Howard County General Hospital in Columbia is the county's only general hospital.
Howard County General Hospital in Columbia is the county's only general hospital. (Jen Rynda / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

As the population of Howard County has grown, so have the health-care resources available to residents.

Howard County General Hospital, the county’s only general hospital, has increased in size dramatically since it opened in 1973, adding space and services for inpatients and outpatients. The hospital’s emergency department provides emergency and urgent care around the clock in a 36-bed adult care unit, with a separate 12-bed pediatric unit. Construction is underway on a $45 million two-year project to add 48,000 square feet to the hospital and 24,000 feet to the emergency department.


In the early 2000s, Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest health maintenance organization, opened a 17,500-square-foot center in Columbia Gateway Park, and Sheppard Pratt at Ellicott City opened as a private hospital specializing in mental health programs for children and adults.

Over the last decade, Kennedy Krieger Institute opened an outpatient clinic in Columbia to provide pediatric behavioral psychology services, while Gilchrist hospice brought a 10-bed inpatient facility to Columbia.


More than a dozen urgent-care facilities provide walk-in treatment.

Resources also are available to residents through Healthy Howard, a public health initiative incorporating schools, restaurants, workplaces, child care facilities, recreation and more.

The Horizon Foundation, an independent philanthropy dedicated to improving the health and wellness of county residents, has invested more than $40 million in community programs since 1998, recently awarding more than $1 million.

And this represents only a portion of the facilities and services in Howard County.



Howard County General Hospital (HCGH) is a not-for-profit medical center in Columbia. A member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, the hospital offers an array of health-related classes, including informational sessions about breast disease, obstetrics, orthopedic conditions and diabetes management.

Among the hospital’s programs and services:

The Breast Center at HCGH: The only hospital-based program for breast cancer treatment in Howard County, this facility offers comprehensive breast services that include diagnostics and biopsies and a full range of treatment options provided by Johns Hopkins and HCGH specialists. 410-884-4744.

Cardiovascular services: The hospital’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories (410-740-7900) offer services including electrophysiology, minimally invasive vascular procedures, pain management and primary angioplasty treatment, in which patients experiencing certain types of heart attacks can receive a life-saving angioplasty procedure to open their clogged arteries shortly after arriving in the emergency department. The Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Program (443-718-3000) helps patients recover from cardiac events and improve their overall health.

The Center for Maternal Fetal Medicine: Johns Hopkins board-certified maternal fetal specialists offer consultative services for medical complications of pregnancy, a comprehensive diabetes-in-pregnancy program, genetic counselors, a first-trimester screening program, a fetal assessment center and 4-D imaging to study fetal development and growth. 410-740-7903.

From the time the readers’ poll launches in August to the issue’s delivery in December, businesses, nonprofits and readers alike are abuzz in anticipation of who might take home the coveted Best of Howard County title.

Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center: The center connects cancer patients, families and caregivers with resources including counseling, stress and symptom management care planning, system navigation, educational materials and aesthetic services. 410-740-5858.

The Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep: The sleep center, run by Johns Hopkins physicians, provides diagnosis and treatment for a range of sleep disorders. 800-937-5337.

Orthopedic surgery: The hospital has a range of orthopedic specialists who care for everything from routine injuries to total joint replacement surgery. Physical therapists in the Bolduc Family Outpatient Center help patients get back on their feet quickly.

Call 410-740-7890 or visit hcgh.org for more information on hospital services.


77,636 patients evaluated in the emergency department in 2017

66,826 outpatients served in 2017

24,496 patients admitted or observed in 2017

12,164 surgeries performed in 2017

3,537 babies born in 2017

981 physicians and allied health professionals

90-plus medical specialties and subspecialties represented

Source: Howard County General Hospital

Inspired by the NBC television series “American Ninja Warrior,” where contestants tackle challenging obstacles, Howard County kids are climbing, jumping and swinging at NinjaBe in Columbia and the Endurance Factory in Savage.


The Howard County Health Department, which delivers state and federally funded services, conducts clinics for immunization, child health, prenatal care and family planning at sites in Columbia and Laurel.

Some services, such as venereal disease screening and treatment programs, are free and available to any local resident. For other services, preference is given to low-income residents in need of medical assistance. Fees are based on the ability to pay.

The health department also participates in a program to screen for breast and cervical cancer in women 40 and older with no medical insurance, or whose insurance fails to cover yearly mammograms.

Additional services for older residents include counseling and home visits through the Office on Aging.

For more information on services, call 410-313-6300 or visit howardcountymd.gov/departments.


A number of health and wellness businesses and organizations call Howard County home:

Maryland University of Integrative Health, (410-888-9048 or muih.edu) in North Laurel is a private nonprofit graduate school of Eastern and integrative medicine. The school offers outpatient care along with programs including acupuncture, herbal medicine, yoga therapy and health coaching.

Athelas Institute (410-964-1241 or athelasinstitute.org) in Columbia provides vocational training and educational, rehabilitative and residential support for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Humanim (410-381-7171 or humanim.com) is a not-for-profit organization with two locations in Columbia, serving people with disabilities through human services, including mental health services, vocational services, neuro-rehabilitation and services for the deaf.

Central Maryland Radiation Oncology (443-546-1300 or cmradonc.org) is a partnership of Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland offering radiation oncology services to patients in the Medical Pavilion adjacent to Howard County General.

Gilchrist Hospice Care (888-823-8880 or gilchristhospice.org) is a not-for-profit providing hospice care and services throughout Central Maryland in private homes, retirement communities, assisted living or nursing facilities, and an inpatient hospice unit in Columbia.


Kennedy Krieger Institute (443-923-9400 or kennedykrieger.org) offers pediatric behavioral psychology services in two outpatient clinics in Columbia for children ages 2 to 18. The clinic helps with sleep difficulties, tantrums and parent-child interaction for typically developing children as well as for those with developmental delays and disabilities.


Linwood Center (410-465-1352 or linwoodcenter.org) in Ellicott City offers day care, education and therapy for children with emotional disorders, especially autism.

Loyola Clinical Center for Speech-Language Pathology Services (410-617-1200 or loyola.edu/department/clinical-centers) offers hearing, speech and language diagnosis and therapy in Columbia.

The MultiService Center (410-313-0220 or howardcountymd.gov) in North Laurel provides a wide range of crisis and support services such as family, financial literacy and immigration counseling, social services and support groups.

The Therapeutic & Recreational Riding Center (410-489-5100 or trrcmd.org) in Glenwood provides physical and occupational therapy on horseback to treat a wide range of disabilities.

Sheppard Pratt at Ellicott City (443-364-5500 or sheppardpratt.org), a private nonprofit health system, offers mental health care for adults, adolescents and people with co-occurring disorders.

Ellicott City Health Care Center (410-461-7577 or communicarehealth.com) and Lorien Columbia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (410-531-5300 or lorienhealth.com) offer care for patients who require skilled nursing services.

Kaiser Permanente’s Columbia Gateway Medical Center (410-309-4600 or healthy.kaiserpermanente.org) offers primary care services in pediatrics, family practice, internal medicine and OB-GYN, along with and specialty services in surgery, dermatology and orthopedics. Other services include a laboratory, a pharmacy, nutritional counseling and allergy shots.


Local counseling and support groups abound in Howard County. Among them:

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center (410-531-6006 or grassrootscrisis.org) in Columbia operates a hot line (410-531-6677) and drop-in counseling center staffed by trained volunteers. The agency is also part of the statewide youth crisis call-in counseling network and is certified as a suicide prevention service.

HopeWorks Howard County (410-997-0304 or wearehopeworks.org) operates a hotline (410-997-2272) and free counseling for survivors of sexual, domestic and dating violence.

Family and Children’s Services of Howard County (410-997-3557 or fcsmd.org) offers counseling services with sliding-scale fees in Columbia and North Laurel.

Gilchrist Hospice Care (888-823-8880 or gilchristcares.org) offers support groups, grief counseling and workshops to hospice care family members and communities following the death of a loved one.


Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Maryland Chapter

Bereaved Parents, Baltimore Metropolitan Area Chapter


Columbia Pregnancy Center


FIRN (Foreign-born Information & Referral Network)


Howard County Child Advocacy Center


Howard County Special Olympics


Howard County Unsweetened


Laurel Regional Hospital


National Alliance on Mental Illness of Howard County


National Family Resiliency Center


Visiting Nurses Association of Maryland


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