Today is the day Washington County Hospital officials had hoped to re-open the local trauma center, closed since June 1 after the hospital couldn't get enough doctors to agree to cover all the shifts. For the safety of the public and the integrity of the statewide system, it's now time to bring in an outside mediator.
The issues behind the shutdown of the trauma center are numerous and interconnected. One is that reimbursement rates from insurance companies and Medicare have fallen, making it more difficult for local trauama surgeons, all of who have private practices, to keep providing as much free care as they had in the past.
Two weeks ago in Annapolis, a group led by Maryland House Speaker Cas Taylor forged a compromise. All agreed the center would reopen with a Level III designation, which would mean that doctors could be on call without having to be on site, which was required when it was a Level II center.