Will Maryland ER Wait Times Improve in 2024?
In late 2023, a study found that yet again, Maryland had won the dubious honor of having the longest emergency room wait times in the nation. Advocacy groups call it a crisis – one that has been continuing for years. The question is simple: How will the healthcare system in Maryland improve this issue in the future? Will things change in 2024? And perhaps most importantly, what can you do if you have been injured due to excessive wait times at a Maryland ER?
Study Confirms that Patients Wait Longer in Maryland ERs than Anywhere Else
In late 2023, Maryland patients were dealing with the longest ER wait times in the nation, according to a study conducted by the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. The Commission lists several potential driving factors behind this crisis. Perhaps most notably, they accuse patients of waiting until serious conditions have progressed before going to the ER. The Commission states that these patients should be seeing their doctors and engaging in more preventative care – pointing out that this could decrease burdens on ERs across the State. But shouldn’t healthcare facilities shoulder at least some of the blame? This is a question that the Commission declines to address.
What Can We Do to Address This Issue?
Hospitals across the State are well aware of this issue – but healthcare authorities have suggested only vague remedies. They are already warning that this will not be a “quick fix,” which is somewhat ironic as this issue is driven by extensive delays within the healthcare system. A potential sign of improvement comes from Prince George County, where a vote was held on whether to set up a “task force” to address the crisis.
This task force is supposed to create new recommendations for how to shorten wait times, and they are taking a “holistic approach” to the issue. It is not entirely clear what this actually means, or whether it will lead to any real results. In addition, the task force can take a full 12 months to come up with these recommendations – implying that Maryland patients will find themselves in exactly the same situation in 2025.
Some Patients Leave ERs Due to Exhaustion
On January 1, 2024, Medpage Today noted that when ERs were overrun by Covid-19 patients, everyone expected the burden to lessen as the pandemic faded. But this never happened. Despite the pandemic being in the rear-view mirror, emergency rooms remain crowded and desperate locations filled with a sense of despair.
The article notes that many of these patients simply die while waiting for treatment. Others become so exhausted after waiting for hours upon hours that they simply go back home and hope for the best.
Find a Qualified, Experienced ER Wait Time Lawyer in Maryland
The truth is that the ER wait time crisis shows no sign of stopping in Maryland – and patients cannot rely on potential actions that healthcare authorities may take at some point in the future. With nothing but vague promises, patients can instead choose to take legal action if they have suffered real harm because of excessive ER wait times. If you or a loved one has been injured because of excessive ER wait times, contact the Baltimore personal injury lawyers at Furman Honick Law and speak with a partner today for a free case evaluation.