Concerns that the Western Maryland Hospital Center might be privatized or closed are premature because there currently are no plans to do either, according to a state health official. Although the state-owned acute-care facility on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown is slated to close its renal-dialysis program in fiscal 2017, the state has no plans to privatize or close the hospital, Christopher Garrett, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said Wednesday. … Altogether, 15.5 positions are being abolished in the fiscal 2017 budget, Garrett said. Although Garrett told Herald-Mail Media in March that the health agency would issue a request for proposals this summer “to explore options,” which is a required first step if the hospital were to be privatized, he said that the department no longer plans to do that. … That anxiety culminated in a forum Saturday in Hagerstown, sponsored by AFSCME Local 354, the union representing many of the hospital center’s workers. …
State hospital workers who expected to be fired will keep jobs
Source: Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun, May 24, 2016
Almost 70 state dietary services workers who were scheduled to be fired and replaced by private contractors will instead keep their jobs, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene confirmed Tuesday. The employees, most of whom work at the Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville, were to be terminated under the budget submitted by Gov. Larry Hogan to the General Assembly in January. The workers were informed Monday that the plan to contract out their work had been canceled. … Also spared were workers at the John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents in Rockville. They prepare and distribute food to residential patients at the mental health facilities. …
Community forum planned on Western Md. Hospital Center cuts, possible privatization
Source: CJ Lovelace, Herald Mail, May 13, 2016
… The job cuts set to take effect when the new fiscal years begins July 1 include 8.5 full-time equivalent positions — 7.5 filled and one vacant — in the hospital’s renal dialysis unit, which is closing. Other positions to be eliminated include five vacant jobs, as well as a therapeutic-recreation job and Ankeney’s position that would be replaced by a contracted X-ray service. State health officials have said the cuts were needed to help offset large increases in health insurance and retirement expenses projected to cost close to $1.5 million. … Meritus Health has handled the management of the facility since 2014, in the wake of dozens of patient-care deficiencies found under previous leadership. The local provider has signed a three-year, $2.6 million contract extension through June 30, 2018. …
Hogan trumpets his success in daylong visit to Frederick County
Source: Nancy Lavin and Paige Jones, Frederick News-Post, March 16, 2016
For some employees facing layoffs from Springfield Hospital Center in Carroll County, Hogan’s words about job growth seemed hypocritical. Close to 60 workers are expected to be laid off from the Sykesville hospital as part of efforts to privatize the institution, The Baltimore Sun has reported. A dozen of them gathered outside Frederick City Hall on Wednesday with signs and petitions bearing 600 signatures asking Hogan not to cut their jobs. …
Western Md. Hospital Center ‘not just a regular nursing home’
Source: CJ Lovelace, Herald-Mail Media, March 14, 2016
The state-owned facility, off Pennsylvania Avenue north of Hagerstown, has been eyed for possible privatization during talks in recent months as the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene considers cost-cutting measures. The center’s renal-dialysis unit is on the chopping block come July, but the nearly 300 union workers at the facility are making their collective voices heard about keeping the facility under state ownership. … While privatization surely could affect the workers, it’s the effect a move to the private sector could have on patient care that is the greatest concern for employees. … Sheridan said she’s worked at for-profit nursing homes in the past, and the level of care suffers when administrators are forced to choose between their patients and their bottom line. Dating back to the 1950s, the hospital center also serves an essential function in the region that other nursing facilities cannot match, Hockman said, providing care for “very complex, very chronic” conditions.
State mulls job cuts, privatizing Western Md. Hospital Center
Source: CJ Lovelace, Herald-Mill Media, February 18, 2016
State health officials are considering eliminating the renal-dialysis program at the Western Maryland Hospital Center, contributing to the loss of about 15 jobs that could be cut to help offset rising costs, according to budget discussions. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene officials also have discussed possibly privatizing the state-owned specialty-care hospital on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown’s North End. … Although the layoffs are an issue, the potential privatization has garnered more concern in the community, particularly among the roughly 250 state workers at the facility. During a recent state Senate Budget and Taxation subcommittee meeting, state Health Secretary Van T. Mitchell said the agency might “test the waters” this summer by issuing a request for proposals to private companies that would be interested in taking over ownership of the facility.