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Prince George’s County Council Vice Chair Wala Blegay, Esq. (District 6), introduced legislation during session on Tuesday, September 26, 2023, establishing a Task Force to address Emergency Room Wait Times. The measure, Council Resolution–082-2023, charges the proposed 11-member task force with evaluating best practices and making recommendations for reducing emergency department wait times in the County.
As Chair of the Council’s Board of Health and in light of resident complaints about excessively long emergency room wait times, Vice Chair Blegay convened a briefing to discuss the matter with hospital executives in July. The discussion spurred Vice Chair Blegay to establish the task force as a vehicle for identifying the root causes of the problem and effective solutions to provide appropriate emergency room wait times.
“We have heard from our residents and hospital executives. It is now time to address how wait times will be reduced for our residents, which are untenable and can lead to dangerous consequences,” said Blegay. “The Task Force will provide a report to the Council and policy recommendations for implementation to ensure our residents are safe and receive efficient care in our County’s emergency rooms.”
Under the proposed legislation, in addition to identifying the root causes of long wait times in emergency rooms, the task force will also study the regulatory environment, access, and availability of healthcare services and in-patient bed availability in neighboring jurisdictions.
The task force would be comprised of a Board of Health Chair or designee; a State Delegate or Senator; an emergency room physician and nurse; one member each representing a hospital, nonprofit, Fire/EMS, Department of Health’s Healthcare Action Coalition, and SEIU Local 1199; a Legislative Branch employee; and a Prince George’s County resident.
CR-082-2023 has been referred to the Council’s Health, Human Services, and Public Safety Committee (HHSPS) for consideration.