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June 5, 2007

Health Crisis Brewing In Overcrowded ER’s

Experts discuss strategies to relieve strain on Maryland emergency rooms


CONTACT: Kavan Peterson
Office: 410-455-1896

BALTIMORE – Solutions for improving delivery of hospital emergency room services and reducing bottlenecks that cause long waits for emergency care will be debated by public policy and health experts Thursday, June 7 at the World Trade Center, in a public forum sponsored by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Department of Public Policy and the Center for Health Program Development and Management (CHPDM).

As bed supply has decreased and uninsured patients increasingly look to emergency rooms for non-emergency care, emergency departments in Maryland and around the nation are becoming more and more crowded. Some experts characterize the situation as a health care crisis.

“Emergency departments in hospitals are stretched to the breaking point, threatening a critical part of our health-care safety net,” said UMBC Public Policy Professor Nancy Miller, who will moderate the forum “The Impact of Emergency Department Use on the Health Care System in Maryland.” The forum will be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the World Trade Center, Baltimore, in the Constellation Room on the 21st Floor.

Recent national reports have concluded that America’s hospital-based emergency care system is on the verge of collapse at a time when one-in-three Americans visit emergency rooms every year. Seriously ill people often wait hours to receive critical care and can wait up to two days to be admitted to a hospital bed, according to reports by the Institute of Medicine.

The strain on emergency services is especially severe in Maryland. A report released in December by the Maryland Health Care Commission found that visits to Maryland emergency departments increased 18 percent between 2000 and 2003, compared to a 9 percent increase observed nationwide.

Healthcare experts are calling for system-wide reforms, without which they warn emergency care systems will be unable to manage day-to-day emergencies, let alone large disasters or epidemics.

Attend this forum to join in a discussion with health and public policy experts about strategies to improve the delivery of emergency room services. Panelists include:
• Pamela W. Barclay, Director, Center for Hospital Services, Maryland Health Care Commission.
• Linda DeFeo, Emergency Department Administrative Consultant.
• Deborah E. Trautman, Director of Nursing for Emergency Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Interim Vice President of Patient Services, Howard County General Hospital.
• Maryland Delegate Dan K. Morhaim from Baltimore County.


About UMBC

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County is a major research university in the Baltimore-Washington area. Its proximity to both federal and state government offices provides an ideal setting for training in a public policy program, internships and employment opportunities.

The Department of Public Policy offers a Master of Public Policy, a Ph.D. degree, and advanced graduate certificates. Our major areas of focus are: health policy; evaluation and analytical techniques; public management; social policy; and urban policy. For more information, visit or call 410-455-3201.

The Center for Health Program Development and Management, located at UMBC, works with public agencies and nonprofit community-based agencies in Maryland and elsewhere to improve the health and social outcomes of vulnerable populations in a manner that maximizes the impact of available resources. For more information, visit or call 410-455-6854.

Posted by kavan at June 5, 2007 2:06 PM