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Washington Adventist Hospital Withdraws Application for White Oak Campus, Begins Work on New Proposal

A state regulator recommended that the Maryland Health Care Commission deny the hospital’s request to build a larger facility in White Oak.

Washington Adventist Hospital has withdrawn its request to build a 48-acre campus in White Oak, but will rewrite and resubmit a new plan, President Joyce Newmyer announced Tuesday.

“Today, Washington Adventist Hospital sent a letter to the Maryland Health Care Commission withdrawing our current Certificate of Need application ahead of the Commission’s final vote on Oct. 18, while at the same time beginning work on a new application,” Newmyer wrote in a statement.

The Takoma Park hospital wants to build a state-of-the-art, 249-bed hospital in White Oak on a plot adjacent to the Food and Drug Administration’s headquarters. Hospital officials have said that the current location does not have enough private rooms and a narrow driveway makes it difficult for emergency vehicles and private cars to navigate in and out of the facility. 

In early September Barbara McLean, the state regulator assigned to review the hospital’s proposal, rejected the plans in a 174-page statement, stating that it “failed to demonstrate that the proposed project is financially feasible and viable.”

The full board of the Maryland Health Care Commission was slated to review McLean’s statement and render a final decision on Oct. 18. 

Ahead of the full commissioner meeting, Newmyer said that the hospital plans to retool their proposal and resubmit. 

“Today’s action allows us to immediately begin the process of working on a new application. While we do not yet know what the timeline is for our new application, we are committed to keeping everyone informed each step of the way,” she wrote.

“Adventist HealthCare and Washington Adventist Hospital remain absolutely committed to the current and future success of the hospital,” Newmyer continued.

“We are not giving up.” 

Three nearby hospitals submitted formal letters of dissent to the healthcare commission prior to McLean’s decision, citing concerns that the new hospital location would cut into their customer base.

Laurel Regional Hospital, located about 6 miles from the proposed hospital site; Montgomery General in Olney, about 10 miles away;  and Holy Cross in Silver Spring, about 7 miles south of the proposed site, all opposed the move.

McLean dismissed the competing hospital’s claims.

“I have found that the likely impact on other hospitals of the proposed project would not constitute a basis, in and of itself, for denial of the project,” she wrote. 

Takoma Park leaders declined to support or oppose the move, preferring to not take a formal position. 

County and state officials, including County Executive Isiah Leggett and Councilmember Nancy Navarro (D-Dist. 4) supported the move and have tied the move to economic growth in the eastern part of Montgomery County, with hopes of creating a health sciences corridor in East County. 

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