A new state-of-the-art medical facility is coming to Baltimore. The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) Midtown Campus received regulatory approval for a new ambulatory care center.
The 10-story, 200,000 square foot ambulatory care center is a part of a partnership between UMMC and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The regional center will provide outpatient services for people with chronic diseases.
It’s estimated to cost $56 million, half of which will be funded by the state of Maryland. And it will be located at the intersection of Madison Avenue and Linden Avenue at the site of the current Gatch Building.
“So if a newly diagnosed diabetic is admitted to the emergency department or hospital, we can get that patient into care immediately and if they have other chronic diseases like hypertension, infectious disease, or other things, we can certainly link them up with the other practices in the building and have that coordinated care there,” said Renay Tyler, vice-president of ambulatory services for the University of Maryland Medical Center, University & Midtown Campuses.
The Midtown Campus already has several outpatient practices but the new center will bring them together in a one stop shop.
The center was first proposed in 2015 but was put on hold after the state switched its funding mechanism for hospitals. Instead of getting paid per patient, hospitals are now given a lump sum, or a fixed annual revenue cap.
“Under that global budget revenue, the incentive and disincentives are in play to ensure a patient's health is improved. So, by engaging them in meaningful ambulatory care, then we can make sure we are managing their care in a much more effective way from a quality standpoint but also from a cost standpoint,” said Brian Bailey, the senior vice president executive director for the UMMC Midtown Campus.
Patients that come back less means the hospital saves more money, and fewer patients also means reduced wait times at the emergency department.
“We would hope to significantly mitigate their frequent use of the ED, decant our emergency department of perhaps unnecessary utilization therefore the throughput in our emergency room should improve and their wellbeing should improve by engaging in the appropriate care,” Bailey said.
The UMMC Midtown campus has the fifth longest emergency room wait time in the state, according to data by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The average time patients wait to see a doctor is 71 minutes.
While the new care center isn't another emergency department, it is designed to address population health, which in turn could cut down on packed emergency rooms.
UMMC also opened a coordinated care center on their University Campus in February.
“They're seen by that multidisciplinary team approach in that center and their need to go back to the emergency department or be admitted for long periods of time is literally melting away. So, we are definitely seeing reduced utilization of those unneeded resources because their needs are being addressed in one place,” said Tyler.
She added that patients have also experienced successes in their personal lives through the Transitional Care Coordination program where visitors are given access to nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and community health workers.
The UMMC Midtown Campus Ambulatory Care Center will also have a Community Health Education Center that will offer free screenings.
Demolition is expected to take place this spring with the new center opening in 2019.