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Maryland’s Eastern Shore Residents Benefit from Regional Health-Care Network

Maryland's Eastern Shore is home to two major health-care providers that offer specialty care for residents in the five-county region.

By John Fuller on May 5, 2015

Maryland Hospital
Easton / Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Hospital

Good health care is just a heartbeat away for Maryland’s Eastern Shore residents, with several choices for medical care available to residents throughout the five-county region.

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), which operates 12 health-care systems statewide, has a major presence throughout the region. Its Shore Regional Health system operates three hospitals in the area and serves more than 170,000 people, including residents in Caroline, Kent, Talbot and Dorchester counties. “We renamed our health system in July 2013 following an affiliation with Chester River Health, and as a result, we have also renamed our three hospitals – they are now Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, Shore Medical Center at Easton and Shore Medical Center at Dorchester,” says Trena Williamson, regional director of communications and marketing for University of Maryland Shore Regional Health.

The system’s flagship hospital, the 149-bed Shore Medical Center at Easton, offers a range of primary and inpatient acute care. Its services include rehabilitation, medical and surgical, obstetrical/gynecological, pediatrics, oncology, renal, neuroscience and critical care services. In addition to hospitals, “we also have a number of outpatient facilities that include a regional cancer center, regional breast center, a diabetes center, and expanded services that include behavioral health, cardiovascular and wound care,” Williamson says.

New Accreditations, Expansions

UM Shore Regional Health’s Primary Stroke Center in Easton earned a national achievement award for improving care and outcomes for patients in 2014. The system also received nationally recognized accreditations for its Comprehensive Breast Center and cardiovascular diagnostic centers in Easton and Cambridge. In August 2014, Shore Medical Center at Chestertown completed a $4.3 million expansion of its emergency department, expanding it to 18 beds and upgrading equipment. The new facility also features a dedicated 24-hour entrance as well as areas that offer greater safety, privacy and efficiency for specialized treatment. “In September 2013, we also opened a Denton Convenient Care Clinic in Caroline County, which is a walk-in medical facility that provides a number of treatment options and features extended hours,” Williamson says. UM Shore Regional Health is a top employer in the region, with 1,900 employees – 1,641 in Talbot County alone – along with 500 volunteers and approximately 200 physicians.

Serving Community Needs

Another top health-care provider in the region is Union Hospital in Elkton, which employs 900 in Cecil County and recently signed an operating agreement with UMMS. Established in 1908, the 122-bed, not-for-profit community hospital, which also serves neighboring communities in Delaware and Pennsylvania, has been nationally recognized for clinical excellence in disease treatment and prevention. Union Hospital provides a full slate of inpatient and outpatient care, including emergency, surgical, maternity, cardiac and pulmonary, orthopedic, gastroenterology, imaging, laboratory and rehab services. It also operates a cancer center, heart and vascular center, stroke care center, wound care center, and nutrition and diabetes center. Veterans in the region receive special care at Perry Point VA Medical Center in Cecil County – the largest inpatient facility in the state’s VA Health Care System, with 1,173 employees and 470 beds.

Primary Providers

The region is also home to primary care providers like the nonprofit Choptank Community Health System, which has served patients in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties for more than 30 years. The system, which accepts payments from most major insurance companies and HMOs, provides a range of medical, dental and behavioral health services, and receives federal funding that allows it to expand current services and develop new programs. Its clinics in Caroline County include the Denton Medical Center, which offers family practice, internal medicine, women’s health (two days a month) and pediatric services, along with Goldsboro Medical Center and Federalsburg Medical & Dental Center – both of which provide family practice and general dentistry services. Its network also includes Cambridge-based Fassett Magee Health Center, which provides family practice and dentistry services for Dorchester County residents, and Bay Hundred Health Center in St. Michaels, which provides family practice and behavioral health services for patients in Talbot County.

Proximity to the Nation’s Best

Within an hour’s drive of the region is one of the best medical centers in the world – The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Part of the Johns Hopkins Medicine system, the hospital serves as the teaching facility for the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, which attracts $450 million annually in federal research support – more than any other university in the nation. The 1,059 bed-hospital is the nation’s No. 1 medical center for specialty care in geriatrics, rheumatology, urology, neurology and neurosurgery, and ear, nose and throat. It also ranks high for psychiatry, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, cancer, cardiology, diabetes, nephrology, gynecology, orthopedics and pulmonology care.

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