North Arundel General Hospital will be getting some competition soon as Harbor Hospital moves into Pasadena, giving people a health care choice in central county.
The Baltimore hospital center has won approval from its board of directors to open offices in the Festival Plaza off Ritchie Highway Pasadena, perhaps as soon as February. The center will be named Harbor Health Park.
"This is wonderful," said Nancy Riegel, Harbor's director for suburban ambulatory services. "We're looking at it as a positive opportunity to enhance women's care, surgical care, [and] primary care in the area."
North Arundel officials are not overly concerned about the new branch, which will be about 100 yards away from North Arundel's night-time pediatric center in Festival Plaza.
"North Arundel's always had its strongest base in Glen Burnie and Pasadena," said Kevin Murnane, hospital spokesman. "Those are the two zip codes we've always attracted. We hope that now that we're in our 30th year here, patients will keep in mind what has been the local fixture for the past 30 years."
Louise Dooley Hoffman, Harbor's administrator for women's and children's services, said the competition will be a healthy addition to the area.
"People have become very smart about their health care," she said. "They're very educated."
The new 44,000-square-foot ambulatory center will open next to the Ames store in the shopping center. Renovation will cost about $2.5 million.
The hospital has spent three years holding focus groups with patients from the Pasadena area to learn their medical needs, said Ms. Riegel.
"There was a great deal of interest in having an array of services in one particular setting," she said. "The one-stop-shopping concept is what everyone's talking about."
Harbor Health Park will have a women's health center, a pharmacy and an imaging laboratory. The women's center will offer primary care, fetal and maternal medicine and other services. Those services were a priority in many of the focus groups and were welcomed when a female hospital official formally announced Harbor's plans.
"The women just applauded as she finished the list," Ms. Hoffman said. "I thought, 'We got it right.' "
Primary care for adults and children, same-day surgery, and alternative medical practices, such as massage therapy and acupuncture, will be phased-in during a six-month period.
A fitness company will lease about 15,000-square-feet of the building for a gym that will be open to patients and the public.
"All of our preventive medicine programs focus on nutrition and exercise," Ms. Hoffman said. "It's a nice marriage between health-care services and physical fitness."
About 25 workers, including more than 10 physicians and seven registered nurses, will work at the center.
Ms. Hoffman said the hospital's decision to put a center in Pasadena was rather easy when officials realized that of the 2,000 babies delivered annually at Harbor, about 45 percent had mothers from the Pasadena area.
"North Arundel doesn't do deliveries. Many of the women who are familiar with us are in that area," Ms. Hoffman said.