Charles Regional Medical Center shares enhancements planned for 2020

University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center’s newest neurologist, Dr. Frehiwot Derbew Temesgen, poses in her future space which is under construction next to the Bill and Julie Dotson Imaging Center in La Plata. Temesgen is currently seeing patients in the primary care suite.

Great things are in store at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center as it aims to become a top-rated medical facility with its slew of internal projects, all of which will accommodate the growing portfolio of outpatient services available in Southern Maryland.

Charles Regional is planning to ring in the new year by expanding its birthing center and opening a new neurology department and women’s health office for more convenient visits, as well as remodeling its emergency department to help improve patient flow and reduce waiting times.

Dr. Joseph Moser, a veteran physician who was named chief medical officer at CRMC in 2016, said a third obstetrician is expected to join the ranks at the end of January and in March, CRMC plans to launch its OB hospitalist program for physicians who work strictly in the hospital.

The hospital has also hired two nurse practitioners that will operate out of a new office space located on St. Patrick’s Drive in Waldorf.

“Having in-house obstetricians around the clock is a goal that we feel will really enhance the OB services that we can provide,” Moser told the Maryland Independent via phone on Jan. 8. “We had an unexpected decrease in our number of obstetricians last year. We went from five in practice to two so we’re building back up after that.”

The latest renovation at CRMC includes a highly anticipated neurology department, which will be housed in a space next to the Bill and Julie Dotson Imaging Center near the intersection of Washington Avenue and Rosewick Road in La Plata. The new neurologist, Dr. Frehiwot Derbew Temesgen, joined the group last month and is currently seeing patients in the primary care suite until her new space is available within the next couple of months.

“We’re really excited about having her,” ancillary services vice president Bill Grimes said during a separate phone interview. “In the future, we’ll be moving our surgical offices over there to the second floor. But that’s still a little ways out.”

The imaging center has a “3 Tesla MRI” which Moser said is “the most advanced high-resolution machine in the area.” In addition to constructing a new ambulatory-surgery center, Moser noted that a gastroenterology facility and endoscopy suite will be opening at the end of the summer or in early fall.

In the meantime, Grimes said “there’s a lot of activity” happening on the outside of CRMC’s emergency department as final repairs are being made from the earthquake damage of 2011. Those renovations should be finished by the end of March, according to Grimes.

Looking ahead to the future, Moser is hopeful that residents will stay close to home and seek medical services locally instead of leaving the area like many have done in the past. One of the things that Moser is most proud of is the way that CRMC “staff and administration are in touch with the community’s needs.”

All of these expansions, Moser said, are meeting important needs in the community.

“We haven’t been sitting on our hands around here,” said Moser, who has practiced in the medical field for more than 40 years. “We have talented people who are able to meet those needs, innovate services and yet still keep costs down.”

Although CRMC “can’t do everything” and doesn’t plan on becoming “a tertiary, academic teaching center,” Moser said the most important thing about improving quality of health care is being able to “recognize and change medical needs” through innovative and careful planning.

CRMC plans to have its annual gala later this year to celebrate all of the enhancements that were completed.

“Something that we’re all very proud of is the way we’ve been able to expand our services as we continue to improve healthcare to the community,” Grimes said. “We take seriously our role as a community hospital. This is where a lot of the care starts. We’re very proud of that role and will be committed to it.”

For more information, go to www.umms.org/charles.

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