All Hands on Deck

January 31, 2022
It’s some relief to see the drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maryland in recent weeks. Yet, we aren’t out of the woods.

Hospitalizations are near numbers seen during the previous record-breaking surge one year ago. And workforce shortages approach crisis levels with a staggering 50% increase in nursing vacancies since the end of summer.

That means fewer caregivers at the bedside, limiting capacity to care for patients, whether those with COVID or other serious conditions.

Similar trends are reported nationwide, all of which drive up costs of temporary and travel nurses and other staff.

With an eye toward the expiration of Maryland’s public health emergency declaration February 4, we are focused on ensuring hospitals keep the flexibilities it affords.

Many of these challenges predated the pandemic, but in the last two years they’ve become untenable. No one foresees a return to what was business as usual before COVID.

Last Thursday MHA’s Task Force on the Future of Maryland’s Health Care Workforce met. We heard great ideas from Jane Kirschling, dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing. We discussed creative ways to recruit and retain Maryland’s nurses.

Looking ahead, the field needs enhanced support from the state and the engagement of other partners such as community colleges. There must be a comprehensive campaign to rebuild Maryland’s health care workforce and to secure our human resources for the future. 

MHA is committed to work with your teams and to advocate with others to find lasting solutions.

Bob Atlas
President & CEO 
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