Certificate of need approved for regional medical center in Easton

EASTON — The Maryland Health Care Commission on Jan. 18 approved University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s certificate of need application, i.e. giving the go-ahead to construct a regional medical center in Easton.

Once completed, UM Shore Regional Medical Center in Easton will replace the existing hospital in downtown Easton, which has been described as “outdated and obsolete” with the majority of the hospital constructed between 1955 and 1975.

The current hospital is located in the 200-block of South Washington Street, a residential neighborhood bordering the town’s Historic District that prevents expansion and creates access issues for patients and staff.

The new regional medical center campus will occupy 200-plus acres off Longwoods Road near the intersection of U.S. Route 50, adjacent to the Talbot County Community Center — about 3.5 miles from the current hospital.

This new location is touted for offering greater visibility, and easier and safer access for ambulance and helicopter transport as well as ample parking for patients, staff and visitors.

According to a news release, the timeline is to begin site work this spring with construction to begin in the spring of 2025. Final building occupancy is projected to be in the summer of 2028.

“We were honored to include as part of our CON application multiple letters of support from state, county, city and town officials, health departments, law enforcement, chambers of commerce, educational institutions, safety-net health care providers, and economic development agencies in all five counties of our service area,” Ken Kozel, UM Shore Regional Health president and CEO, said in the news release.

Earlier this week when announcing his proposed fiscal year 2025 budget, Gov. Wes Moore said the spending plan includes funding of $100 million over four years for the construction of the new hospital complex.

The projected cost of UM Shore Regional Medical Center in Easton is north of $500 million.

The proposed project consists of a six-story hospital (325,294 square feet) and adjacent medical office and outpatient services building (60,000 square feet), according to the news release.

The hospital will have 147 licensed beds (all private rooms), which include observation beds; 27 emergency department treatment bays; seven operating rooms; and a ground-level helipad.

Core programs and specialty centers include: acute rehabilitation center; behavioral health; birthing center; cardiac intervention center; critical care/acute care medicine; emergency services; neurosciences; orthopedics; and women’s services.

The University of Maryland Shore Regional Health network, a member organization of the University of Maryland Medical System, serves the Mid-Shore region of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties.

It includes two hospitals, University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown and University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton.

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