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UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Aberdeen construction on track despite supply chain, COVID woes

Despite widespread issues with the global supply chain and the COVID-19 pandemic, construction of the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Aberdeen remains on schedule. Two clinics at the location have already begun seeing patients.

The ambulatory care center is slated to open in April and the hospital will be operational by summer 2023, according to Mark Shaver, senior vice president of Strategy, Physician Services and Business Development for University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. Construction began in November 2020. The total cost of the project is about $120 million, according to a University of Maryland Medical System release.

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The new facilities will fill in the gaps left by the outdated Harford Hospital, Shaver said.

His team also looked to the Harford County Community Health Needs Assessment – a July report on county residents’ health that lists the top five areas of concern – when deciding which services should be offered by the new Aberdeen location.

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Two projects are in the works right now: a 93,000-square-foot ambulatory care center – which architects with Erdman, a health care facility-focused firm, are redesigning and rebuilding – and a medical facility that will house a behavioral health facility, an acute care hospital, and a free-standing emergency department with observational beds.

Last month, the first two clinics within the ambulatory care center began seeing patients. The hematology-oncology clinic and its chemotherapy infusion center opened on Nov. 1. The endocrinology clinic — which sees patients living with diabetes or other metabolic disorders — began seeing patients on Nov. 22.

“The feedback from the patients has been incredibly positive,” Shaver said. “They love the accessibility of the site from I-95; it’s very accessible and has easy parking. And, most importantly, they’ve been delighted by the amazing care that our physicians and nurses have been providing.”

Cardiology, orthopedic and primary care clinics at the site will open early next year. Nuclear stress tests and echocardiograms will be offered by cardiology, and X-ray and MRI imaging services will be provided by the orthopedics clinic. Full-service radiology, CT, MRI and mammography services will be offered in the future.

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Ultimately, the campus will house facilities and offer services currently operated out of Harford Hospital. Shaver said the old Harford Hospital is not well-equipped to offer state-of-the-art care nor house much of the modern technology used in health care.

But, there will be no lapse in care offered as the transition will take place gradually over an extended period of time, Martha D. Mallonee, the Director, Marketing & Communications for University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health said.

Shaver gives a great deal of credit to the crew with Erdman for remaining on schedule with construction.

“They’ve anticipated a lot of the challenges with supply chains and other needs,” Shaver said.

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