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Health care is in his blood remember it perfectly. We driving as a family packed in the green Chevy station wagon. Six kids. I was in the back, all the way to the back of the truck, and my father points to this bluff of trees and he said, just bought that land and we going to build a hospital. began the Chiaramonte family journey with the Southern Maryland Hospital Center on that stretch of road near Clinton in the 1970s. Since then, Michael J. Chiaramonte has watched his father, Francis P. Chiaramonte, a urologist, grow the hospital to one that has 19,500 admissions a year. Taking his father vision even further, the more business oriented Chiaramonte has managed to expand the hospital into the Southern Maryland Healthcare System, offering primary care, long term care, home nursing care, physical rehabilitation and other support services. Through it all, Chiaramonte, 48, has established himself as a businessman, a political voice for Southern Maryland health care issues and a statewide resource for his expertise, as a member of the University of Maryland Medical Systems Shock Trauma Board of Visitors, for example. vision going back to the was to have the complete continuum of care, he said. about getting services into the communities where they needed. You have to study where that need is and respond. Otherwise you miss the mark. award high marks The Southern Maryland Healthcare System encompasses the 350 bed regional hospital, a 24 bed nursing facility above the hospital, a nearby home medical equipment and supply business with its retail arm in Brandywine and more than 12 outpatient clinics throughout the state. About 3,000 people work in the system. The hospital was also recently selected by Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Joint Base Andrews to provide birthing rooms for military patients, who still get to keep their Malcolm Grow physicians. The hospital is about a 10 minute drive from the base. Surrounded by the family owned hotel, Colony South, which Francis Chiaramonte runs, and numerous townhomes, which house several of the hospital 1,800 employees, the hospital represents Francis Chiaramonte concept of health campus zoning, his son said. appointment or makes it easy for MRI technicians to walk from their townhome to work even during snowstorms such as February record breakers, he said. The Chiaramontes even turned the Colony South into a mini hospital when a roof collapsed at a nearby nursing home in the 1980s. But most importantly, the campus environment helps families wanting to stay near their hospitalized loved ones, Chiaramonte said. Southern Maryland the only for profit hospital in the state reported a profit of $4.78 million in 2008, down from $8 million in 2007, according to the most recent data from the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. On the whole, Maryland hospitals reported a $157 million profit in 2008, compared with $582 million in 2007. Southern Maryland generates $240 million in annual gross revenues, Chiaramonte said. The hospital is recommended by 42 percent of its patients, with almost half of its patients awarding the hospital high marks for staff responsiveness, according to the Maryland Hospital Association. and the Chiaramonte family have been an important part of the Southern Maryland health care community for many years, Carmela Coyle, president and CEO of the hospital association, wrote in an e mail. also has contributed his time and talent to [the Maryland Hospital Association legislative activities, which has been very helpful to hospitals mission of caring across the state. turned on by entrepreneurial pursuits became hospital CEO in 2007, after working his way up the ranks for years, since his father encouraged him to join three years after receiving his master in business administration. didn want to be a physician; I was always turned on by entrepreneurial pursuits, he said. was always impressed by the way he worked his way up. He could have just come on as his father son, said Patricia Christensen, who previously worked at Southern Maryland and is now at Inova Alexandria (Va.) Hospital. has this neat ability to be in the moment with whoever he talking to, whether it was me or a patient walking the halls. I would love to be able to do that. said Chiaramonte particular skill has been the political savvy that has helped him fight for services at Southern Maryland. She pointed out Chiaramonte work on cardiovascular services, which are especially important for Prince George majority black population, in whom heart disease is more prevalent. Because Maryland health care system is designed differently from most states with the Health Services Cost Review Commission, rather than the federal government, setting hospital rates hospitals need to work extremely hard to prove that their patients need such high cost procedures and that they will perform them regularly enough to warrant the cost, Christensen said. Southern Maryland is one of eight state hospitals permitted to perform angioplasty procedures without open heart surgery backup, although Chiaramonte is pushing for permission to perform open heart surgery at Southern Maryland. The hospital is also certified for stroke response through the state. couple of years, we try to roll out a different, higher level of care, he said. Francis Chiaramonte used to offer insurance physicals for $5 and was able to fill the hospital within a week after opening it in November 1977, due mostly to his reputation in the community, Michael Chiaramonte said. saw a need; he filled a need, he said. Jim Estepp, its CEO. The roundtable connects community leaders with politicians to work toward bettering the community by determining how resources can be deployed. is, in my opinion, one of the rising stars in Prince George Estepp said. has the business instincts to risk and invest, two principle criteria. He knows how to do well with his own money and be cautious with someone else also praised Chiaramonte medical supply business, saying that in an environment in which such businesses often have an reputation, Chiaramonte offers an atmosphere that cheers people up. Chiaramonte is also known for his work with local churches in educating congregations on health issues and using the churches to reach out to the black community about its particular health challenges. Proctor and Associates of Upper Marlboro and also a member of the roundtable. was born and raised in Prince George so he understands the challenges. also praised Chiaramonte community work, such as donating to scholarships and sponsoring children on group trips. Despite his love of the community, Chiaramonte lives with his wife and four children whom he is always eager to show off in pictures in his office in Alexandria, Va. schools are the issue. They just don have what we need here, he said candidly. I love Prince George This is my life. the fact that he without a doubt one of the premiere businessmen in the county, people tend to overlook how he balances that with his family, Proctor said. are a tremendous part of his life. also enjoys sports and finds one for each season, from skiing in the winter to swimming in the summer. As for the future, Chiaramonte is working toward bringing more cancer care to the hospital, as prostate cancer is another concern among Prince George patients. want chemotherapy and oncologists. We looking at possibly a separate building. People mostly leave the county for cancer care, he said. Southern Maryland has also started building 12 more postpartum rooms, so all new mothers can have individual rooms. never rest, Chiaramonte said. always moving forward. J. Chiaramonte Position: CEO of Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton, a 350 bed regional hospital; founder and president, Southern Maryland Healthcare System, which provides a range of patient services.