UM Capital Region Health appeals decision on AAMC cardiac center

Chase Cook

University of Maryland Capital Region Health, the parent organization of a Prince George's County Hospital, has appealed the recent Circuit Court decision allowing a cardiac surgery center at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

The appeal is another turn in the years-long odyssey of AAMC's application to open the cardiac care facility, which was approved by the Maryland Health Care Commission. The Circuit Court upheld that decision last month.

Baltimore Washington Medical Center, which had also opposed AAMC's application and took part in the first round of the legal challenge, has decided not to join the appeal.

In a release Wednesday afternoon, University of Maryland Capital Health said it is “concerned that the commission and the Circuit Court failed to appropriately consider the adverse impact that a new cardiac surgery program at AAMC will have on the existing cardiac surgery program at UM Prince George’s Hospital Center at this critical juncture in its evolution as it rebuilds under the leadership of the University of Maryland Division of Cardiac Surgery.”

Prince George’s Hospital Center’s new hospital in Largo is scheduled to open in 2021.

The appeal will go before the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the second-highest court in the state. The appeal had to be filed within 30 days of the Circuit Court decision.

In its release Wednesday evening, BWMC, which had also applied to offer cardiac surgery, reiterated its belief that it would have been a better choice. “However,” the release from the Glen Burnie hospital continued, “we have decided that is in the best interest of UM BWMC not to appeal this decision. We are proud of our high-quality cardiac care program and we will continue to develop those services to meet the needs of our community.”

A Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge ruled last month in favor of AAMC’s bid for a cardiac surgery center.

After the commission gave AAMC the go-ahead, BWMC and Dimensions Healthcare System took the case to court. The University of Maryland Medical System took ownership of Dimensions, which became University of Maryland Capital Region Health.

Anne Arundel Medical Center officials cheered the judge’s decision in May but declined further interview requests. The hospital issued a statement Wednesday night saying there is no legal basis for an appeal.

“The delays to date have already cost the state of Maryland millions of dollars,” the statement reads. “Every day that goes by, real lives are impacted.”

County Executive Steve Schuh sided with AAMC’s push for the cardiac center. He wrote a letter to Karen Olscamp, CEO of the Glen Burnie hospital, in which he said the legal challenge “threatened to undermine Anne Arundel County’s chances of establishing a much-needed cardiac car program.”

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