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Your Questions Answered

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What specific changes will be made?

The proposed project will include a new 36,000-square-foot, two-story addition to the hospital and renovation of existing space. The new building will be located adjacent to the existing emergency room facing Little Patuxent Parkway. Construction will span three years and take place in stages.

When will construction begin?

Renovations and site preparation began in February 2017. Construction of the new addition will begin in November 2018.

How long will construction take?

The construction project will span three years and take place in stages, during which all areas of HCGH will remain open.

Why is HCGH making these enhancements to its facility?

  • Howard County is growing and aging. The population of those 55 and older in Howard County is projected to increase by 22 percent in the next five years, which will increase demand for health care. In addition, the general population is projected to grow by 6 percent overall. We must expand our hospital size to meet the increased demand.
  • Howard County General Hospital’s year-over-year increase in admissions was the highest of all of the 23 hospitals in the greater Baltimore region (fiscal year 2016 to 2017).
  • HCGH emergency room volumes are up. The adult emergency room treated a record 60,310 patients last year, a 4.8 percent increase. One in four patients who visit the emergency room needs a higher level of care, whether admitted as an inpatient or to the psychiatry or observation units. The volume has been growing every month this fiscal year and, as a result, units providing a higher level of care are busier, which can contribute to longer wait times in the emergency room.
  • HCGH’s general medical-surgical beds are 90 percent full most days and 19 percent growth in inpatient volume is projected by 2024.
  • The observation unit, where patients who need to be monitored but not fully admitted to the hospital may stay overnight or longer, achieves nearly full occupancy daily, and the hospital treated a record number of observation patients last year. New space will include private rooms that are more welcoming to patients and families.
  • The pediatric emergency room treats 18,000 patients annually, including adolescent patients with behavioral health issues, such as depression and substance use. The number of pediatric behavioral health patients has increased 46 percent in the past two years, and having additional clinical space will allow us to meet the needs of patients who benefit from a more private and protected setting of care.
  • Often three to five beds in the inpatient adult psychiatry unit are not able to take new patients because patients are too ill to share a room or cannot be co-located for other reasons, resulting in the need for more space and improved design.
  • The Affordable Care Act increased the number of insured patients. HCGH experienced a record year for admissions and observations, representing an increase of 9.6 percent over last year alone (fiscal year 2016 compared to fiscal year 2017). We also saw a record number of births last fiscal year.

Building Today for a Healthier Tomorrow is an intensive initiative to increase our capacity to treat people with a broad range of health needs, and to enhance their experience of care.

How much will this project cost?

The renovation and construction project is estimated to cost approximately $40 million and funding will come from a combination of public and private sources. The hospital will fund a portion of the expense. The Howard County government also dedicated funding to the renovation of the hospital’s existing emergency department to improve patient flow while we wait for the additional capacity the new wing will provide.

The Howard Hospital Foundation will lead a capital campaign, Building Today for a Healthier Tomorrow, to raise much-needed funds to support the construction. With your financial support, we will improve the health and wellness of the community. Donate to the campaign.

Will parking be a challenge on campus or at the ED entrance?

While a small number of parking spaces will be eliminated by the new construction, new spaces will be created in an adjacent lot, creating more parking spaces than we have today outside the emergency department. We constantly evaluate our parking needs for staff, professional staff, patients and visitors and will make adjustments during the construction as needed.


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