Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center has announced it is relocating to Prince George’s County, Maryland, instead of expanding its current location.
The medical center recently purchased 23 acres of land between Livingston Road and Route 210 on Old Fort Road in Fort Washington. This empty land is across from the new Giant.
“I’m part of MedStar so I go to either St. Patrick over in Waldorf or we go to the main hospital in D.C.,” Prince George’s County resident Carla Taylor-Badawu said.
Like many southern Prince George’s residents, even with a hospital in her community Taylor-Badawu said she gets her medical care outside her county.
“I never really understood if Fort Washington Hospital was a full blown hospital or just some small facility that caters to some health care, but not all,” Taylor-Badawu said.
A majority of the county’s residents go elsewhere seeking quality healthcare, according to Eunmee Shim, President of Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center. She says despite its affluence, Prince George’s is considered a medical desert.
Shim says recent data shows that some 80% of the county’s residents leave the county for medical care that’s the reverse of most communities.
“I think it has a lot to do with the demographics that we serve. We’re a majority minority community and there is an assumption that we may not be able to afford the care or we’ve been migrating for care all these years so it should be ok to continue that. But we really want to challenge that assumption,” Shim said.
Adventist Healthcare has purchased land in Fort Washington two miles away from its current location. It’s planning to build a new hospital campus. While the exact size is up to the county and state, the hope is to provide new services and attract more doctors and patients who live here.
“The care really needs to take place in the community that they live in and it has to be easy to access if we are serious about improving health care outcomes in general,” Shim said.
In October, the hospital plans to submit a certificate of need, a spokesperson for the hospital said. Two years later, officials plan to break ground on the new location.
In recent years, Prince George’s County leaders have worked to rebuild and expand medical facilities and services. It’s unclear what Adventist will do with the current site once the hospital relocates.