Our community can be forgiven for being skeptical about Shore Regional Health’s latest timeline for construction of the regional medical center having heard encouraging prognostications for many years.
One wonders if this is the case now. While the 2025 start of construction date was reported in the September 20th Star-Democrat, LuAnn Brady, the new COO of Shore Regional Health and responsible for managing construction of the medical center, stated at a July 22nd public meeting co-sponsored by the Democratic Women’s Club and the AAUW, that construction wouldn’t begin until 2028.
Without an independent source of information on the situation, scapegoating the certificate of need process for delays is easy because the process is arcane and even well-meaning board members can fail to understand what’s occurring. A community needs a mayor or other elected officials who will advocate with outside decision makers and provide that independent source of information.
Working as a Certificate of Need analyst for four years in Boston’s high powered health care environment, it was usual to see communities and their elected officials organize to insistently advocate for community health care needs when local hospital’s arrangements with establishment behemoths were at issue.
Even locally, we can recall the intense community organizing that occurred around the Chestertown Hospital, in which Chestertown’s mayor and councilmen played a part advocating for community needs before Shore Regional Health.
The future of the current hospital site is the present challenge. There is a clear need for Easton’s elected officials to inform and advocate for the community when it comes to the use of the substantial real estate of the current hospital site. Our elected officials should organize an independent public process so that interested parties in Easton can know what’s going on and express the needs of the town.
That the elected officials have initiated a public process for community input regarding the current hospital site would be reassuring to prospective donors to the capital campaign. If the 2025 start of construction is to be believed, there’s no time like the present.