Groundbreaking Held For QA ER

Ground was broken last week for the long-anticipated Queen Anne’s County Emergency Center that will be a joint public-private partnership between the county, the University of Maryland Medical System and Shore Health System. The $15-million, 16,000-square-foot facility at U.S. Route 50 and Nesbit Road is expected to open in about a year, said Robert Chrencik, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System. It will have 11 treatment rooms and on-site diagnostic imaging and laboratory services and will operate as a full-service emergency department like those in a hospital. It will be staffed by hospital-experienced radiology and laboratory technologists in addition to experienced ER nurses and certified emergency medicine physicians. Queen Anne’s County is presently one of only two counties in Maryland with no hospital or emergency care facility. The other is Caroline County. This will be only the third free-standing emergency facility in Maryland, and the first in a rural area.

The concept of a free-standing emergency room was first discussed in 2006 when concerns were expressed about traffic on Route 50 and the Bay Bridge, both routes taken by Queen Anne’s County ambulances transporting patients to either Memorial Hospital at Easton or Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. In 2007, legislation introduced by Senator E.J. Pipkin, R-36-Upper Shore, Delegate Dick Sossi, R-36-Queen Anne’s, and others, established a free-standing medical facility pilot project in Queen Anne’s County. The same year, the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners announced UMMS’s commitment to an emergency facility in the county. In January 2008, a 15-acre site at Route 50 and Nesbit Road was acquired through a land donation agreement between the county and Bland Nesbit and the late Michael Cooper. Also in 2008, the commissioners signed a memorandum of understanding with UMMS and Shore Health System for a public-private partnership and operation of an emergency center.