Proposed bill could stop Maryland hospital from closing

Two Maryland legislators will propose a bill that would effectively prevent the closure of Cheverly, Md.-based Dimensions Healthcare System's 106-bed Laurel (Md.) Regional Hospital without approval from the Prince George’s County Council., according to a report from patch.com.

Sen. Jim Rosapepe (D-College Park) and state delagate Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D-District 21) will sponsor the bill, which would prohibit "the closure or partial closure of [hospitals in the county that receive state and county funding] without prior approval of the Prince George's County Council sitting as the board of health," according to the report, which cites a news release from 1199SEIU-United Healthcare Workers East, the union that represents workers at the hospital.

Specifically, the bill would require hospitals to give the council 90 days' notice before a closure. It would also require the council to hold a public hearing within five miles of the hospital no later than 30 days after receiving the hospital's notice, and to take all oral and written testimony from the public hearing into account before making a decision, according to the report.

Dimensions Healthcare System "is funded by taxpayer dollars and should not be allowed to close a critical facility without giving taxpayers an opportunity to weigh in," Sen. Rosapepe said in the news release, according to the report. "This bill will ensure that in the future, the hospital system is not allowed to overreach like this."

This past summer, Dimensions Healthcare System decided to close Laurel Regional Hospital and replace it with an ambulatory services center due to declines in inpatient volume.

 

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