Baltimore County Fire Department Launches Program To Decrease Hospital Wait Times


Credit: Jenna Fisher/Patch

BALTIMORE COUNTY - The Baltimore County Fire Department is offering its help in reducing hospital wait times that have increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic, followed by the "triple-demic" of COVID-19, SRV, and the flu, has exacerbated wait times at hospitals across Maryland. Total medical calls are up, while hospitals are experiencing staffing shortages.

To alleviate this issue, The Baltimore County Fire Department has created a new position. A new full-time medical duty officer will be tasked with coordinating with hospitals so a patient can be taken to a location with availability and quickly receive the care they need.

The Medical Duty Officer will maintain a "bird's eye view" of the hospital/EMS situation and direct units accordingly.

The department said that the officer will continue the practice of bringing patients to their preferred hospital, with some stipulations.

"The Medical Duty Officer will continue the current practice of trying to accommodate patients' wishes regarding their hospital destination. However, there will be occasions -- depending on hospital staffing and demand -- when patients will be delivered to a hospital that can handle their needs quickly and without causing system-wide backups."

The Baltimore County Fire Department's medical duty officers will begin their new jobs on April 2.

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