ANNAPOLIS — A proposed addition of nearly 40,000 square feet to Frederick Health Hospital could be losing up to $600,000 in funding from the state.
Late last week, the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) presented its capital budget for the Maryland Hospital Association, consisting of more than half a dozen projects that are vying for state assistance. That included highlighting a $45.8 million, three-story renovation and construction project at Frederick’s hospital, $2.5 million of which would come from state funds.
But Andrew Garrison, a DLS budget analyst with the Maryland Department of Health, told the House of Delegates’ Appropriations capital budget subcommittee that his division was recommending cutting $600,000 in financial assistance for the Frederick project.
The project would redesign the hospital’s emergency department to “accommodate adult and pediatric patients,” along with “modernizing the intensive care unit and relocating cardiac diagnostic and therapeutic service to address current facility constraints,” according to a DLS budget analysis. The addition would address capacity needs in the hospital’s emergency department, intensive care unit and cardiac catheterization lab, according to previous News-Post reporting.
Because the Frederick hospital project is a “more traditional hospital upgrade” and is receiving the most state funds of all hospital projects this year, DLS staff recommended the $600,000 reduction.
But Del. Carol Krimm (D-Frederick), who sits on the capital budget subcommittee and whose district includes the hospital, said this week that she would fight to keep the money for the project.
“Here’s the thing: We’re a one-hospital county,” Krimm said. “We’re a growing county. I know [the hospital is] trying to keep up with all of the services they need to provide, and we need to support them.”
She said the state should be doing its part to support the hospital, given the hospital’s work with an aging population in Frederick County.
“This hospital has been proactive in how they deal with our aging population and making sure they don’t come back to the hospital once they’re released,” Krimm said. “So they make sure they have their medications. If they need meals, they are providing to them for a certain period of time, they get them to their follow-up doctor appointments.”
The Maryland Hospital Association submitted a letter of support, urging the capital budget subcommittee to fully fund the $6.6 million in hospital and health care facility projects, including the money for the Frederick hospital addition/renovation.
Krimm said she’s discussing the funding for the project with committee leadership, and hoping at least some money can be saved.
“When they say Frederick County [for] anything, I’m laser-focused,” she said.
A spokeswoman for Frederick Health Hospital did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.
The addition to the hospital is the second large project the hospital announced recently. It also purchased the former State Farm building last November. The hospital bought the building for about $18 million, hospital CEO Tom Kleinhanzl told The News-Post in November.
Staff writer Heather Mongilio contributed to this report.