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The Prince George’s County Council’s Committee on Health, Human Services, and Public Safety (HHSPS), on Thursday, April 6, 2023, favorably considered Council Resolution CR-013-2023, legislation proposed by Vice Chair Wala Blegay, Esq. (District 6) urging the state of Maryland to ensure that all health care facilities provide the appropriate level of care and staffing for patients, including registered nurses, specialists, medical technicians, nursing assistants, environmental services and dietary aides.
Under the proposed measure, the Board of Health would collect empirical data on nurse-patient ratios in the County and submit its findings to the County. The results would also be shared with Maryland Governor Wes Moore, Senate President Bill Ferguson, House Speaker Adrienne Jones, Prince George’s County Senate Delegation Chair Michael A. Jackson, and Prince George’s County House Delegation Chair Nick Charles, with a formal request urging state action using Prince George’s County as the example by the data collected. The state of Maryland maintains authority to increase nurse-patient ratios.
Council Vice Chair Blegay says retaining sufficient nurse and support staff in health care facilities is key to ensuring the best and safest health outcomes for Prince Georgians.
“As a nurse advocate, I believe it is important for stakeholders at the County and State levels of government to understand that having enough nurses and support staff is key to ensuring quality care for our residents. Working conditions for nurses and support staff, along with patient health outcomes in the County must improve, and I am committed to that end.”
Several stakeholders provided comment in support of CR-013-2023, including Lauren Reichard, a Prince George’s County nurse.
“Modern day healthcare requires a fully staffed team to provide face-to-face relationship and intimate influence on the safety and quality of care of patients. When healthcare facilities are inadequately staffed, this creates an unsafe, high-stress, and unsustainable environment with long-lasting detriments to the health and wellbeing of patients, family, staff, and communities.”
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers Political Organizer, Jibran Eubanks, also addressed committee members regarding low earning health care workers.
“Our aim is to push the Council and the State of Maryland to consider the impact of the staffing crisis on the entire care team, specifically the lowest paid health care workers who are dietary aides, environmental services, medical technicians, and nursing assistants. Environmental services, which include housekeepers, are often forgotten but are very essential to upholding a high quality of care. We understand that it takes more than just the medical staff to provide this standard. It is imperative that we address this staffing crisis as well.”
CR-013-2023 will be scheduled for a public hearing and final Council action. To sign up to speak during the public hearing, receive updated public hearing notices, and information on how to testify, visit the Council’s eComment Portal.