Montgomery County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist is expected to approve a plan next week to help the new Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Gaithersburg save money in its first few years of operation.
A spokesman for Gilchrist said the executive will agree to allow Shady Grove to delay paying rent to the county for the hospital site and for the use of a county-owned power generator for a period of five years.
The rent would amount to about $200,000 a year and the county plans to collect it later with interest, according to Charles Maier, the county's information officer.
A few weeks ago the hospital's financial experts suggested that the 224-bed facility may never open because it faced the prospect of losing $5 million annually. That prospect was due in part to the fact that the hospital expects to fill only half its beds in the first year.
However, The Washington Adventist Hospital, Shady Grove's sister institution in Takoma Park, has agreed to send some of its staff to Shady Grove to help offset some of the losses.
Washington Adventist, in what amounts to a $1.1 million annual subsidy of Shady Grove, has agreed to reduce its hospital rates so that the state would approve higher rates for Shady Grove.
At first, the state Cost Review Commission, which sets hospital rates, refused to allow Shady Grove to charge rates that would make up for the anticipated financial shortfall.
Although Shady Grove's rates are not yet official, they will be about $126 a day for room and board, according to the commission. Those rates, considerably less than those currently charged by Prince George's County hospitals, will make Shady Grove the second-most expensive hospital in the county; Montgomery General is charging $141.
Shady Grove is the only hospital located in the county's northwestern edge. It is scheduled to open in November.