to ensure that that our patients and their visitors have a positive experience and comfort. According to the hospital, the Behavioral Health Unit is the only facility to provide intensive day treatment six days a week.
I was pleased to help out with this project by introducing a bond bill in the 2006 General Assembly Session for this project.
Calvert Memorial Hospital is also expanding its facility making an already great hospital even better. A lot of this expansion was able to come about because of a bond bill I was able to get through the 2005 General Assembly Session.
Civista has good news to report as well. They are currently working on their new state-of-the art emergency department which will improve customer care, waiting time and safety. Senator Thomas Mac Middleton (D-Charles) and I put in a bond bill in 2005 to help make this expansion possible.
The cooperation between the three hospital presidents is tremendous and it is extremely important. Earlier this summer, the three hospitals partnered with the Chesapeake Potomac Regional Cancer Center, which is located in Charlotte Hall. This center is a joint effort between CMH, Civista and St. Marys, which make up the Chesapeake Potomac Health Care Alliance. Calvert Memorial Hospitals President Jim Xinis called the opening a major milestone in cancer care for Southern Maryland.
These are exciting times for our hospitals, but more importantly, the patients they serve. These new additions will bring important, life-saving amenities to already outstanding institutions.
The Maryland Hospital Associations 2007 Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy Priorities were also unveiled.
Providing greater access to affordable care; ensure adequate physician availability; strengthening Marylands mental health care systems; eliminate Medicaid Day limits; support initiatives for appropriate emergency room use; advance patient safety/infection reporting; promote hospital accountability and transparency; reduce health care workforce shortages; assure appropriate access to care within the CommunityChoice program; maintain regulatory cost containment mechanisms; enhance state assistance for hospital capital projects.
With the growth we are experiencing in Southern Maryland, we will be relying on our local hospitals more since it takes us longer and longer to get to metropolitan hospitals. I am very pleased to be working with each of the hospitals in my district to achieve this goal.