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Who benefits from a new hospital? You

July 18, 2004|by Ed Lough, Jim Latimer and Charlie Shindle

When you think about the future of health care in Hagerstown and Washington County, it does not take long to realize that the old hospital over on Antietam Street has to be replaced.

We've expanded it and expanded it and tried to make do over the years. But this fundamental fact remains - it's an inefficient building that has outlived its usefulness.

We believe the solution for the future of health care in our community is to build a new, state-of-the-art hospital at the Robinwood Medical Center. Building a new hospital here will have enormous benefits for our families and for future generations.

That's why we have formed the Hagerstown-Washington County Community Healthcare Coalition to demonstrate our strong support for building a new hospital now.

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Nearly everyone we have spoken with agrees that we need a new hospital. Now we must convince state officials to approve the planned hospital so that we can get moving on construction.

Building a new hospital at Robinwood would be a win for everyone - for patients and their health-care providers, for the city and for future economic development.

For patients and their families, the new hospital will be a godsend. All rooms will be private, larger and more comfortable. There will even be a pull out bed in each room so family members can stay overnight with a loved one.

The rooms will give patients more privacy so they can speak openly with their doctors without worrying that someone in the next bed can hear their every word.

Since the rooms will be larger, more medical procedures can be done right in the patient's room instead of some other part of the hospital. The nurses' station will be closer to patient rooms in the new hospital so nurses can attend to patients more quickly.

With a new hospital, more advanced care will be available right here in Hagerstown so people will not have to travel to Baltimore or Washington for cardiac care, and babies who need special care won't have to be flown across the state because they can be cared for here at home.

The city stands to gain enormously if we build a new hospital at Robinwood for a number of reasons. If the city were to annex Mt. Aetna Farms and the new hospital property, the city could reap millions in new property tax revenues and fees. This greatly needed revenue will help the city solve its recent budget problems and fund other essential community priorities.

In addition, the old hospital site could be turned into market rate housing and help revive the downtown economy with an influx of new residents.

As the city and county work to attract new businesses to Hagerstown and Washington County, top quality health care is a major recruiting tool. A new state-of-the-art medical center at Robinwood will be an attractive benefit to any potential business considering locating in our community.

These are just a few of the reasons why it's a no-brainer to support the new hospital at Robinwood. We hope that you will add your name to our growing coalition. Few things you possibly can do will make a greater difference for your community.

Log onto www.hwchc.org for more information or call 301-992-2242.

Ed Lough, Jim Latimer and Charlie Shindle are founders of the Hagerstown-Washington County Healthcare Coalition.

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