Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published May 01, 2013




Jared Smith
Cell: (443) 370-6896

Mark Luckner – CHRC
Office: 410-260-7046




Proposal Aims to Improve Health Outcomes in Capitol Heights with 25 New Practitioners,

Additional Primary Care Options


SEAT PLEASANT, Md. (May 1, 2013) —Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown today held a press conference to present officials from the Prince George’s County Health Department (PGHD) with a ceremonial check for $1,100,000 to fund the Health Enterprise Zone (HEZ) in Capitol Heights, which will be managed by PGHD in partnership with a coalition of local and community partners. Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene W. Grant, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Community Health Resources Commissioner Dr. Charlene Dukes, County Health Officer Pamela B. Creekmur, community health advocates, and several other state and local officials also participated in the announcement.

“Making quality, preventative and primary care accessible to families facing tough economic challenges is essential in our effort to expand opportunity to all Marylanders,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “By investing in five new patient-centered medical homes right here through our Health Enterprise Zone program, we're making a real commitment to ensure better health outcomes for more than 10,000 residents of Prince George's County.”

Capitol Heights was announced as one of the first five locations in Maryland designated as a Health Enterprise Zone (HEZ) earlier this year at an event in Annapolis < Championed by the Lt. Governor and jointly administered by the Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC) and Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), the HEZ Initiative is a four-year pilot program with a budget of $4 million per year. Community coalitions in each of the five areas will receive a range of incentives, benefits, and grant funding to address unacceptable and persistent health disparities.

“I am excited about the opportunity that this designation gives the County to build on the health care resources we provide to residents in Capitol Heights,” said Pamela Creekmur, County Health Officer. “This grant will enable us to create five new patient-centered medical homes and 16 new providers, five community health workers, and four administrative staff who will serve a minimum of 10,000 residents.”

Subject to annual approval, PGHD will receive a total of $4,400,000 over the next four years to implement their HEZ proposal, which focuses on Capitol Heights, an underserved area comprised of 95 percent racial and ethnic minorities, currently experiencing the greatest public health challenges in Prince George’s County. With these funds, the County plans to create five new patient-centered medical homes in the Zone, which will serve a minimum of 10,000 residents and add a total of 25 new providers, including 11 full-time primary care physicians; five full-time nurse practitioners; two full-time dentists; and seven community health workers. These investments are targeted to make it easier for residents to access quality, preventative medical care. In turn, this will help reduce emergency room visits for preventive and chronic care; reduce the frequency of low birth weight infants and improve improvement in birth outcomes through earlier and improved prenatal care; and establish a sustainable expansion of the primary and community health workforce.

The Prince George’s-Capitol Heights HEZ proposal leverages a federal Community Transformation grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and County Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative. This represents an enormous increase in the capacity to deliver primary and preventative care in Prince George’s County.

The HEZ program was established by the Maryland Health Improvement & Health Disparities Reduction Act, signed into law in April 2012.  DHMH and the CHRC issued a Call for Proposals in October 2012 through which community organizations and local health departments could apply for HEZ designation status, to be awarded on a competitive basis.  Applications were evaluated based on a set of 13 review principles by an independent HEZ Review Committee comprised of experts in the fields of public health, health disparities, and health care delivery. Areas designated as HEZs will have access to a range of incentives that include state income tax credits; hiring tax credits; loan repayment assistance; priority entrance into the state’s Patient Centered Medical Home Program; priority for available state electronic health record grant funding; additional grant funding from the Community Health Resources Commission; and capital grant support.

"The Capitol Heights Health Enterprise Zone will bring critical primary care services to thousands of residents in a community that has a great need," said DHMH Secretary Dr. Sharfstein. "The tremendous energy and great ideas behind this project will support longer and healthier lives."

"The CHRC is delighted to support the Health Enterprise Zone Initiative," commented CHRC Commissioner Dr. Charlene M. Dukes. "This program will help reduce health disparities and build primary care capacity in Prince George's County."

The purposes of the HEZ Initiative are to: (1) Reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations and among geographic areas; (2) Improve health care access and health outcomes in underserved communities; and (3) Reduce health care costs and hospital admissions and readmissions. To receive designation as an HEZ, community coalitions identified contiguous geographic areas with measurable and documented economic disadvantage and poor health outcomes and proposed a creative plan for targeted investments in community health. Nineteen coalitions submitted proposals in fall 2012. The other four proposals chosen for the pilot program along with Prince George’s were for HEZs located in Anne Arundel County, Dorchester and Caroline Counties, West Baltimore, and St. Mary’s County.

For additional information about the HEZ Initiative, please visit <

Lt. Governor Brown leads the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s efforts to reduce costs, expand access, and improve the quality of care for all Marylanders. Under the leadership of Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown, Maryland has implemented reforms that have expanded health coverage to more than 375,000 Marylanders, half of whom are children, established Maryland’s Health Benefit Exchange, and put the State in position to maximize the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Independent analysis by the Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland Baltimore County has found that implementation of the ACA will benefit the state’s budget by $672 million through 2020, generate more than $3 billion in annual economic activity, cut the number of uninsured in half, and create more than 26,000 jobs.