Laurel Regional gets approval to begin building

Laurel Regional Hospital has received the official go-ahead to transform the 40-year-old building into a state-of-the-art medical center to serve both Laurel and surrounding communities.

“It’s pretty much all engines go for all of our projects,” said Trudy Hall, interim president of University of Maryland Laurel Regional Hospital.

The Maryland Health Care Commission, a state agency that plans for health system needs, granted the hospital regulatory approval on Sept. 20.The hospital had filed a Request of Certificate of Need Exemption in April, which is required to build, develop, or establish a new health care facility, according to the commission.

In April, the University of Maryland Capital Regional Health invested $50 million to build a 75,000-square-foot medical center on the current hospital’s campus. The investment will fund a brand new 24/7 emergency room, a pharmacy, imaging [x-rays], labs, enhanced outpatient behavioral health programs and services, outpatient surgery and short stay overnight care.

“We are not closing, we are transitioning,” Hall said. “If you come to the emergency room now, you will still come to the [same] emergency room.”

The goal of the new facility, the UM Laurel Medical Center, is to reduce the need for hospitalizations. The center will represent a new model of care where residents are kept healthy in their community to “avoid unnecessary inpatient admissions and emergency rooms visits,” according to University of Maryland Capital Region Health.

Existing inpatient medical and surgical units and the inpatient behavioral health services at the hospital will move to the UM Prince George’s Hospital Center by November.

Some programs will remain at the hospital, including chronic pain management, the lung health program, primary care unit, women’s health and the wound care center.

Construction of the medical center is scheduled to begin in early 2019 and be completed by the spring of 2021.

“The exciting piece is this is only the first step. Once the new state-of-the-art building is built, we can expand more health care programs,” Hall said.

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