Peninsula Regional to absorb Crisfield hospital

Leaders of McCready Health and the Peninsula Regional Health System pose for a photo moments after signing a definitive agreement that is the cornerstone for merging McCready Health with the Peninsula Regional Health System. In the photo, from the left, are Kathleen Harrison, McCready Health CEO; P.J. Purnell, Chairman, McCready Health Board of Directors; Herb Geary, Chairman, Peninsula Regional Health System Board of Directors; and Steve Leonard, President/CEO, Peninsula Regional Health System.

McCready Health of Crisfield and Salisbury-based Peninsula Regional Health System have reached an agreement under which McCready Health will join PRHS this fall.

Approximately 18 months ago, McCready Health approached PRHS with a request to examine how an affiliation might be structured, with the goals of guaranteeing the retention and strengthening of healthcare services in Crisfield and across Somerset County.

During the past decade, hospital usage had dropped dramatically, and the hospital building itself was aging rapidly.

“McCready Health has proudly served the people of Crisfield and Somerset County for nearly a century, and it has been the focus of our Board and staff to assure that residents continue to receive caring, quality health care in their local community,” said CEO Kathleen Harrison.

“McCready is also a major employer here, and we want to continue as an economic driver for the county. By becoming part of PRHS, we can assure both those objectives for many years to come,” she said.

McCready will continue to provide hospital services in Crisfield throughout the pending regulatory approval process, until approximately Nov. 1, when PRHS will assume ownership.  It will then transition to a Freestanding Medical Facility at its current location.

Services provided by McCready and PRMC staff at the FMF will include 24/7 emergency care, physical therapy, speech therapy, behavioral health services, family medicine, imaging and laboratory services.

Inpatient hospital care and surgical procedures will permanently transition to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury and possibly other hospitals in the region.

“The financial reality is that McCready does not maintain a daily census of patients sufficient to support the services required to qualify as a hospital as defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — and we were approaching the moment when we would lose the hospital because we would not qualify to be one,” said Harrison.

“The path to keeping health care services in the county became clear: McCready needed to merge with an established and supportive partner like the Peninsula Regional Health System and transition to an FMF,” she said.

PRHS has purchased land on Route 413 just east of Crisfield and will soon begin design of a new FMF, which will be known as the McCready Health Pavilion.

When complete, all FMF services will transition to the new, state-of-the-art location.  Design and construction is expected to take up to 24 months.

Tawes Nursing Home and Chesapeake Cove Assisted Living will also become part of PHRS, remaining operational at their current location.

“The McCready Health Pavilion will offer services above what has been extremely successful and well received at our other health pavilions in Ocean Pines and Millsboro,” said Steve Leonard, President/CEO of Peninsula Regional Health System.

“This is complete and comprehensive health care, which best allows us to continue the McCready mission and tradition of providing effective, efficient and exceptional care in Somerset County,” Leonard said.

All qualified staff at McCready Hospital who are affected by the change in structure will be considered for employment with the Peninsula Regional Health System at locations including PRMC, at the health system’s ambulatory and specialty care centers across Maryland and Delaware and at the new McCready Health Pavilion.

The Peninsula Regional Health System Board of Directors will oversee the transition. Leonard will remain its President/CEO and be responsible for executive leadership, including the McCready additions.

State Sen. Mary Beth Carozza heralded the news on Monday.

“I want to thank the leadership of McCready Health and Peninsula Regional Health System, our county and local elected officials, community and business leaders, and all those who worked so hard to keep a health care facility in Somerset County, which is absolutely essential for the health and well-being of county residents as well as for jobs and economic development in Somerset County,” the senator said. 

“I will continue to advocate and urge the appropriate state agencies to move forward with final approval expected later this fall which would allow for the building of a new Freestanding Medical Facility in Crisfield to be known as the McCready Health Pavilion,” she said. “This agreement puts Crisfield and Somerset County in a strong position now and in the future to ensure quality health care for local residents and keeps solid jobs here in Somerset County.”  

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