QA Emergency Center Bill Heard

Delegates in the General Assembly heard testimony on a bill that could have a significant effect on the $15-million Queen Anne’s Emergency Center currently under construction. House Bill 699, if enacted, would require the state to treat freestanding emergency rooms like the one being built in Grasonville the same as emergency rooms attached to hospitals in two important respects. Specifically, the bill would allow ambulances driving patients to those facilities to be reimbursed and would require those facilities to be “rate-regulated,” wherein the state sets how much is reimbursed for a specific treatment.

The bill is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of delegates, including several from the Eastern Shore and Montgomery County, where another freestanding emergency center is located. The legislation also was submitted in the Maryland Senate. The 15,000-square-foot Queen Anne’s Emergency Center will operate as an around-the-clock emergency room and is located at U.S. 50 and Nesbit Road. Queen Anne’s County currently is only one of two counties in the state that does not have a hospital or emergency facility, the other being Caroline County.