Hopkins breaking ground with its first suburban health center

June 17, 1993|By Jonathan Bor | Jonathan Bor,Staff Writer

Johns Hopkins physicians will establish their first major presence in the suburbs with the planned construction of a $9.8 million health center at Green Spring Station, scheduled for completion in June 1994.

The four-story building, off Falls Road in Baltimore County, will accommodate up to 50 generalists and specialists in such fields as internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, obstetrics, dermatology and surgery. All physicians will have part-time or full-time appointments at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and privileges at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, officials said yesterday.

Many of the doctors planning to locate at Green Spring already maintain private practices in the city and suburbs. Gil Wylie, director of program development for Johns Hopkins Hospital, said the facility will house about 35 doctors when it opens but has enough space for 50.

Its location in the comfortable suburbs puts it many miles from the congestion and crime of East Baltimore, where Hopkins Hospital is located.

But Dr. Dana Frank, a physician who helped conceive the project, said the site was chosen mainly to provide a "collegial atmosphere" where Hopkins physicians could practice under one roof and to shorten the driving time for suburbanites wanting the services of Hopkins doctors.

"Doctors will be practicing with physicians of different specialties, and they'll all be Hopkins-based," said Dr. Frank, who along with six colleagues plans to move from his downtown office on Park Avenue.

"Also, patients find it increasingly difficult to come downtown. Increasingly, there are parking problems, and there's the commute time. We need to respond to that."

The location also puts the center in direct competition with the outpatient centers of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital, both in nearby Towson.

Vivienne Stearns-Elliott, director of community relations at Greater Baltimore Medical Center in suburban Towson, said of the possible competition, "We really don't know what the implications of the move are going to be. It could be that the health center will provide more patients to GBMC, so the impact could be positive, or it could be negative. It's dependent on what services will be offered there."

Lori Vidil, director of public relations at St. Joseph Hospital, said the hospital would have no comment.

Although Dr. Frank said the project was spearheaded by physicians, it was heavily influenced by Dr. James A. Block, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.

The health center is modeled, in part, on a similar facility in Cleveland known as the University Suburban Health Center. That center is associated with the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and the University Hospitals.

Dr. Block was president of University Hospitals from 1985 to 1991. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The Hopkins center will be built on a 4.3-acre site by the Mullan Construction Co. The architect will be D'Aleo Inc. The building will have the same design as one built three years ago on the same parcel. That building now houses offices of state government and the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group. Groundbreaking is planned for later this month.

The center is being financed by a limited partnership composed of the Johns Hopkins Health System and the Johns Hopkins endowment.

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