GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT
No, you may NOT leave Takoma Park!
That’s what a state commissioner says to Washington Adventist Hospital (WAH). WAH wants to move from Takoma Park to a new, larger suburban campus. The move must be approved by the Maryland Health Care Commission, but one of those commissioners has issued a 181 page report concluding that WAH may not leave. This is not the final word. A full commission vote will be held Oct. 18.
That is what WAH president Joyce Newmyer told the Takoma Park city council Sept. 4. Newmyer said she’d received the news only 2 hours prior to the council’s first post-recess meeting.
Newmyer said she was “deeply disappointed” in the 181-page decision by commissioner Barbara McLean. She hadn’t had time to read all of it yet, and hoped that further reading would reveal a path to approval, or a new plan, or both.
The decision admits that rebuilding WAH on the suburban site “may very well offer the best solution for revitalizing the hospital’s performance and prospects for the future.” Even so, writes commissioner McLean, WAH has “not shown that the project is financially feasible and will be viable in the future.”
The hospital’s mistake, says the commissioner, was to take ” the position in this review that the service area population served by the hospital will not change if the hospital is relocated from Takoma Park to White Oak.”
Yup, that’s what the city kept telling WAH all along.
If WAH reconsiders it’s plans with a more “realistic view” of the White Oak service area, “a relocated hospital may be viable.” says McLane, apparently offering WAH a way out.
Takoma Park was an “interested party” in this case, arguing against the move. WAH is highly valued as a source of local emergency care, hospital care, and employment. WAH has made efforts to smooth things over with the city, saying it would maintain an urgent care center here, and a “Wellness Village” on the former campus. A city committee charged with working on the issue accused WAH of making hollow promises to mollify the city until it can move.
City mayor Bruce Williams rephrased the commissioner’s decision as “no, you can’t move, but you’re not viable where you are.” He said nobody was going to be happy with this outcome. But, he said, perhaps WAH can reapply with different arguments, a different plan.
Councilmember Fred Schultz told the WAH president that he looked forward to constructive engagement between the city and WAH, saying a solution can only be found through cooperation.
The entire report can be downloaded from this site. Click on item #16 to download the pdf.