As your hospitals shore up supplies and staff to care for the surge of COVID-19 patients, you’re also seeing a remarkable decline in other patients—those with emergency care needs.
Rightly, much of our attention is focused on responding to this public health emergency and making sure you have the resources in place to deliver life-saving care. Yet, it’s important also to understand why Marylanders are avoiding emergency departments. Incredibly, some hospitals report seeing half or even less of the volume they did pre-COVID in their EDs.
This trend, likely caused by people’s concerns of catching the virus at our hospitals, is worrying. As you know, delaying or avoiding care can lead to adverse outcomes and, in some cases, death.
Our mission is to care for people. As a state we have made great strides in keeping people well, directing them to the right level of care, and preventing unnecessary use of hospital services. Now, we face a situation where people who are sick and need our care are afraid to come.
These are very real concerns. Next week we’ll ask the MHA Executive Committee to approve an education effort – SAFE. READY. WAITING. Maryland Health Secretary Bobby Neall has even invited us to lead this campaign for the whole state.
Our goal is to convey to the public that your hospitals are safe, ready and waiting to deliver the emergency care they may need. Ensuring people access medically necessary treatment will prevent their health from worsening during this difficult time and allow you to continue to care for your communities.
President & CEO