Area hospital plans to open two centers Radiology, oncology sites would expand facility's services

'Multimillion-dollar' projects

County General working to meet residents' needs

December 20, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Carroll County General Hospital has two projects on the drawing board for 1999: the construction of an oncology center in Westminster and the opening of an outpatient radiology center at the nearby Richard N. Dixon Building.

The hospital's plan to build a one-story, 13,250-square-foot cancer treatment center on South Center Street is scheduled for a hearing before the county Board of Zoning Appeals on Dec. 29.

In the Dixon Building, the hospital plans to renovate the second floor to consolidate outpatient radiology services offered at Carroll County General and at a Poole Road facility operated by the hospital's partner, Advanced Radiology, P.A.

The hospital has added services or facilities in each of the past two years. The moves are not part of an overall plan to prepare for the 21st century, said David P. Horn, vice president for marketing and managed care.

"I don't know that they all fit into one single plan. But all these initiatives are geared to meeting the health care needs of the community," Horn said.

Horn said the oncology center's cost is not known, but he described the facility as "a multimillion-dollar project." It is scheduled to open late next year near Carroll Springs School.

The center will provide outpatient chemotherapy treatments, now available at the hospital and other local sites, and radiation oncology, new to Carroll. Cancer patients now have to travel for radiation treatments, "which

adds stress for people who are ill," Horn said.

The cancer center is a conditional use under county zoning law, requiring approval by the zoning appeals board. The developer, Dallas-based Physician Reliance LP, proposes to abandon a forest conservation easement to build the center.

'Not exempt'

James E. Slater Jr., county environmental services administrator, said he hasn't received a plan from the developer, but the hospital will have to comply with the county forest conservation ordinance.

"They're not exempt," he said.

"On occasion, if an easement exists and we can have a better situation -- we wouldn't allow it for a mature forest -- but if it is something that was planted for several years and they want to move it to another area, that might be a possibility," Slater said.

In the other project, 12,000 square feet on the second floor of the Dixon Building will be used for outpatient radiology services. That space is more than double the 5,000 square feet at the Poole Road building, said Mark Casner, regional director of operations for Advanced Radiology.

Twice current volume

The center is expected to provide nearly 50,000 imaging tests a year, more than twice the current volume performed by the hospital.

Casner declined to provide figures on costs, but described it as a "multimillion-dollar project." The radiology center is scheduled to open in April.

Radiology services offered will include radiography, CT scans and women's imaging services such as mammography, breast biopsy, ultrasound and osteoporosis screening. Magnetic resonance imaging now done at the hospital will be moved to the center.

Advanced Radiology, a Baltimore affiliated practice of 90 physicians, has a contract with the hospital to provide professional radiology services. Advanced Radiology is owned by Dallas-based American Physician Partners Inc., which reported net income of $3.4 million for the third quarter of this year.

Pub Date: 12/20/98

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