In yesterday's Herald-Mail, members of the Maryland General Assembly's shock trauma task force outlined some possible ways to fix the problems ailing the state's system. From their remarks it seems clear if Maryland residents want state-of-the-art trauma care, they'll have to pay more for it.
The system, which was shaken when the Washington County Hospital closed its Level II trauma center, is laboring because cuts in Medicare and private insurance reimbursements have made it more difficult for trauma surgeons to provide free care and still maintain their private practices. New cash must be found, unless the state wants to see trauma surgeons' ranks shrink.
Since most trauma cases are vehicle-related, Del. Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, suggests a $1 or $2 assessment - a surcharge, really - on each auto or motorcycle insurance policy. A $2 charge would raise $8 million, but according to Del. John F. Wood, D-Charles, St. Mary's, it might take $20 million to fix the system because Hagerstown isn't the only center facing these problems.