Hospitals Worried About Staffing Needs; Some Offered High Rates For Additional Help

Montgomery County hospitals are worried about meeting staffing needs, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Director Dr. Earl Stoddard said at a council meeting Tuesday.

On Dec. 1, Gov. Larry Hogan announced efforts and requirements regarding hospital surge planning. He encouraged colleges to let healthcare students in their final semester be eligible for early exit if they have satisfied graduation requirements, so they can join the workforce quicker. When the number of hospitalized Marylanders reaches 8,000, Hogan said hospitals will have seven days to increase bed capacity by at least 10%. As of Nov. 30, 6,816 Marylanders were hospitalized, according to the state. He said hospitals were required to submit a plan that includes strategies to implement additional beds and staffing to the state by Tuesday, Dec. 8.

“All of them are concerned about meeting the staffing limits,” Stoddard said Tuesday. He said some hospitals are offered very high rates when they try to find more employees.

“Some of them, when they approach companies to do surge staffing for nursing, for example, are getting quotes of $200 an hour or more to try and fill that capacity, and so obviously that’s an untenable situation,” he said.

Last week, Hogan also urged hospitals to let unlicensed employees perform some non-critical tasks in order to free-up nursing staff. The state is also requesting that all universities and colleges develop policies to give academic credit to students who serve in healthcare during the pandemic. A new portal was introduced to recruit additional healthcare workers.

As of Tuesday, 78.1% of county hospital beds are occupied and 73.5% of ICU beds are occupied. Both metrics indicate a low risk of COVID-19 transmission, according to the county’s coronavirus dashboard. However, COVID-19 patients occupy 22.1% of hospital beds as of Tuesday, which indicates a very high risk of transmission, according to the dashboard.

Montgomery County hit a record high single-day increase in COVID-19 cases on Friday: 631. The daily new case count since then is:

Saturday (Dec. 5): 482
Sunday: 460
Monday: 451
Tuesday (Dec. 8): 402

Like this post? Sign up for our Daily Update here.
Maryam Shahzad

About Maryam Shahzad

Maryam is a reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Previously, she was an intern with MCM. She can be reached at or on Twitter @maryam_mcm.


| Comments are closed.

Engage us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter