Construction taking place at the Howard County General Hospital in 2018.
Construction taking place at the Howard County General Hospital in 2018. (Phil Grout/for Baltimore Sun Med / 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 with 245 licensed beds. 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 project to add 48,000 square feet with a two-story addition adjacent to the emergency room.


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.

A number of warriors to embrace yoga as a therapeutic tool to treat pain and stress. At Fort Meade, the central Maryland U.S. Army base home to 14,500 military personnel, “yoga is very well respected and often advocated,” says Col. Beverly Maliner, chief of preventive medicine services.

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 nearly $50 million in community programs since 1998, recently awarding almost $2 million.


Howard County General Hospital (HCGH), a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine, offers an array of health-related classes, programs and services.

Howard County Superintendent Michael Martirano introduced a nearly $1 billion operating budget proposal Tuesday night, calling it his “road map” for the next four years and also announced the looming health care fund deficit has shrunk to $27 million.

The Breast Center at HCGH: The only hospital-based program for breast cancer treatment in Howard County, this facility offers comprehensive breast services, including diagnostics, 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. 410-997-0400.

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 77 Howard County school opened its doors to nearly 58,000 students for the first day of school, Sept. 4. For the 2018-2019 school year, there is a new elementary school, new academic programs, including Jumpstart, and a focus on addressing mental health for both staff and students.

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. 443-997-2663.

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


78,049 patients evaluated in the emergency department in 2018


52,063 outpatients served in 2018

21,417 patients admitted or observed in 2018

10,693 surgeries performed in 2018

3,369 babies born in 2018

1000-plus physicians and allied health professionals

Nearly 100 medical specialties and subspecialties represented

Source: Howard County General Hospital


The Howard County Health Department, which delivers state-funded and federally funded services, conducts clinics for immunization, child health, prenatal care and family planning in Columbia. Nutrition education through the Women, Infants and Children program is offered at Columbia and North Laurel health centers.

Derek and Shanta Robertson, who have two sons with sickle cell anemia, have started a support group for families like themselves who have children with the disease.

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.

To care for those residents and their increasingly complex health needs, the hospital is looking to join forces in a new way with the county government. For the first time this year the hospital sought county funding for its operational budget.

Athelas Institute (410-964-1241 or athelasinstitute.org) in Columbia provides vocational training, along with 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 (443-576-9868 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 nonprofit 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 School (410-465-1352 or linwoodcenter.org) in Ellicott City offers day care, education and therapy for children with emotional disorders, especially autism.

Residents will soon have access to daily drug abuse screenings and treatment referrals thanks to a new partnership between Grassroots Crisis Intervention and the Howard County Health Department, the county’s latest initiative to fight the opioid epidemic.

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), along with Lorien Columbia Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (410-531-5300 or lorienhealth.com), Lorien Elkridge (410-579-2626) and Lorien Encore Ellicott City (410-461-7070) offer care for patients who require skilled nursing services.

Kaiser Permanente Columbia Gateway Medical Center (410-309-4600 or healthy.kaiserpermanente.org) offers primary care services in pediatrics, family practice, internal medicine and OBGYN, 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 24-hour hotline (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, is certified as a suicide prevention service and offers assistance to those struggling with substance abuse.

Hours after the county had its 216th reported overdose incident of the year, County Executive Allan Kittleman announced a partnership on Tuesday between Howard and its health insurer Aetna, through which the health care provider will donate more than 400 Naloxone kits to the county.

HopeWorks Howard County (410-997-0304 or wearehopeworks.org) operates a 24-hour hotline (410-997-2272); free counseling for survivors of sexual, domestic and dating violence; and child sexual abuse prevention training.

Family and Children’s Services of Howard County (410-997-3557 or fcsmd.org) offers individual and family 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



Foreign-born Information & Referral Network



The Listening Place/Howard County Child Advocacy Center



Howard County Special Olympics



Howard County Unsweetened



National Alliance on Mental Illness of Howard County



National Family Resiliency Center



Visiting Nurses Association of Maryland



In this year’s readers’ poll, more than 17,000 voters selected their favorite people, places and organizations across Howard County.

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