The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Maryland Hospitals to Privatize or Close

Oct 25, 2021

Maryland’s health department plans to close two public hospitals which provide acute, long-term care in rural areas: Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown and Deer’s Head Hospital Center on the Eastern Shore. The department says these two hospitals are expensively overstaffed, with above-average nurse-to-patient ratios. And officials say these two facilities built over 60 years ago need prohibitively expensive rebuilding. The state plans to find nearby private clinics where it would send patients instead.

The state paid a private company around three million dollars to manage Western Maryland Hospital Center for three and a half years. The private bosses laid off staff and ended the dialysis program, forcing people to use more expensive private clinics.

Currently patients at Western Maryland benefit from 3.5 hours of nurse time each day per patient on average, which is much higher than state and national averages. At Deer’s Head, patients benefit from just under five hours nurse time daily on average. All hospitals should have at least that! These are patients with traumatic brain injuries and other extremely debilitating conditions.

Instead of modeling these nurse/patient ratios for others to strive for, state officials look to outsource health services. Their premise is that these rural and poor patients are getting too much—and the 400 or so workers at these facilities are excessive in number! A theory based on profit, not health care!