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Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland to build research and science center in East Baltimore

The state's two major research institutions, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, College Park , are partnering to build a research and science center in East Baltimore opening September 2014. The state is spending $27 million and Hopkins is contributing $3 million toward the $30 million public/private venture whose goal is to make Maryland’s universities and private industry more competitive in the sciences.

The High Performance Research Computing Facility will consist of multiple buildings on land leased from Hopkins on its 350-acre Bayview Medical campus, at 4940 Eastern Ave. Expected to break ground in November, the center will be set off from other buildings and have its own separate entrance. The universities will finish site design this month and then bid the project to vendors. 
 
While the facility is unique in Maryland, other states, notably Massachusetts and New York, have launched similar data centers. Hopkins' vice provost of research Scott Zeger says the facility will allow the two universities to compete in scientific fields. Last year, faculty and administrators at Johns Hopkins and UMCP formed a scientific governing group to oversee the facility. 
  
“We are building a world-class facility,” he says, that will spur public/private partnerships in scientific research and hopefully create spinoff companies. 

The High Performance Research Computing Facility will be used for fields whose solutions require “extreme computation,” says Zeger. These include big data, cybersecurity, language processing, genomics and molecular chemistry.
 
The center will consist of a small administrative building for the four to five people who will operate the facility and smaller buildings to hold the computing and storage equipment. The center will initially consist of one building to hold equipment but there is room on the site for up to five such structures. 
 
Zeger says the construction of subsequent buildings depends on state funding, federal grants and partnerships with other universities in the region and private industry. The facility's operating cost is put at $3 million to $5 million per year, and Zeger expects partnerships and other funding to defray the cost.
 
According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, money for the project has been designated in the capital budgets for FY 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Source: Scott Zeger, Johns Hopkins University
Writer: Barbara Pash
 
  
 
 

 
 

Maryland VA Hospitals Plan Major Expansion

Seeking to address an increased demand for health care services, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System plans to spend $41 million on construction and renovation projects at several facilities in the Baltimore area this summer.
 
The project includes a renovation to the atrium of the system’s downtown location and construction of a linear accelerator for cancer treatment. Linear accelerators generate high-energy electrons and X-rays. A new rehabilitation and robotics center and an extensive addition to an existing building are planned at the system’s location off Loch Raven Road in Baltimore. 
 
The upgrades are part of a statewide renovation project for the health care system that includes three inpatient facilities and six outpatient clinics throughout the state.
 
The system offers medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health, and outpatient care to more than 52,000 veterans annually in Maryland.
 
The construction projects will also add new clinical programs to benefit Veteran patients and increase clinical and administrative space, says chief of public and community relations at the VA Maryland Healthcare System, R. David Edwards. 
 
At the Baltimore VA Medical Center at 10 N. Greene St., construction and renovations are planned to improve patient access and expand clinical programs. The new space will be used by 400 patients each week, officials say. 

 Construction is ongoing on the linear accelerator suite that will be central to the center's new radiation oncology program. Officials expect construction to be completed by next summer.
 
Additional administrative and clinical space at the center will be created through a 20,000 square-foot addition to the center's front atrium and a 20,000 square-foot renovation to existing space. A robotics space and a modern media center will be added and is projected to be completed by early fall.
 
Construction is underway at the Loch Raven VA Outpatient Clinic in north Baltimore which is the site for a new,15,000-square-foot rehabilitation research center. Designed to better serve Maryland veterans who are stroke survivors or in need of physical rehabilitation, the $8.1 million center will include specialized equipment and gym spaces.
 
At the Loch Raven VA Community Living and Rehabilitation Center, a 23,000 square-foot addition to the facility currently underway will add multi-purpose rooms and expand hospice and therapy areas.
 
A rise in military enrollments following the 9/11 attacks and conflicts in the Middle East has precipitated a rise in demand for post-service health care services. The VA is also responding to the increasing numbers of women veterans now coming into the system, officials say. 
 
A recent report from the Associated Press says 45 percent of American's newest veterans, those from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, file for disability benefits for injuries they say are service-related.
 
 
Source: R. David Edwards, chief of Public and Community Relations at the VA Maryland Health Care System, Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System. 

Writer: Alexandra Wilding, alexandra@bmoremedia.com


Nebraska Healthcare Company to Open Columbia Office

A healthcare management company with extensive state and federal government contracts will open an office in Columbia next month.
 
Headquartered in Omaha, StrategicHealthSolutions LLC plans to expand its real estate footprint to include a 8,800-square-foot space in Columbia Corporate Park. The company will invest $125,000 in its expansion, CEO Peg Stessman says.
 
The company plans to grow from its six employees in Maryland to fill the office space that can accommodate as many as 50 workers, Stessman says.
 
The skill-set of area workers drew the company to the region, as many prospective employees are familiar with running government programs.
 
Compared to a location like Omaha, where government contracts are less common, Stessman says she will have a choice of "thousands" of potential employees compared with a "handful."
 
"Omaha isn't known as a government contract mecca," Stessman says.
 
The company's headquarters will remain in Omaha.
 
The company specializes in healthcare management, including education and training, medical review, monitoring and compliance and auditing, particularly with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
 
The small business has steadily expanded over the past six and currently has 101 employees.

Stessman says she plans to divide her time evenly between Columbia and Omaha. After working out of hotel rooms and coffee shops for several years, she says she can't wait for an office. 

Source: Peg Stessman, says president and CEO of StrategicHealthSolutions.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, alexandra@bmoremedia.com

Carroll Hospital Center to Break Ground Next Year on Cancer Center

Plans are moving forward on a new $27 million cancer hospital at the Carroll Hospital Center that officials say will better serve patients in the area.

The hospital plans to break ground on the project in early 2013 and open in 2014. The hospital is currently seeking donations for the center and plans to finance the center with cash and ongoing donations, says Sharon Sanders, assistant vice president for service line management for Carroll Hospital Center.

Last year, the hospital took over the operations of a neighboring care unit in preparation for its growth in cancer care. 
 
The Westminster hospital plans to expand an existing building into a 42,500-square-foot facility that will serve cancer patients seeking treatments and rehabilitation all under one roof, Sanders says. 
 
The expansion will provide services to area residents that have to travel, sometimes daily, to downtown Baltimore for treatment.
 
The combination of a rise of cancer rates as well improvements in treatment has lead to an increase in population of patients needing medical care. To support the increase, the hospital must expand and improve, Sanders says.
  
Some of the planned additions to the center include the addition of eight new chemotherapy chairs and a second machine for radiation. The hospital wants provide wellness and disease management programs, and classroom spaces for educational programming.
 
Carroll Hospital Center acquired their current cancer center in July 2011 from US Oncology.
 
Source: Sharon Sanders, assistant vice president for service line management for Carroll Hospital Center.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding
 

Wellness Center Opens in Columbia

A teacher at Tai Sophia Institute has opened her own wellness center in Columbia.

Jade Connelly-Duggan this month opened WisdomWell LLC, which offers acupuncture, massage, herbal treatments, yoga and nutrition counseling at 8955 Guilford Rd., just south of Broken Land Parkway.

The daughter of Tai Sophia founders Bob Duggan and Dianne Connelly, the business owner spent $30,000 to open the 4,700 square foot office. The space includes nine treatment rooms and a yoga studio.

Owned by Liberty Property Trust, the building faces a koi pond and extensive landscaping. Close to Routes 29 and 32, it’s also easy to get to, Connelly-Duggan says. The site is also near the Mall in Columbia and King’s Contrivance Village Center.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Jade Connelly-Duggan

Advanced Radiology, American, Merge in $40M Deal

The parent company of Advanced Radiology has acquired its major competitor for $40 million, creating one of the largest imaging service providers in the region.
 
RadNet Inc has acquired the majority of US imaging centers operated by CML Healthcare, including CML's subsidiaries American Radiology and the Imaging Institute.
 
“Our hope is that it is good news for the Baltimore market in that RadNet can bring its operating expertise to the area with these centers and improve what they're doing for the future.” says RadNet Executive Vice President Steve Forthuber.
 
RadNet operates 233 radiology centers in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and California. The acquisition of American Radiology adds 2,000 employees and 61 radiology and imaging centers to RadNet's portfolio in the area.
 
"We're hard at work understanding all aspects of the (American) operation in Maryland so that we can make sure that we're providing high quality services, ” Forthuber says. “We plan on operating all of the centers with the objective of enhancing operations.”
 
RadNet says it intends to keep all of its Baltimore area centers open and maintain the same radiologists and staffers at all of the newly acquired American Radiology centers. The company may cut corporate positions where there is overlap.
 
Source: Steve Forthuber, RadNet
Writer: Amy McNeal


Johns Hopkins Hospital's Six-Year, $1 Billion Expansion to Open in April

After six years of construction, Johns Hopkins Hospital's massive $1 billion-plus expansion will be completed in November and open its doors in April.

Hiring has begun hiring for the nearly 700 workers, largely nurses and other clinicians, needed to staff the new hospital, says Ted Chambers, administrator for the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

The 1.6 million-square-foot hospital will include two connected 12-story towers: one for cardiovascular and critical care and the other to house a children’s hospital.

The expanded hospital will include more lounge and support areas for families.

“It’s a huge change for us and gives us the ability to serve families in a way we’ve never done before,” Chambers says. “The buildings will be a lot quieter and restful.”

Funding for the twin towers comes primarily from New York Mayor and Johns Hopkins University alum Michael Bloomberg and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The new complex will include 560 patient beds—355 for adults and 205 for children.

Other features include:
• 224 adult acute care rooms;
• 96 adult intensive care rooms;
• 35 obstetrics rooms;
• 120 pediatric acute care rooms; and,
• 85 pediatric intensive care rooms.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Ted Chambers, Johns Hopkins Hospital

LifeBridge Acquires Physical Therapy Clinics in Baltimore, Harford Counties

LifeBridge Health's sports medicine division has acquired a Baltimore-area physical therapy practice, giving it an another five clinics and nearly doubling its patients.

The clinics it acquired from Henning & Cole Therapy Associates are located in Hunt Valley, Bel Air, Essex, Perry Hall, and Belcamp, bringing its total number to 11.

The expansion in physical therapy also allows the health care organization to keep its grip on aging baby boomers as they stay active longer.
Having more clinics makes it easier for LifeBridge to keep patients once they leave the hospital and seek physical therapy, says Matt Carlen, executive director of LifeBridge's wellness division. LifeBridge will handle about 6,000 physical therapy patients per month with the acquisition.

Each of the Henning & Cole clinics pulls in about $1 million in revenue, Carlen says. He declined to disclose the purchase price. The practice was known for relying on manual, hands-on therapy more than machines, he says.

LifeBridge Health
is composed of Sinai Hospital, Northwest Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Courtland Gardens Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and LifeBridge Health and Fitness.


Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Matt Carlen, LifeBridge


Saint Agnes Hospital Breaks Ground on $2M Residence for Patients' Families

Saint Agnes Hospital is building a residence that will house the families of patients with long-term illnesses.

Willard Hackerman, CEO of Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., and wife, Lillian Patz Hackerman, donated $2 million to support the building. To be completed in spring 2012, the Hackerman-Patz House will initially house the Daughters of Charity, the nuns that founded the Catonsville hospital.

The 16-room residence will eventually be equipped with "hotel-style" services, such as housekeeping and a check-in desk for guests, says William Greskovich, the hospital's vice president of operations.

As of now, there is no place for patients' families traveling from outside the state to stay on the hospital campus, Greskovich says.

The 13,000-square-foot, two-story, building will also include a chapel, kitchen, dining room, and community room.

A 314-bed hospital, Saint Agnes was founded in 1862 by the Daughters of Charity to serve the poor. It includes a Cancer Institute, a Women's and Children's Health Institute, an Orthopaedic and Spine Institute, and a Cardiovascular Institute.

Hackerman-Patz houses are located on the campus of other Greater Baltimore hospitals, including Sinai Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: William Greskovich, Saint Agnes Hospital

Baltimore Washington Medical Center $31M Operating Room Expansion Underway

Baltimore Washington Medical Center is adding three new operating rooms that will enable its doctors to perform more complex neurosurgeries and orthopedic surgeries. Those services will be needed as baby boomers age and the county gets an influx of new residents.

The $31 million expansion will be completed in September, BWMC spokesman Kevin Cservek says.

The money for the new OR rooms comes from a bond sale from the University of Maryland Medical System, which BWMC is a part of, and the 321-bed hospital's fundraising efforts.

The 27,500-square-foot addition will give it a total of 17 operating rooms. As part of the construction, the hospital will add three empty rooms that will give it the space to add surgery equipment to those spaces if there is demand in the future, Cservek says. Hospital officials believe they will see this demand.

One of two hospitals in Anne Arundel County, BWMC is close to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The county is expected to handle more patients as more residents move to the area because of the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure. And as the baby boomers age, they will need more hip replacements and so forth, Cservek says.

The expansion will help BWMC transition from being a community hospital to a regional medical center, he says. The hospital plans to renovate 16,000 square feet of existing operating room space as part of the expansion.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Kevin Cservek, BWMC


University of Maryland to Build $200M Cancer Treatment Center on Baltimore's West Side

The University of Maryland School of Medicine is building a $200 million proton therapy cancer treatment center, the first of its kind in the area to offer a certain type of radiation treatment.

The 100,000-square foot building will be built at the University of Maryland BioPark on the city's west side. The cancer center will break ground in August and faculty members could begin providing treatments as early as 2014. The center will serve 2,000 patients annually.

The medical school's radiation oncology practice plan has signed a letter of intent with Advanced Particle Therapy LLC of Minden, Nev., to create the Maryland Proton Treatment Center LLC. The center will design, own, and operate the center while the University of Maryland faculty will provide clinical management and therapeutic services.

The center will create 435 jobs, including 325 construction jobs and 110 jobs in the life sciences industry. Those jobs include radiation
oncologists, medical physicists, radiation technologists, other medical support personnel, and administrative staff.

Proton therapy uses a proton beam to deliver radiation more precisely to the tumor site than with standard X-ray radiation, resulting in less overall radiation exposure. The treatment is used for many common cancers as well as for some rarer instances of the disease.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: University of Maryland, Baltimore

Pharmaceutical Company Questcor to Open at Columbia Business Park

A biopharmaceutical company that is seeking FDA approval for a drug to treat infantile spasms plans to open a new office in Columbia.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. has signed a lease for a 6,186-square-foot office at Columbia Corporate Park. The new office is located at 6011 University Blvd. and will open Nov. 1.

Based in Union City, Calif., Questcor primarily focuses on treating rare central nervous system disorders. It is currently seeking FDA approval for its H.P. Acthar Gel to treat infantile spasms. The decision was supposed to come last month, but was delayed by the FDA. The drug is currently used to treat multiple sclerosis.

The Columbia office will focus on clinical research and regulatory affairs.

"Due to the significant growth Questcor has experienced and expects to continue, we are significantly expanding our R&D workforce in Columbia," said Dr. David Young, chief scientific officer, in a statement.

The company will be adding several employees to the office, including a vice president of clinical research, a manager of regulator affairs and a director of clinical research.

Questcor signed the lease with Baltimore's Merritt Properties LLC. Other leases Merritt has signed this year at Columbia Corporate Park include White Cliffs Consulting LLC, Trusant Technologies LLC and Maroon PR.

Questcor's drug Doral is used to treat insomnia.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Dr. David Young, Questcor


University of Maryland Debuts $62M Pharmacy Building

After more than 15 years of planning, the University of Maryland opened its new $62 million pharmacy school Oct. 5 on the city's west side.

Construction began nearly two years ago on the 128,951-square-foot building. The expansion will help address a shortage of skilled pharmacists in the state.

The seven-story building includes lecture halls equipped with technology for distance learning, experiential learning facilities, and research laboratories. It also includes a dispensing laboratory with state-of-the-art robotics. The building features two 200-seat lecture halls, classrooms, and seminar rooms. To help train pharmacists with expanded health care roles, facilities in the new building are designed to evaluate how students carry out clinical examinations of patients.

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
will house 135 employees and will allow the school to boost its operational revenues and research activities by $14.9 million.

School officials are seeking a Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for the building.

Founded in 1841, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is the fourth oldest school of pharmacy in the nation.

University of Maryland, Baltimore isn't the only school featuring a new pharmacy building project. The College of Notre Dame of Maryland broke ground on its $13 million pharmacy building in May. The 25,000-square-foot building will be completed summer 2011.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: University of Maryland


Sinai Hospital opens $2.3M pediatric clinic

Sinai Hospital has opened a $2.3 million pediatric cancer outpatient center to boost its reputation for delivering child health care services.
The center treats leukemia, anemia, sickle cell disease and other disorders.

It also provides pediatric residency training. The project is part of a $30 million inpatient facility that will take 16 to 20 months to complete.

The clinic moved from its ground floor location to a newly created space near the main hospital entrance, providing easier access and proximity to other hospital services as well as the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute.

The new space is above-ground with a lot of windows and lights. At 4,800 square feet, it contains five exam rooms, five private infusion rooms and large playrooms for kids.

The former pediatric center was located underground and was less than half the size.

There's a family refreshment area where patients can bring their lunches.

"It's a better atmosphere in every way, " says Dr. Joseph Wiley, chairman of the pediatrics department at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai.

The new center contains larger exam rooms and is equipped with electronic health records.

A private family conference room is located next to the clinic and social worker offices which provide a space for learning resources as well as private family meetings.

Wiley says he likes the neighborhood because it's at the junction of Baltimore City and Baltimore County and can attract patients from both.

Sinai employs 4700. The Baltimore hospital is part of LifeBridge Health, which includes Northwest Hospital, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital and Courtland Gardens Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

Writer: Julekha Dash
Source: Dr. Joseph Wiley, Sinai Hospital


MICA plots new community arts building at EBDI

The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is opening a community arts center in East Baltimore that will expand its graduate programs and hopefully boost its relationship with the community.

The school is spending $1.2 million to renovate the 24,000-square-foot building at 814 N. Collington Avenue, funding for which came from the Rouse Co. Foundation, the Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation and an anonymous trustee. MICA expects the center, the former St. Wenceslaus School, to open mid-September.

Called MICA Place, the space will host graduate courses in community arts and social design and community meetings. It will also contain art studios, a computer laboratory, exhibition space and graduate apartments.

The center will allow students to use their art in a way that engages the community, says Ray Allen vice president of academic affairs and provost.

For instance, students pursuing a Master's in Community Arts might work with youth in East Baltimore to learn photography and use the art as a medium for reflecting on the issues facing the neighborhood, Allen says.

"I had it in my head that art and design could be put at the service of increasing the quality of life in the community," Allen says. "We can engage the community is a much richer way."

MICA has had a stake in East Baltimore for a decade, as part of a collaboration called the MICA/JHU Design coalition. Johns Hopkins University researchers tap the design expertise of MICA students to create graphics to deliver public health messages.

MICA is leasing the building from nonprofit East Baltimore Development Inc., the nonprofit that oversees the massive biotechnology park and residential development near Johns Hopkins Hospital.

"It's a wonderful building in East Baltimore," Allen says. "It will be a great place where people in the community can brought in."

Having a physical presence in the community will give MICA visibility and credibility, Allen hopes.

"This will give us community trust, that we're not some elitist outside organization visiting," he says.  "At the end of the day, education is our mission. Art is our vehicle for doing it."

Read more of Bmore's education coverage.

Source: Ray Allen, Maryland Institute College of Art
Writer: Julekha Dash
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