Addressing Disparities in Southern Maryland
Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown this week traveled to Southern Maryland to announce that the Greater Lexington Park Health Enterprise Zone would receive $750,000 in state funding to help reduce health disparities in the area.
MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown, Md., a trusted leader in the community for providing care and advancing health, will partner with community organizations to manage the Health Enterprise Zone (HEZ).
The hospital plans to create a new community health care center and add primary care practitioners, social workers and a psychiatrist.
Officials chose Greater Lexington Park as one of the first five HEZs at an event in Annapolis earlier this year. The HEZ Initiative is a four-year pilot program with an annual budget of $4 million. The purposes of the program include reducing health disparities among geographic areas and racial minorities, improving health care access and health outcomes in underserved communities and reducing hospital admissions, readmissions and health care costs. Community coalitions embracing the initiative receive a range of benefits, incentives and grant funding to address persistent health disparities.
The proposal for the Greater Lexington Park Area strives to improve public health outcomes in the Lexington Park, Park Hall and Great Hills communities of St Mary’s county. Those communities combat severe shortages of primary care physicians. The proposal also includes making a 16-mile “health care transportation route” addressing health care access barriers in underserved communities.
These changes aim to reduce preventable hospital emergency visits, admissions and readmissions for chronic diseases in the Greater Lexington Park Zone.