Anne Arundel Medical Center and the Doctors Community Health System announced plans to create a new regional health care system that will cover Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties.
In a statement released Monday, the two hospitals systems said they are working toward a definitive agreement — pending completion of a due diligence process and standard regulatory approval.
The hospitals are expected to complete a financial and fiscal review over the next 30 days and unveil a new name for the combined health system this summer.
Anne Arundel Medical Center, with revenue of over $543 million in 2017, is a regional health system with an Annapolis campus and outpatient facilities in Bowie, Kent Island, Odenton, Pasadena and Waugh Chapel. The Doctors Community Health System is a network of medical and surgical services and had a revenue of over $222 million in 2017 with 10 locations for centers of care.
Anne Arundel Medical Center plans to invest $138 million over five years in the existing Doctors Community Health System campus and its IT infrastructure, expand inpatient and outpatient services, and launch programs that support the Prince George’s County Community Health Needs Assessment.
The hospitals offered no details on the nature of the deal, only calling it a partnership.
The Maryland Health Care Commission will review the agreement once it is finalized. If it is defined as an acquisition, the hospitals would only need to submit a notice.
If it is a merger, the hospitals must undergo a more extensive process under an exemption from certificate need of review. This includes outlining the name of the facility, the purpose of the merge, notice to elected officials and public hearings.
Officials at AAMC declined to comment on the announcement but released a statement from the leaders of both partners.
“We determined that our counties share more than just a border, and we want to make the region in which we operate healthier as a whole,” said Victoria Bayless, president and CEO of AAMC. “Together, we believe that we can bring better care to the residents of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.”
County Executive Steuart Pittman talked with Bayless before the announcement Monday. He called it a step in the right direction, despite not knowing details.
“What I was told was that the current operations will continue as they are and of course they will be overseeing the hospital that they are acquiring,” Pittman said. “I don’t see any negative impacts and I think this is a positive step for them, and a positive step for the county.”
The announcement comes a month after Anne Arundel Medical Center began planning for a cardiac surgery unit after the University of Maryland Capital Region Health System dropped a legal appeal.
The Capital Region Health System argued that a cardiac surgery center at Anne Arundel Medical Center pull away heart program patients at Prince George’s Hospital Center from surrounding counties and the Eastern Shore.
AAMC plans to open the cardiac center in spring 2020 and it would begin immediately recruiting key clinical leadership for the program.
The Doctors Community Health System has been recognized for its work providing care heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the release.
With the creation of a potential new regional health system, the University of Maryland Capital Medical Center will “continue to focus on providing high-quality care to the communities” that the center serves, said Jania Matthews, senior director of media relations.
In addition, University of Maryland Capital Region Health will open a new hospital in April 2021 in Largo, Maryland, and expand outpatient services and locations, according to Matthews.
“Having choices when seeking healthcare is important so patients can receive the care they need, when and where they need it,” Matthews said.
Last year, Doctors Community Health Systems began looking for a partner to help strengthen its existing service and to continue to meet the needs of its patients and the Prince George’s County community.
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Philip Down, CEO of the Lanham-based health system, said it chose Anne Arundel Medical Center because it shares values of community service and quality care.
The partnership and the new hospital from Capital Region will allow residents in Prince George’s County more options without having to leave to find the right health services, said John Erzen II, deputy chief of staff for Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.
“When you look at the county you will see people have left for their healthcare needs,” Erzen said. “This will go a long way when it comes to bringing healthcare options that this county deserves, right in our backyards.”
According to AAMC, the partnership will improve access and population health and also expand services.
“We will launch much-needed programs that support the Prince George’s County Community Health Needs Assessment, as well as expand access to care throughout the region,” according to a press statement.