Atlantic General Hospital breaks ground on new outpatient medical facility

OCEAN PINES, Md. – The dream of the Gudelsky Family Medical Center is now becoming a reality. Officials with Atlantic General Hospital and local leaders broke ground in Ocean Pines Tuesday. “This project has been a long time in the making. Now here we are today, despite COVID-19, going forward with an exciting groundbreaking,” said State Senator Mary Beth Carozza.

CEO of Atlantic General Hospital Michael Franklin is calling it a chance to expand, and improve medical services for the community. The facility will include the first multispecialty ambulatory surgery facility in the county. Three procedure rooms and one surgery site are being shifted from the surgery department at the hospital in Berlin to the new facility in Ocean Pines. Plus, the new surgical center will not be subject to rate regulation by the state of Maryland. That means the Atlantic General Health System will be able to provide some medical services at a lower cost, closer to home.

The site will also play host to an AGHRx RediScripts pharmacy, complete with a drive through and additional parking. Also inside the building will be laboratory and imaging services, as well as a full-service ImmediCare urgent care center. Atlantic General health System’s specialists will also make the new building their home.

Franklin says by shifting the surgical center and bringing additional services to Ocean Pines, people will be able to get all of the health care they need and deserve. He says that’s especially important in the everchanging landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic. “A mole removal or something like that seems pretty simple. But delaying those things could be problematic if it’s a cancer diagnosis. We’re seeing a lot of those stacking up now – people coming in with more advanced cancers because they weren’t able to get to diagnostic services,” said Franklin.

Beyond that, Franklin says the new facility will help the hospital system be better prepared to balance a major medical emergency like COVID-19, and day to day care. “We were trying to keep it safe, and not have a lot of people in and out. We were trying to keep those people safe, as well as preserve the space within the hospital. We had to expand space to take care of patients who are CVOID-19 positive,” said Franklin. “In a facility like this, we don’t have the same risks of cross pollination, if you will, of those different patient groups.”

Site planners are also preparing to build housing for dozens on seniors on the property. Franklin says as the population in Worcester County grows, so does the need to make sure seniors are cared for. “With a higher proportion of older people over the age of 65 in this community – we’re at about 30% within 20 minutes of this area – it’s going to make a big difference for those folks to have that care,” said Franklin.

Plus, with the facility comes the need for workers. Officials say they’ll need plenty of medical professionals and administrative personnel on hand. The project will help create many job opportunities, including 18 additional physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and support staff. “We have a severe healthcare worker shortage right here on the shore,” said Sen. Carozza. “A facility like this is going to end up attracting talent, but also keeping our talent right here on the shore to serve our own.”

Part of the property is also being set aside to be the future home of other care facilities, as the Atlantic General system sees fit. Construction is expected to take about 18 months in total.

Categories: Health, Local News, Maryland