Another Md. hospital shifts to crisis standards of care citing COVID surge

University of Maryland’s Charles Regional Medical Center implemented crisis standards-of-care protocols due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Noel Cervino, the President and CEO of UM Charles Regional, said that the decision was based on a doubling of COVID-19 patients over 10 days.

“The current demand for care is depleting our available resources, including staffing, and the unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases has created the necessity for health care organizations to act nimbly in fighting this pandemic,” Cervino said. “This is not a decision we made lightly and was only made after exhausting all other avenues to address issues that are challenging the operation of our hospital.”

In all these situations, officials say that moving to crisis standards helps hospitals care for increasing patient numbers in safe and effective ways throughout the declared crisis.

“A few of the changes under CSC protocols may include streamlining processes, modifying surgical schedules consistent with Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent orders, simplifying documentation, and redeploying staff,” the statement said.

Cervino added that the hospital’s goals would remain the care for its patient population throughout the emergency. The system’s COVID-19 Incident Commander and a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine David Marcozzi, MD, said that the system is responding optimally at this time and hopes to evaluate and treat everyone it can.

“This crisis designation allows the communities we serve to transparently understand the challenge we are facing so all of us can work to mitigate the effects of COVID and more of us can stay healthy,” Marcozzi said.

This hospital will be the third to respond to an extreme spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations throughout the University of Maryland — just days before, the state’s method for tracking these hospitalizations and deaths was hamstrung by a cybersecurity incident.

The University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health declared a “hospital disaster” ahead of Christmas Day and implemented crisis standards-of-care protocols at UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air because of a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

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WTOP’s Kate Ryan and Julie Gallagher contributed to this report.

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Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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