Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) and Doctors Community Health System (DCHS) are taking the first step in the formation of a new health system that will serve the region. The two hospitals are working toward a definitive agreement pending completion of a due diligence process and standard regulatory approval.
Last year, DCHS began the search for a partner to help strengthen its existing services, make new investments, and to continue to meet the needs of patients and the Prince George’s County community.
“Partnership is essential for independent hospitals that are working to navigate the rapidly changing health care environment,” said Philip Down, CEO of DCHS. “We vetted many affiliation opportunities, and ultimately chose Anne Arundel Medical Center because of our shared values of community service and quality care.”
While the hospitals have primary locations in separate counties, there are bordering service areas between the two, with AAMC serving patients in Prince George’s County through locations in Largo and Bowie, and DCHS serving patients in its Crofton location.
“Our contiguous service areas make this an ideal opportunity to come together and provide care to our collective community,” said Victoria Bayless, president and CEO of AAMC. “We determined that our counties share more than just a border, and we want to make the region in which we operate healthier as a whole. Together, we believe that we can bring better care to the residents of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.”
Through the new health system, AAMC plans to invest up to $138 million over five years in the existing DCHS campus and its IT infrastructure, expand inpatient and outpatient services, and launch much-needed programs that support the Prince George’s County Community Health Needs Assessment.
“We are excited by the opportunities this partnership is designed to deliver and look forward to working with the team at AAMC to learn from one another,” said Rene LaVigne, chairman of Doctors Community Hospital’s Board of Trustees. “We admire the high level of care that AAMC provides its patients, and the incredible abilities of its staff, which is why we view them as an ideal partner as we plan for how to best serve this region in the years ahead.”
“AAMC is excited by the opportunity to partner with DCHS and to expand and enhance care across Prince George’s County. Together, the two systems can meet the unique needs of this region and grow, even in a complex and challenging health care environment,” said John Belcher, chairman of AAMC’s Board of Trustees.
Due diligence discussions are expected to continue for the next 30 days. A name for the new health system will be announced this summer.
What is happening? When?
Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) is partnering with Doctors Community Health System (Doctors/DCHS) to create a new health system. This new system will allow us to meet the growing health needs of our region, while providing personalized care and remaining community focused. We will announce the name of the new health system this summer, with the full integration process expected to take one to two years. Throughout that time, we will provide regular updates about our progress.
What will the new health system be — AAMC, DCHS or something new?
Something new. Together, we are forming a new, yet-to-be-named health system of which both AAMC and DCHS will be a part. As we embark on this journey, we will engage and request feedback from employees and members of the medical staff at both organizations, as well as community members in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties in order to respect both legacies and histories, while also being aspirational about the future.
This is not a transition that will happen overnight, or suddenly. We want to make sure that our new health system is built in a way that considers the interests of our communities, our patients and our employees. That means that we will continue to operate as AAMC and DCHS for a time, providing the same services you are used to, as we bring together our organizations and build something new. We will keep you updated along the way.
What’s the timeframe for this growth?
While we hope to have an agreement completed and signed by both entities in June, our main priority is not meeting a deadline, but making sure that we complete our due diligence, go through the necessary regulatory process, and establish a new health system that meets the needs of our communities and patients for the long term.
Over the next several months, and following extensive conversations with our community members and employees, we will create a transition plan for the formation of the new health system. The transition plan will include multiple phases, with full integration likely in one to two years.
What changes will AAMC patients see?
Nothing will change in terms of how we care for our community and our plans for growing services in Anne Arundel County and on the Eastern Shore. We will continue to be a regional referral system and our vision for services like the new mental health hospital, cardiac surgery program and Easton Pavilion continue to move forward.
We will be expanding access in Prince George’s County to include programs that support the Community Health Needs Assessment. We want to create more entry points for care across the region, and to provide more access to care close to home for the people we serve.