By Ashleigh Fields,
AFRO Assistant Editor,
Executives in Prince George’s County are expanding access to medical resources through a new state of the art health center set to open in 2025. The property located at 9001 Edmonston Road off Kenilworth Avenue in Greenbelt will be renovated and remodeled to replace the County Health Department’s aging Cheverly Health Center.
“I would like to thank the county executive
] for seeing the critical need for upgrading healthcare provisions in Prince George’s County and creating a collaborative county approach to address this,” said Dr. Matthew Levy, health officer, Prince George’s County Health Department at the groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 23.
Residents seeking treatment at this site will be offered services centered around behavioral health, dental, disease investigation and control in addition to a reproductive health resource center that will help treat sexually transmitted infections.
The county’s goal is to reduce patient wait times through tele-health services, modernize the waiting room experience and improve staff-to-patient ratios.
“Our timeline for this project consists of a design phase that will take about 12 months roughly, that will put us into late fall of 2024 followed by a repair by a general contractor to form a complete interior infrastructure buildout along with the exterior upgrades,” said Johnathan R. Butler, the director for the Prince George’s County Office of Central Services who promised to seek a county based small and minority business for contracting. “Given the scope and scale of the project, the interior infrastructure buildout is expected to be about 12-18 months which will put us in late fall or winter of 2025 and this will position us to be back here the following spring for a spectacular ribbon cutting of our new facility.”
Prince George’s County officials purchased the site for $8.9 million and invested an additional $18 million with hopes of modernizing the 80,000 square foot five story facility.
“I am thrilled to announce the opening of the amazing new health center here in Prince George’s county. I currently work in the Cheverly Health Center and we are in dire need of a new building,” said Ingrid Lewis who shared an emotional testimony about the obstacles she has overcome to help serve residents in Prince George’s County since 1999. Lewis currently serves as the manager of the immunization program at the Prince George’s County, Maryland, health department where she helps protect and vaccinate thousands of children each year.
However, her career first started in the breast cervical cancer screening program within the department where she grew a strong connection to her patients.
“This program meant a great deal to me because we were serving uninsured women who were unfortunately diagnosed with breast cancer and some were diagnosed with cervical cancer. But because of the breast cervical cancer screening program we were able to provide them with the treatment and the services they needed,” said Lewis. “We were able to save many lives.”
Her desire to improve care for patients transcended as she took on a role in the infant mortality program covering child fatality review. Lewis’ experiences have led her to appreciate this new health center and its impact on the county post-COVID.
“This new center represents the culmination of countless hours and tireless efforts from a dedicated team. As someone who has seen the work behind the scenes, I am deeply proud to be a part of this transformative journey,” said Lewis in regard to the groundbreaking.
The last speaker Councilwoman Ingrid Watson (D-PG County- District 4) echoed her praises to county leaders for the joint effort to open and upgrade the new health center.
“Before my election to the county council, I had the privilege of working in healthcare for Children’s National Hospital,” said Watson. “I saw firsthand the growing health needs of our community– especially in pediatric care– so shout out to Ingrid and her team with the immunization department. I have witnessed the powerful impact of our work together.”
Watson said she is certain that the new county health center in Greenbelt will be a “strong compliment to network of existing medical facilities” in the area, which includes the University of Maryland Bowie Health Center and the Rehabilitation Hospital of Bowie.
Watson explained that the new resources will “meet current and future community needs for healthy residents and communities that address serious health disparities.”