James Rada, Jr.
(2/21) While Frederick Memorial
Hospital is interested in opening a facility
in Thurmont, it won’t be an emergency care
facility and it could be a decade away before
“With time I’d like to have a presence out
here in Thurmont,” Tom Kleinhanzl, president
and CEO of Frederick Memorial Hospital, told
the Thurmont town commissioners during a
Kleinhanzl stopped in Thurmont to talk to
the commissioners about recent changes at the
hospital and future plans. The hospital is
finishing a $103-million expansion/renovation
that has created a new emergency department, a
new operating suite, turned all of the patient
rooms into private rooms and more.
“There’s not much of the main hospital we
have touched over the past 4-5 years,”
Commissioner Ron Terpko praised FMH’s
service. He spent time in the hospital
recently and said, “I had my own room. I had
my own shower. I had my own TV and when I rang
the bell, somebody brought me something to
drink. I didn’t want to go home.”
However, Commissioner Glenn Muth was more
critical of the hospital. Referring to the
length of time it took him to be seen during
an emergency room visit, he said, “If it’s an
emergency, it shouldn’t take all night to get
Kleinhanzl said the hospital had done a lot
to increase emergency room staffing, but part
of the problem in the emergency room is that
there aren’t enough patient beds to move
patients from the emergency room into. FMH has
about 66,000 emergency room visits a year,
which is equivalent to what hospitals with
350-400 beds have, according to Kleinhanzl.
FMH has 250 beds.
Muth was also critical of the cost of care
at FMH. He compared the costs to those of an
emergency room visit his daughter had in West
Virginia that cost $450.
“My perception is you can’t sneeze in
Frederick Memorial for $450,” Muth said.
Even with the expansion project concluding,
the hospital still needs to grow. The hospital
workload grew by 12 percent last year and
Kleinhanzl said if all FMH locations are taken
into account, FMH has the second- or
third-busiest emergency department in the
state. Kleinhanzl said the hospital will add
20-30 more patient beds over the next year and
50 or more over the next few years.
“We need to continue to grow as the county
grows,” Kleinhanzl said.
Part of the hospital’s growth plan is to
expand with satellite facilities into the
community. However, the need for such
facilities is driven by the population of the
area, which is why Urbana has a satellite
Kleinhanzl said that expansion into
Thurmont is in the hospital’s 10-year growth
plan, but the planned facility would be a site
for routine x-rays and blood drawing. This
would be much like what Wellspan Health
already has in downtown Thurmont.
“Hopefully, you’ll keep it on your radar,”
said Commissioner Wayne Hooper.