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Why the Vision 2020 plan is best for health care in Havre de Grace and the region [Letter]

The Aegis

Editor:

Over the course of my 40-year career with Lorien Health Services, I have learned that (1) change is inevitable, and (2) change often makes folks a little uncomfortable. For those of us who earn our livings being focused on the ever-evolving health care system, the need for change has never been more apparent.

Until now, we have had a highly fragmented, inefficient and breathtakingly expensive “sick care system” based on fee for service for treating episodic spells of illness. Our system actually incentivized volumes of care rather than successful outcomes.

All that is changing under Maryland’s unique new All Payer Model which includes a Global Budgeting System administered by the state’s hospital rate-setting agency, the HSCRC. In essence, hospitals are now being incentivized to do all they can to keep people out of their facilities and leading healthy lives. Now, there’s a change that should make people quite comfortable.

Residents of Harford County, particularly those living in Havre de Grace, are being well-served by University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. Under the leadership of CEO Lyle E. Sheldon, UM UCH has assumed an impressive leadership role articulated in its Vision 2020 plan to transform the region’s health care system and create the healthiest community in Maryland.

A critical part of that important undertaking is the creation of the UM UCMC – Havre de Grace campus, where the vast majority of residents’ health care needs will be met in modern, efficient facilities. This campus near Bulle Rock, only three miles from the site of Harford Memorial Hospital, will include a Freestanding Medical Facility, a Behavioral Health Center and a Medical Office Building with a full array of ancillary and specialized medical services.

We should not fear change when it is driven by a very positive vision. Lorien itself has implemented many changes at its three Harford County facilities to better meet consumer needs in our changing health care environment. Services we are all quite accustomed to now such as Telemedicine, Wellness Programs, Short Stay Rehabilitation, Subacute care, Home Care and Assisted Living are examples of changes in senior care that were not available in yesteryear’s old-style convalescent or “rest” homes. All these new programs and settings were driven by the need for change in response to cultural, demographic and regulatory conditions.

As in every critical service sector, in health care the imperative to lead, follow or get out of the way has never been more important. The UM UCH team understands this and should be commended as it brings its Vision 2020 to reality and delivers coordinated, accessible and sustainable resident-centered care in modern, state-of-the-art facilities aimed at making Havre de Grace the healthiest community in Maryland.

Louis G. Grimmel Sr.

CEO, Lorien Health Services

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