Baltimore, MD -- The Maryland Healthcare Commission voted unanimously, in a 9-0 vote, to support the recommendation of Dr. Marilyn Moon, selecting Germantown over Clarksburg for the new upcounty Hospital. The decision favors Holy Cross hospital’s proposal for a $202 million 93-bed hospital in Germantown, versus Adventist’s $177 million 86-bed facility in Clarksburg.
A room full of nearly 120 people gathered to hear testimony from both sides Thursday afternoon. Their arguments consisted of responses to Moon's recommendation.
Robertson defended their financial capability saying their funding is based on federally insured bonds and is even stronger after a "recent transaction involving long-term care facilities." Regardless, Moon pointed to the fact that they failed to provide the requested detailed analysis of financial feasibility during the 2009 evidentiary hearing where testimony was given by both sides.
The Holy Cross hospital will be build on Montgomery College's Germantown campus.
"We look forward to being able to double the number of students who successfully complete our nursing program and be a catalyst for more jobs in upcounty and throughout the region and state," said Hercules Pinkney in a press release.
"The will of the people" was not taken into full account, said Adventist Healthcare CEO Bill Robertson. Robertson said the hospital will be filing an appeal and considering other modes of appeal, which he said would be hashed out in the coming weeks. He could not offer an further specifics. Holy Cross CEO Kevin Sexton said he is pleased with the decision and he looks forward to starting construction as soon as possible.
Vice chair Garrett Falcone served as chair for the hearing, as chair Marilyn Moon was identified as an interested party, due to her Dec. 17 recommendation of the Holy Cross plan. In the commission's decision, they concluded that Adventist Healthcare could not show sufficient financial feasibility to sustain a hospital in Clarksburg. In addition, the commission decided a Germantown location would meet the needs of rapidly developing community.
In response to the concern that Holy Cross will not be offering full reproductive healthcare services, the commission agreed there are sufficient options for those services within the area, a point to which Adventist argued there is no evidence to support.
This may not be the end of the battle however. In addition at a possible appeal from Adventist Healthcare, Beth Corbin with the Americans United for Separation of Church and State said her organization would be considering a lawsuit against the county and state for using government land to build a catholic hospital. The organization successfully filed a similar lawsuit in Florida. Defending their use of government land, Holy Cross said they have successfully operated a health center on Montgomery College's Takoma Park campus.
"Similar to our relationship with Montgomery College-Takoma Park/Silver Spring, Holy Cross Hospital will not influence the academic curriculum of Montgomery College students," said Holy Cross representative Yolanda Gaskins. "Instead, our role is to provide clinical rotation opportunities for students so that they can have hands-on nursing experiences to compliment their classroom instruction."
Pending site plan approval, Holy Cross said they would start construction this fall, to be completed in early 2014. Holy Cross officials say they will present a site plan to the community in he next few weeks, after which it will go before the Montgomery County Planning Board. Once the board approves the site plan, officials said construction will begin.However, with the likelihood of an appeal, Moon said, construction may be delayed.