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Time to talk seriously [Editorial]

The Aegis

Last week’s decision by the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health to withdraw its latest site plan for a proposed new medical center and neighboring 50-bed psychiatric hospital in Havre de Grace’s Bulle Rock community raises obvious concerns, not the least being where does this or any new facilities project involving the Harford based nonprofit go from here?

Both sides said in statements they are committed to working together for the good of citizens of Havre de Grace and Harford County.

But what is the best interest of one may not be the best interest of the other, or for all, and that appears to be at the heart of where the so-called Vision 2020 project for Havre de Grace is headed.

City officials say they want Upper Chesapeake to give due consideration to eventually expanding the proposed medical center — an emergency room with ambulatory care/outpatient services – into a full service hospital, to make up for Upper Chesapeake’s plan to close Harford Memorial Hospital in the city’s downtown.

While Upper Chesapeake officials have been unwilling to make such a commitment, they haven’t entirely closed the door, either.

Neither side has commented further on what now appears to be a standoff. Meanwhile, time is ticking away on Upper Chesapeake’s goal to get its $118 project online by the end of 2020.

The danger is the project gets scrubbed, Harford Memorial closes anyway, and the southeastern side of Harford County is left with diminished health care services, which is what Havre de Grace officials have said they are trying to guard against.

This is no time for posturing or threats. Upper Chesapeake and Havre de Grace need to sit down and talk this out, with Harford County government also represented. A plan that benefits everyone involved is needed, but we’re not sure such a plan exists yet.

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