Prince George's County Council Vice Chair Dannielle Glaros said thousands of Prince George's County residents seek medical services in other Maryland counties.
The Riverdale Park resident did this herself when a pediatrician recommended that she take her children to Montgomery County for medical care a few years back, she said. But the approval of a new medical facility in Largo could change that.
"What it means is we're able to bring back some of our residents," Glaros said.
On Thursday, Maryland Health Commissioner Robert E. Moffit recommended the approval of the new Largo medical facility, which is scheduled to open in 2020, Glaros said.
"That's sort of the key step we were waiting for," Glaros said.
Moffit's approval means the new facility obtained a certification of need, which the facility's planners, Dimensions Healthcare System and the University of Maryland Medical System, applied for more than three years ago, Glaros said.
The 15-member health commission will meet to approve the facility at the end of this month, according to a Washington Post article.
Glaros said Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III will work with the project's planners to transfer financial assets in the county to the project as the next step. Construction is scheduled to begin late next year or in early 2018 and be completed by 2020, Glaros said.
"In general we're incredibly excited, it's absolutely critical that we provide more and more healthcare to our community," Glaros said.
The purpose of the commission is to be sure the "hospital would be financially viable," Moffit wrote in an email.
Moffit recommended that the hospital's planners reduce the project's cost by $100 million and specify "how they would achieve operational efficiencies, improve management and governance in the new hospital, and expand much-needed access to primary care in the County," he wrote.
Additional ambulatory care, more rooms and surgical facilities are examples of services Glaros said will help grow the facility over time.
"We designed the facility so we could meet the health commission's thoughts at this place in time," Glaros said.
Medical centers in Cheverly, Bowie and Laurel are not quite at the scale of the university medical system, which is what they are aiming for, Glaros said.
"And that's part of where we're trying to go," she said.
Moffit wrote that the Prince George's Health Center in Cheverly has struggled with financial and managerial problems and that the state of Maryland hasn't adequately dealt with those issues through taxpayer subsidies.
With the Largo facility in the works, Glaros said there are plans to replace the Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly with the new hospital in Largo. This new location is five miles southeast of the current hospital in Cheverly, according to a Maryland Health Commission memo.
A UMMS spokeswoman, Karen Lancaster, wrote that the Largo facility pledges to offer "optimal patient care as well the responsible stewardship of community resources."
"Our success will be further enhanced by our strong partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine," Lancaster wrote.