In her recent guest column in the Sunday edition of the Capital Gazette, Victoria W. Bayless, President and CEO of Anne Arundel Medical Center, advocates for AAMC's cardiac surgery program.
More than three years ago, Anne Arundel Medical Center sought permission from the State of Maryland to bring a cardiac surgery program to our community. You, our passionate supporters, have been with us on the journey every step of the way.
Together, we were heartened when in March 2017 — after a two-year wait — the Maryland Health Care Commission approved a cardiac surgery program at AAMC by a 9-0 vote. When our challengers appealed, we stood together nearly a year longer while the Prince George’s County Circuit Court weighed its decision. And we prevailed. In May of this year, the court ruled to uphold the commission’s vote.
The University of Maryland Capital Region Health, an affiliate of University of Maryland Medical System and parent company to UM Prince George’s Hospital Center, recently filed its second appeal to block a cardiac surgery program at AAMC.
This should not be a one-or-the-other scenario. The Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge even wrote in her ruling, “The future is bright for both facilities and, most importantly, for all citizens of Maryland.”
Bringing cardiac surgery to our community is what is right and fair for the people of this area.
It is for the family members who tell me how stressful it is being far from their loved ones at such a critical moment in their lives. It’s for the patients who pay upward of $20,000 for an emergency helicopter transport. It’s for the hundreds of patients who live in Talbot, Kent, Caroline and Queen Anne’s counties on the Eastern Shore who travel the greatest distances to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore to access this critical service.
The physical and emotional burden of cardiac surgery is enormous. So is the financial burden. Anne Arundel County is the most populous jurisdiction in Maryland without a cardiac surgery program. The financial reality of that is families, insurers, employers and the state are paying twice as much for these procedures at facilities in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The cost totals approximately $8 million per year — and is rising.
A cardiac surgery program at AAMC will improve the patient and family experience, reduce the cost of care and save lives.
UM Capital Region Health should reconsider its position, drop its appeal and no longer delay this much-needed program. It’s simply the right thing to do. The residents of Prince George’s County have access to cardiac surgery. The residents of Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore need and deserve the same.
Victoria W. Bayless is president and CEO of Anne Arundel Medical Center. Contact her at AAMCPR@aahs.org.
Reference: Capital Gazette (June 23, 2018) "Victoria W. Bayless: This community deserves a cardiac surgery program at AAMC "