Health, Politics, Sci-Tech

Governor Hogan mobilizes medical staffing surge to fight COVID-19 uptick [VIDEO]

ANNAPOLIS, MD—As the State of Maryland continues to fight COVID-19, Governor Larry Hogan on Monday afternoon announced a series of actions to mobilize a medical staffing surge to prevent overburdening the state’s healthcare system.

“The current surge is not only increasing the burden on our healthcare system and filling available hospital beds, but it is also affecting our healthcare workers who are already spread thin and operating under immense strain and stress,” said Governor Hogan. “We are laser focused on taking actions in an effort to prevent the overburdening of our healthcare system.”

Medical Staffing Surge Announcements

Governor Hogan and the State of Maryland are taking the following medical staffing actions, in partnership with the Maryland Hospital Association:

  • The governor announced the launch of MarylandMedNow to recruit Maryland job seekers with clinical backgrounds to work at state hospitals, nursing homes, testing sites, and vaccination clinics. Marylanders who are interested in being hired for these paid positions can go to www.marylandmednow.com.
  • The state has requested that Maryland colleges and universities immediately develop emergency policies and procedures to award academic credit to students for hands-on work experience in healthcare during the pandemic.
  • Maryland colleges and universities are also encouraged to allow healthcare students who are in their final semester and have satisfied all graduation requirements to get an “early exit” and expedited testing and licensing requirements in order to more expeditiously enter the workforce. Read the letters to medical school deans and to nursing programs.
  • The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Maryland State Department of Education are urging local jurisdictions to tap non-deployed school nurses, health services staff, and other county employees to assist the state’s testing and vaccination sites. Read the letter to local school superintendents and health officers.
  • Hospitals and nursing homes are urged to begin utilizing unlicensed individuals as extenders to perform non-critical tasks in order to free up nursing staff across the state.

Hospital Surge Announcements

The following steps are being taken, in consultation with the Maryland Coronavirus Task Force and the CEOs of hospital systems across the state, to ensure that a hospital bed is available to every Marylander who needs one.

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  • The governor announced that hospitals statewide are required to submit a patient surge plan, which includes detailed strategies for the expansion of hospital bed and staffing surge capacity adjustments. These plans are to be submitted to MDH no later than Tuesday, December 8.
  • If hospitals statewide reach 8,000 total hospitalizations or greater, hospitals will be required to expand their staffed bed capacity by 10% within seven calendar days. As of November 30, 2020, 6,816 Marylanders are in the state’s hospitals.
  • Hospitals must immediately begin making adjustments by adding or redeploying staff, reducing elective procedures that require a bed or ventilator, and transferring patients to appropriate treatment facilities. Read the order from MDH.
  • The Health Services Cost Review Commission is taking steps to reinstate its emergency policy to provide more financial stability to hospitals as they navigate the pandemic.

Health Personnel Announcements

During Monday’s press conference, Governor Hogan made the following personnel announcements:

  • Dennis Schrader to serve as Acting Health Secretary. With Maryland Secretary of Health Bobby Neall retiring, Governor Hogan announced that he has appointed Dennis Schrader, the department’s chief operating officer, as acting secretary. Schrader continues to lead the department’s hospital surge operations.
  • Dr. David Marcozzi to serve as Senior Medical Advisor to the Governor on COVID-19. The governor announced that Dr. David Marcozzi, COVID-19 incident commander for the University of Maryland Medical System, will serve on a volunteer basis as a senior medical COVID-19 advisor to the governor. Dr. Marcozzi is also a member of the Maryland Coronavirus Task Force.
  • Dr. Jinlene Chan to lead vaccination efforts. The governor also announced that Acting Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Jinlene Chan will lead Maryland’s vaccination acquisition and distribution efforts.

Video from Monday’s press conference can be viewed below and a transcript is available here.

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