Maryland hospitals are open 24/7/365 and care for every person who enters their doors, regardless of ability to pay. For some time now, hospitals in Maryland have been overburdened. Limited by physical space and staffing, they are regularly at or over capacity.

Hospital care for about 1.7 million patients (about the population of Montana) in emergency departments each year (4)

Hospital throughput can be affected by various factors, including patient volume, acuity of cases, and seasonal fluctuations. Hospital caregivers constantly work to balance the influx of patients, prioritizing those with life-threatening conditions while attending to less urgent cases as quickly as possible. Triage nurses rapidly assess patients to identify the severity of their condition and prioritize care accordingly.

Why has the time patients spend in emergency departments unavoidably crept up in recent years?

Lack of Appropriate Care

General Assembly Hospital Throughput Work Group

The chairs of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Health and Government Operations Committee sent a letter to MHA requesting the formation of a multistakeholder work group, the General Assembly Hospital Throughput Work Group, aimed at making recommendations to improve the patient journey in Maryland. 

Patient Offload

Ambulance Patient Offload Times vary due to a variety of factors that are outside the hospitals' control. Some contributions to patient offload delays include: 

  • Lack of available primary care
  • Lack of behavioral and mental health services
  • Challenges discharging patients from the hospital to nursing homes, rehabilitation, and other post-acute settings
  • Hospital workforce shortages
  • Social determinants of health, particularly patients who have no home or lack social support