Monday, March 30, 2020

Montgomery County's shortage of hospital beds: I told you so - ten years ago

Headline from my March 9, 2010 article
calling for 2 new hospitals to be built in
Montgomery County
My uncanny ability to predict Montgomery County's future could have been put to good use had I been elected to the County Council when I first ran ten years ago. Thanks to a news blackout by a local press controlled by the County's political cartel, that hasn't happened. But what I've predicted in articles and speeches has consistently happened. The latest controversy over Montgomery County's missing hospital beds reminded me of a ten-year-old article I wrote arguing for the need to build two additional hospitals in the county, entitled, "A Real Health Care Plan for Montgomery County."

According to the Maryland Department of Health, Montgomery County is 500 beds short of the number it will need to serve coronavirus patients at the peak of the outbreak. Imagine if we had started on the long process of adding our hundreds of missing hospital beds ten years ago.

In 2010, there were proposals on the table from Adventist Healthcare and Holy Cross to build a new upcounty hospital. This followed Montgomery County's failure to require more beds in approving Suburban Hospital's expansion plan a few years earlier, something I also criticized County officials for at the time.

State and County officials were determined to build only one new hospital upcounty. Looking at the 2002 SARS and 2009 H1NI pandemics, and the fact that the D.C. region is a major terror target, I correctly saw our needs differently.

"I believe that our county and state must commit the resources necessary to build both projects, and make further investments over time to expand those facilities, if we are to face the health and public safety challenges the near future poses," I wrote. "The need for more hospital beds could not be more clear."

I noted an incident one day in January 2007, when a norovirus outbreak and a large number of flu victims overwhelmed the emergency departments at Suburban, Sibley and Shady Grove hospitals with sick patients. Ambulances bringing patients with other injuries or illnesses were being diverted to other hospitals, according to a first responder familiar with events that day.

"Imagine what the situation will be if a terror attack, disease outbreak, or natural disaster does occur," I warned. "It's time to wake up. And time to build two hospitals."

Remember when I was right about the underground fuel spill in Bethesda, the need to find the "missing" African-American cemetery before starting the Westbard sector plan process, the BETCO property land swap money not going to the Little Falls watershed as promised by the Council, the plan to bulldoze existing single-family home neighborhoods the Council finally admitted in 2019, and what a fiscal disaster the County's finances would be in if we hit an economic downturn (like is happening just now?). "We can't go on like this," I told several County Council debate audiences in 2010 about our structural budget deficit, out-of-control spending, declining revenue and skyrocketing debt.

Just to name a few. Too bad you wound up with the council members who brought you more important government actions, like banning trans fats, circus animals and tanning beds for teenagers.

When coronavirus hits Montgomery County full strength in the weeks ahead, and we don't have enough hospital beds, many residents may find themselves once again having voter's remorse.


  1. Ultra Liberal politicians and left wing policies are the root of a lot of trouble. Since the 1960s.

    1. Interesting. You must be a political science major. Looking forward to you expanding on this. Please explain what policies caused what problems?

    2. Try Globalization for starters.I am willing to bet we are now seeing the end of this horrible idea.