Prince George’s County residents have reported long waiting hours for care in emergency rooms, and on Monday, the county council invited local health care providers to share ways to help reduce how long patients spend waiting for care.
Maryland has longer wait times than other states when it comes to emergency room visits, with most visits taking about three hours, according to Becker Hospital Review. In Prince George’s County, some residents have reported waiting 16 hours in the emergency room.
“If you exclude territories, Maryland is experiencing the worst wait times in the nation,” said Eunmee Shim, president of Adventist Healthcare Fort Washington Medical Center.
Shim said a lack of community providers and not enough beds have led to long wait times.
“We have to transfer a lot of our patients to other hospitals,” she told council members.
Shim also stressed the need for more programs to attract more providers, specifically those in primary care.
“We’re aligning with the nursing schools … to make sure that we are growing pipelines of nurses,” said Shim.
Brian Frazee is with the Maryland Hospital Association. He said wait times have crept up due to workforce shortages and more complex patient needs. It’s what he calls a symptom of a larger problem.
“We recognize the need to reduce these wait times. We’re committed to working with our health care partners, government agencies, the council and community stakeholders,” he added.
Some of the solutions presented by health care providers across the county include recruiting health care workers as early as high school and creating more community options for health care.
Luminis Health also shared its efforts to address ER wait times with its “Supertrack” process aimed at reducing wait times by half through the implementation of changes like separate areas for patients awaiting test results.