I am a physician who practices in Chestertown. I am a member of the Shore Regional Health Medical Staff and of the Medical Executive Committee of the medical staff. The Medical Executive Committee (MEC) voted to approve the move of the inpatient behavioral health unit from the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center-Dorchester (UMSMC-D) to the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center-Chestertown (UMSMC-C). Dr. Bruce Helmly is the president of the MEC and medical staff and, in his position, reported the recommendation of approval for the move to the Shore Regional Health Board. The board approved the move.

The move involves only the inpatient unit. The outpatient services will remain in Dorchester County. The patients will only need to be transported once to Chestertown and once back to their homes. The administration is committed to providing transportation for family members to visit. The patients will resume their outpatient care locally.

The admission to inpatient psychiatric units is on a first-come, first-served basis. The patient goes to any facility that has an open bed, be it UMSMC-D, Baltimore, Annapolis or a hospital in Delaware. Many of the patients in the Chestertown ER have had to go to Delaware hospitals.

The plans are to continue outpatient psychiatric services in Dorchester County and to add them in Chestertown and Denton. This will enhance psychiatric care in this rural region.

The move of the inpatient behavioral health beds will accomplish two major goals of the regional system. First, it will support the need for a modern, state-of-the-art health care facility for inpatient behavioral health beds in our region. Second, it will contribute to a sustainable future for inpatient care at UMSMC-Chestertown.

We need your help in showing support for this move. The Maryland Health Care Commission will make the final decision to approve the Certificate of Need (CON) for this move. We need letters or emails sent to Mr. Ben Steffen at the address below. The letter can be as simple as “I support the CON exemption request by the UM Shore Regional Board for the move of the inpatient behavioral health beds from UMSMC-D to UMSMC-C.” Letters can be sent to Mr. Ben Steffen by mail (Executive Director, Maryland Health Care Commission, 4160 Patterson Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215) or by email (ben.steffen@maryland.gov).

I support this move.

SUSAN K. ROSS

Chestertown

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