ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) _ The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is recommending that a Hagerstown company continue managing a state-owned hospital for the chronically ill for the next three years.

The state Board of Public Works is set to vote Wednesday on the proposed $2.6 million contract for Meritus Health.

The state first contracted with Meritus to run the Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown last June after the hospital’s director resigned amid findings of deficient patient care.

The public health agency says Meritus has provided first-class executive leadership and corrected all the deficiencies. The agency says there is no other vendor in that area that can provide the appropriate leadership and management expertise.

Meritus also runs the Meritus Medical Center hospital in Hagerstown.