Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Towson was breaking ground today for a six-year, $100 million-plus expansion.
The Maryland Hospital Association says this expansion is the costliest ever undertaken by a community hospital in Maryland.
Robert O. Kowal, president of the non-profit hospital, calls the project "a vision of the future of health care."
"Our plans will satisfy the hospital's growth in four main specialties -- women's health, surgical services, critical care medicine and medical oncology," Kowal says.
Kowal says GBMC has made a profit in each of the last six years but the money was put back into the operation of the hospital. He says GBMC will not request a rate increase to finance the expansion. The hospital will borrow $40 million, launch a $17 million community capital campaign and rely on "internally generated funds," he says.
GBMC, successor to the Presbyterian Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in downtown Baltimore and the Women's Hospital in Bolton Hill, was built in 1965 for $12 million.
Phase I of the expansion is a $70 million project that is to be completed by August 1993. It is to include a building for obstetrics, acute care and surgery, a new physicians' pavilion and a 900-car parking garage.
"This project will develop the capacity for 7,000 births a year and satisfy the demand for additional surgical time by adding 30 percent to our existing capacity," Kowal says.
"In spite of last year's expansion of GBMC's Sherwood Ambulatory Surgery Center -- built in 1979 and the first in the state -- we are already unable to meet the heavy surgical demand we are experiencing. For elective surgery, there is a wait of several months," he says.
Phase II is to involve more than $30 million of additional projects to meet GBMC's increasing service volumes, emergency room needs and technological advances, Kowal says.
Annually, GBMC does the most surgeries in Maryland -- over 25,000 -- and delivers the most babies in the Baltimore area -- over 4,500 -- records of state hospital planners and regulators show.
The 362-bed hospital off the 6700 block of N. Charles St. is one of the lowest-cost hospitals in the state, ranking 38th out of 52 in cost per admission, according to the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission, the agency that regulates hospital rates.
For each of the last six years, GBMC has made about $2.9 million in profits.
"This is a major reinvestment in health care in Maryland and Baltimore County for one of the state's referral center hospitals," Kowal says. "Our in-vitro fertilization program for childless couples and our gynecologic cancer and head and neck cancer centers draw patients from across the country and even abroad."
* 7 more operating rooms; total of 29.
* New, three-story critical-care tower adds 14 critical-care beds; total of 36.
* 6 more neo-natal intensive care units; total of 30.
* 8 more obstetrical suites; total of 24 units.
* 17 new labor, delivery and recovery rooms.
* Renovation of maternity units and nursery.
* Increases on-campus doctors' office space to 240,000 square feet by adding a 110,000-square-foot pavilion; six surgical suites on first floor, major regional oncology center on second floor.