Community Celebrates Grand Opening of the Freeman Outpatient Center

On Thursday, September 25, a standing room only crowd attended the grand opening of the Edward B. and Mildred H. Freeman Outpatient Center at The Memorial Hospital at Easton.

In his welcoming remarks, Joseph P. Ross, FACHE, president and CEO for Shore Health System, said, “Today we have a great story to tell, one that instills a sense of pride and accomplishment as we see how the work and commitment of donors, nurses, physicians, administrative staff and contractors come together to create a new level of service for the community.”

Ross continued, “This event is made even more special because of some very special people and the individuals who helped them make financial decisions that benefit our community.”

Ross introduced retired attorney Charles Wheeler and his wife, Betty Jean Wheeler, and retired investment advisor George Seger. Wheeler and Seger were friends and advisors to Edward and Mildred Freeman for whom the new outpatient center has been named.

The Freemans moved to Easton in the 1908s. When they were doing their estate planning, they sought advice from Seger and Wheeler. They knew that they wanted to leave some of their estate to benefit the Mid-Shore community and Memorial Hospital quickly rose to the top of the list of beneficiaries.

“When we were conceptualizing this new outpatient center, Lloyd Beatty, chairman of the Memorial Hospital Foundation board of directors, told us about a gift the Foundation had received from the Freemans,” Ross explained. “Lloyd recommended – and the Foundation board unanimously approved – naming this new facility after them in recognition of their generous bequest of over $7 million, the largest bequest in the history of Memorial Hospital.”

Ross told the grand opening guests that Shore Health System is the only health system in Maryland that derives nearly half of its revenue from outpatient services. “We have seen explosive growth in the demand for outpatient services,” Ross said, explaining that Memorial Hospital handles 80,000 outpatient visits each year and that 60 percent of surgeries performed at the hospital are done on an outpatient basis.

On behalf of the Shore Health System Board of Directors, Chair John Dillon addressed the assembled guests at the Freeman Outpatient Center grand opening. “This new center is one step we are taking to respond to the growing demand for outpatient services,” Dillon said. He also thanked the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), saying, “We appreciate their support of our strategic plan that ensures that the people of the Mid-Shore receive the healthcare services they need.”

When he was invited to the podium, Robert Chrencik, interim president and CEO for UMMS, said, “I have been around Maryland healthcare for over 25 years and I have seen how Memorial Hospital has grown. The Freeman Outpatient Center represents a good example of the joint vision Shore Health System and UMMS share for how healthcare should be delivered on the Eastern Shore.” Chrencik cited the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Shore Health System, which is scheduled to open in November, and a renal transplant clinic planned to open in 2009 as examples of the kinds of services that will be coming to the Eastern Shore through the Shore Health System and UMMS partnership.

Chris Parker, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CHCQM, FAIHQ, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, had a long list of people to acknowledge for their role in planning, constructing and transitioning to the Freeman Outpatient Center. In addition to thanking the nursing staff who now work in the Freeman Outpatient Center, Parker recognized the Patient Financial Services team responsible for patient registration. “They make sure entering the hospital goes smoothly for our patients,” Parker said. “They even help our employees and volunteers, who are learning to find their way around this new section of the hospital.”

Parker also thanked the staff of Information Technology and Plant Operations for helping to prepare the Freeman Outpatient Center for an on-schedule opening. He closed by acknowledging the creative efforts and project management of architects Marshall Craft, construction managers Barton Malow and project managers Heery International.

Closing the program, Penny Aaron Pink said, “Although the center is indeed beautiful, it also provides comfort and privacy to our patients as they receive care. In our previous location, we co-existed with other very busy services and, as a result, our nurses were not always able to give our patients the experience we would have liked them to have and that they deserve. But that has all changed with the opening of the Freeman Outpatient Center.”

Staff and guests at the grand opening were invited to tour the Freeman Outpatient Center beginning in the patient registration area. After a stop in the phlebotomy area, where patients come for routine lab services as well as therapeutic phlebotomy, guests visited Shore Comprehensive Pain Care clinic, where they met with medical director William Scott, DO, and Jennifer Marks, DO, as well as other members of the multi-disciplinary team that provides treatment for chronic pain.

The tour continued into the Infusion Center, which offers a private, comfortable setting in which patients receive intravenous medication and blood transfusions. Nurses in the Short Stay Unit explained how they prepare patients for outpatient cardiac catheterizations, interventional radiology and other procedures.