Regarding the Dec. 9 editorial "Prince George's health care at last on the mend":

The county, the state and the University of Maryland Medical System deserve credit for fixing "the hospital problem" in Prince George's County. The hospital building had for 40 years been deprived of the ability to make the substantial upgrades that modern medicine requires. 

But fixing the hospital will not automatically fix health care in the county, which has suffered for want of a vibrant organization to lead change. There is a shortage of primary-care physicians and a minimal network of outpatient services. The hospital will thrive only when it becomes a resource to a robust community-based care system. 

Effort and resources must be directed to building stronger community organizations. Montgomery County presents a model for what this comprehensive care system could accomplish. The two counties, while adjacent, could not be more different in the structure of their care systems and the resulting measures of the health of their residents. 

Despite the financial and policy inadequacies of the Prince George's Hospital Center, recognition is due the employees and physicians who make extraordinary efforts to serve their community. I have never seen people do more with less to ease suffering. The successes of the emergency and trauma programs are but two examples of what the hospital staff accomplishes every day for Prince George's County and all of Southern Maryland.    

John A. O'Brien, Hyattsville

The writer was president of Prince George's Hospital Center from 2004 to 2014.