Adventist HealthCare Loses Maryland Hospital Expansion Bid
State panel backs rival for Montgomery County site; AHC may appeal
BY MARK A. KELLNER, News Editor
Plans for an 86-bed hospital in the upper reaches of Maryland’s Montgomery County, home to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, were thwarted January 20, 2011 when the Maryland Health Care Commission voted to endorse a rival proposal for another hospital group’s planned construction.
In a statement, William G. Robertson, Adventist HealthCare president, said the organization was “deeply disappointed” by the move.
“We believe that the state Certificate of Need process did not adequately consider relevant community input, nor did it take into account the importance of working with the community and county to ensure a plan that has all land, traffic and environmental approvals. We will remain actively engaged on these issues as the Holy Cross project begins the lengthy process of seeking approvals from Montgomery County,” Robertson said in the statement.
“Further, we believe the [Maryland Health Care] Commission did not include vital information in the official record for this case and portions of its decision are inconsistent with the [Maryland] State Health Plan. Adventist HealthCare will evaluate our appeal options over the next several weeks and decide the best course of action,” he added.
The Adventist HealthCare facility would have been along Interstate 270 in Clarksburg, Maryland, 12.5 miles north of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville while south of Frederick Hospital in Frederick, Maryland. Media reports indicate the Clarksburg hospital would have been on a site including a medical office complex and a nursing home.
By contrast, the winning bid, by Holy Cross Hospital, part of Michigan-based Trinity Health, calls for a hospital to be constructed on public land as part of the Montgomery College community college campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland, only 3.8 miles from Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Opponents of the move, including Americans United for Separation of Church and State, decry the placement of a private, religiously owned hospital on public land; others noted the hospital would operate under religious restrictions barring a range of reproductive health services including fertility treatments, birth control and abortion.
Maryiln Moon, commission chairperson, said in her initial opinion on the matter that Holy Cross had a better financial footing for its venture, which would also provide educational opportunities for Montgomery College students. She wrote that Adventist HealthCare needs to stabilize operations at Washington Adventist Hospital without the “burden” of another project.