January-February 2012 | CENTER OF EXCELLENCE

Peggy Naleppa, PRMC’s President and CEO and PRMC Foundation President Denise Billing



From a tiny hospital born shortly after the Civil War, Peninsula Regional Medical Center now proudly stands as one of the finest medical institutions in the country

Written By: Nick Brandi | Photographer: Stephen Cherry

Once upon a time, when the Eastern Shore was all but corn and hunt, a tiny hospital was built in the crossroads town of Salisbury. It was just 32 years after the Civil War ended.
“That little hospital in Salisbury,” as it was called as late as the 60’s, has roared into the 21st century on a mission.
Peninsula Regional Medical Center didn’t achieve the venerated status it now holds in healthcare overnight. Once only a two-story building in the Jim Crow era, the facility has evolved dramatically since first treating Olivia Wooten of Delmar on the hospital’s opening day in October 1897. 
PRMC, as it is christened now, forged an undaunted, tireless campaign of innovation and excellence in its 114-year history. That has created a path for an emergence as not only the largest but also the most sophisticated healthcare facility on the Eastern Shore.
Peggy Naleppa, PRMC’s President and CEO stated, “Today, we are the fifth largest healthcare system in the state of Maryland, and we are considered the regional medical center for Delmarva, responsible for serving six counties. That’s why we’re called Peninsula Regional Medical Center. Our center is now a top-ranking facility, both in overall quality and advanced services.”
Naleppa credits an outstanding team of physicians,executives and caregivers who have worked very closely with her as the central reason why the 363-bed Medical Center is the pre-eminent regional healthcare leader, and the recipient of numerous national rankings. Together, they have overseen the revitalization of the campus into a cutting edge epicenter for cancer, heart and orthopaedic care. 
Of the hospital’s numerous awards and achievements, the one the president is most proud of came last year. After a long competitive process, PRMC was chosen to join the elite Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network. 
“To receive that level of validation from such a revered institution I think says a lot about us and where we are in the industry,” Naleppa added.
PRMC also received the 2011 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence by HealthGrades, Inc., the nation’s largest provider of independent hospital ratings. PRMC is the only healthcare facility on the Delmarva Peninsula to receive this recognition three years running in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The rating placed the medical center in the top 5% of all U.S. hospitals. 
In one of its new positions as a Primary Stroke Center, Peninsula Regional has garnered a “Perfect Score” Certification from the Joint Commission Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The institution also received the same “Perfect Score” endorsement in what is known as AMI, the treatment of heart attack. 
Additionally this year, the health care center’s Transitional Care Unit was awarded a “5 Star Rating” by the U.S. News and World Report in that magazine’s Best Nursing Homes Study.
To house the newest technologies for the hospital’s highly acclaimed specialties, a massive expansion has been under way over the last few years. Even today, properties south of PRMC are being acquired to facilitate future plans for high technology growth, with the goal of serving the needs of patients for decades to come. 
Next for PRMC is a $3 million drive to renovate and expand their operating rooms, which have not received a major facelift since 1977. New technology and innovative operating techniques have rendered the existing spaces too small for certain procedures. PRMC will retain its current number of operating rooms but will enlarge each so that ORs can accommodate a broader spectrum of surgical processes, increasing its services and lessening wait times for patients.
What few people realize is that Peninsula Regional is a not-for-profit entity. In Maryland, reimbursements are set by the state’s rate-setting agency. In order for PRMC to provide its wide variety of services, the medical center loses money on many of them.
Denise Billing, President of the Peninsula Regional Medical Center Foundation, says, “ We accept all patients regardless of their insurance or ability to pay, which is certainly not the case with all hospitals. The result is that PRMC provides almost $3 million per month in uncompensated care to those in our region. That’s why we rely so heavily on support from the community.”
PRMC and its 3,400 physicians, nurses, volunteers and administrators are a combined entity striving for perfection in the primary needs of the Eastern Shore. The Center’s singular and collective vision, talent and uncompromised dedication enshrine them as leaders in a reformist healthcare movement.
While the original footprint of “the little hospital in Salisbury” has been transformed, the dedication, loyalty and perseverance of PRMC’s forefathers shines as brightly as it did more than 100 years ago. With those core values in mind, Peninsula Regional Medical Center continues to achieve new heights as the leader of medicine, treatment and research on the Delmarva Peninsula.

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