Baltimore, MD – As COVID cases continue to climb, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has maintained and enhanced three Alternate Care Sites (ACSs) to assure the state has adequate hospital capacity. The state’s ACSs offer the most advanced and specialized treatment options available in Maryland for COVID-19 patients.
Maryland’s ACSs are located at Adventist HealthCare Takoma Park Hospital, the Baltimore Convention Center and University of Maryland Laurel Medical Center. The sites were constructed last spring to treat Marylanders requiring medical attention for COVID-19 and have specifically designed safety protocols, facility space and equipment. Physicians, nurses and other staff working at the ACSs are among the state’s leading experts in COVID-19 care.
“Alternate Care Sites are at the forefront of Maryland’s fight against the pandemic,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “These are cutting-edge facilities staffed by professionals who are focused on doing one thing: beating COVID-19.”
Governor Hogan issued an executive order in April giving the state the ability to build ACSs to meet the needs of the pandemic. Physicians are able to transfer patients with COVID-19 to one of these facilities from an emergency department or through an inter-hospital referral.
The state has provided equipment, technology, medications, staffing and logistical support for each of the ACSs. Partners at the University of Maryland Medical System, Johns Hopkins Medicine and Adventist HealthCare have provided medical expertise, facility space and clinical staff.
“We knew it was critical to expand our hospital capacity and create space for additional patients in the most appropriate setting,” said Acting MDH Secretary Dennis Schrader. “The state’s ACSs have provided the flexibility we need, and our partners have done a remarkable job of supporting these sites while continuing a high level of service throughout their existing hospitals.”
“These ACSs are state-of-the-art facilities that provide the latest therapies and rehabilitation techniques,” said Dr. Terrence Sheehan, the medical director at Adventist HealthCare’s Takoma Park ACS. “And we do this with some of the hardest-working and most compassionate staff in the field.”
Adventist HealthCare Takoma Park – The Adventist HealthCare Takoma Park ACS opened on May 26 and has served more than 360 patients to date. Approximately 150 nurses and 100 additional staff support operations at the facility.
Patients at the Adventist HealthCare ACS receive daily visits or therapy from an experienced, on-site rehabilitation team of physical, speech and occupational therapists to help them regain strength. The team at Adventist is proud of its innovations, including the use of athletic trainers, who give extra support to the patients to help them return home as soon as possible once they are COVID-negative. “This work is about more than treating patients for COVID-19,” said Dr. Sheehan. “It is also about restoring them physically.”
Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital – The Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital (BCCFH) is a joint operation of Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical System. This ACS was constructed in the exhibit hall of the Baltimore Convention Center, and it began admitting patients on April 27. Since opening, the BCCFH has treated more than 450 patients.
“Collaboration has been the theme of this operation all along,” said Dr. Charles Callahan, vice president of population health for the University of Maryland Medical Center and co-director of the BCCFH. “We have two of the best medical institutions in the country operating this facility together, and that has provided countless opportunities to share expertise and knowledge in ways that have benefited our patients.”
University of Maryland Laurel 3-4-5 – The UM Laurel Medical Center – which had transitioned from an inpatient hospital to an outpatient medical center in early 2019 – temporarily recommissioned over 100 hospital beds in April 2020 to establish an ACS. “These additional beds will help ensure community members have access to high-quality care at their greatest time of need,” said President and CEO of UM Capital Region Health Nathaniel Richardson Jr. The site is referred to as “3-4-5” because the third, fourth, and fifth floors of UM Laurel Medical Center were designated for COVID-19 inpatient care.
“ACSs are one of our secret weapons in the fight against COVID-19,” said Schrader. “The care that we are able to provide for Marylanders at these facilities is simply some of the best that is available. I encourage physicians and families to take advantage of these resources.”