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  • Writer's picturePatrick Mish

Streamlining Maryland's Emergency Room Crisis



I read with great interest the recent article, “‘A broken system’: Report identifies reasons behind long ER wait times in Maryland.” The article discusses prolonged emergency room wait times in Maryland, highlighting the experience of Thomas Eagle, who had to leave without treatment after waiting five hours at a hospital. Maryland has some of the longest ER wait times in the U.S., with an average of over four hours, and nearly seven hours for mental health patients. A report by the Maryland Hospital Association identified key causes, such as a lack of primary care, a shortage of behavioral health services, and insufficient hospital beds. I wanted to share how SilverStay can contribute to alleviating this pressing issue.


SilverStay is a service designed to streamline healthcare discharge processes, specifically for complex patients needing transitions to Long-Term Care, Skilled Nursing Facilities, and assisted living. Our approach addresses several root causes of prolonged ER wait times highlighted in the Maryland Hospital Association's report.


Facilitating Efficient Patient Transfers:

One significant factor contributing to ER wait times is the delay in discharging patients who require post-acute care. SilverStay connects hospitals with a network of care facilities, allowing for quicker and more efficient patient transfers. This reduces the time patients spend occupying hospital beds, thereby freeing up capacity for incoming ER patients.


Improving Post-Acute Acceptance Rates for Complex Patients:

SilverStay utilizes tools that enable nursing homes and SNF operators to easily understand the primary challenges of caring for complex patients, dramatically improving acceptance rates. Our team goes onsite to meet with patients and decision-makers to understand the nuanced details of a patient's situation and then visits SNFs and ALFs to explain challenges and discuss barriers to admission. These steps are revolutionary in healthcare and represent a new standard in patient discharge support.


Supporting Behavioral Health Transitions:

The report mentions the dire shortage of behavioral health care options. SilverStay assists in finding suitable placements for patients with mental health needs, ensuring they receive the specialized care they require without prolonged hospital stays. We utilize a network of behaviorally sophisticated assisted living operators to manage care for patients who are denied access to long-term care and SNFs.


Reducing Readmissions:

By ensuring that patients are placed in the most appropriate care settings with the right resources, SilverStay helps reduce readmission rates. Lower readmission rates mean fewer patients returning to the ER, thus decreasing the overall burden on emergency departments.


Addressing Demographic Challenges:

Our patient population is aging, with baby boomers growing at five times the rate of the overall population. The challenges highlighted in the Baltimore Sun article are just leading indicators of a much bigger problem on the horizon. Realistically, health systems must increase their sophistication in discharging patients by orders of magnitude in the next decade. SilverStay is among just a few companies focused on solving the toughest problems in healthcare and is positioned to be the leading provider of discharge support services by 2030, just in time for the breaking "silver tsunami."

By working together, we can address several systemic issues contributing to long ER wait times in Maryland. Improving patient flow, reducing readmissions, enhancing care coordination, and addressing behavioral health transitions will significantly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency departments. We are committed to working alongside healthcare providers and policymakers to create a more responsive and patient-centered healthcare system.

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